How to be a BBQ Judge

The  PNWBA is the sanctioning body for our BBQ contest. They are responsible for providing enough trained and certified judges to guarantee a level playing field and to give credibility and legitimacy to the contest.

To find a judges certification class check the PNWBA homepage under ‘Upcoming PNWBA Events’ and click on the ‘Judging Classes’ tab. Click on the logo below for their homepage and for more information on the association.

If you are a PNWBA certified judge and want to participate at our contest you can register on the PNWBA website in the Forum section and ‘Judges Call’ tab. We can not handle or process judging requests through this website.

Pacific Northwest BBQ Association -logo
The PNWBA is our sanctioning body that oversees the judging and co-ordination of The BC BBQ Championships. They are also a sponsor of the event by making a contribution for our Kids’ Q ginormous trophies. They also believe in encouraging a whole new crop of  BBQ Pitmasters.

The association hosts various judges classes throughout the year usually in conjunction with an established contest. There is a lot more to judging than just sitting around eating great BBQ cooked by some of the best pit masters around. You must commit to a one day course where everything is broken down to details. The main judging criteria are split into three parts (appearance, texture/tenderness and taste) and each of those parts is weighted differently in an entries overall score. All results are entered into a proprietary scoring program to determine placings.

BBQ Judging Process

It is a double blind judging process. The teams turnin their entry at the judges’ tent in an unmarked container used by all cooks. This is kept away from the view of the judges and the only identifying mark on the box is a bar code strip that is used to determine who’s sample it is by a computer after it has been judged and the scores recorded.

The first judging consideration is appearance. How does the meat look? Is it something you can’t wait to sink your teeth into or could you pass on trying it? Secondly the sample is judged for texture and tenderness. Is it cooked to the perfect doneness and bite or is it tough like shoe leather or overcooked and mushy? Lastly, and most importantly, the entry is judged on taste. Taste scores are given the most weight in the overall score. Did the cook achieve what they were trying to accomplish and was it the best thing you have tasted in a long time or did it miss on some levels? It’s a lot of responsibility being a certified BBQ judge! The teams spend a lot of time and money to compete and they are relying on fairness and impartiality. Do you have what it takes?

Watch the PNWBA website for information on when the next judging class will be or drop us an email and we will get your questions to the right person within the association. (Click on this link PNWBA or contact us.)

Judges hard at work.