In Food, Volunteer Events on 01/30/2010 at 5:07 pm

Last night was the first public day of the San Antonio Rodeo BBQ Cook-Off. http://www.sarodeo.com/annual/2010_bbq_cookoff.html

As mentioned, I signed up to judge two categories which was more of an interesting insight into food judging rather than an adventure in palate manipulation.  First, after having the usual amount of confusion associated when volunteering at a large, annual event, my friend and I found the tent to sign in.  It was very cold out with a biting windy, and while we were both given two beer tickets, we were not allowed inside the tent for another 45 minutes or so.

The first category was Beans.  Although we were supposed to judge the quarters, we ended up being overflow and judged semis instead.  Apparently this was beneficial because several quarters judges commented afterwards that there had been some serious stinkers.  A short time later I judged the You Pick it category which included any types of meat “except a fully jointed half chicken, beef brisket, or pork ribs.”  Unfortunately there is no indicator of what meat is being tasted but there was definitely some cabrito (delicious baby goat) and pork tenderloin.

So this is how you judge food at the San Antonio Rodeo BBQ Cook-Off:

  1. Sit down at a table of five.  Remove all personal items from the table and put whatever beverage you brought in on the ground.  These things can not be touched until the end of the judging.
  2. In front of you is a flat cardboard box (the kind cokes come in), a plastic cup with water the table monitors constantly refill, saltines, a full cup of plastic silverware and a scorecard with a pencil.
  3. After noting which your table number and which position at the table you are (shout out to my fellow judges at Table BB!), you are handed a container similarly labeled.
  4. Open the container in front of you, take a spoon/fork/knife and get a bite of whatever is in there.
  5. Toss the spoon, recover the container and pass it to the next person.
  6. Savor and rank.
  7. Take a sip of water, eat a cracker to cleanse.
  8. Repeat 24 to 19 times, Beans and Mystery Meat respectively.
  9. Upon completion, waddle outside.

As an amateur, I think I did pretty well pacing myself during the meat category by taking small, flavorful pieces.  Nothing completely blew my skirt up, which was disappointing.  Beans did entail some green pintos (while I give props to the tomatillos use, it didn’t make your frijoles outstanding).  Both categories were very fast paced.

Afterwards I had to sit down with a beer for a while.  Whew!  Maybe I’ll do pie next year…

Random fact: In 1937, San Francisco residents voted to no longer build cemeteries within the city proper.

  1. […] For the past two years, your very own HTF has been moonlighting as a BBQ judge.  The first experience was at the San Antonio BBQ Cook-Off, reviewed here. […]

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