May 2, 2014

Judges needed for 2015 BBQ Festival

By R. Scott Belzer
Staff Writer


Foodies, enthusiasts and rib fans alike can all look forward to a fantastic feast of an opportunity in mid-June this summer: an all-access pass to barbecue.

Grills Gone Wild, the Kansas City Barbeque Society and the Inferno Group will be hosting a Certified BBQ Judge (CBJ) class on Saturday, June 14 at the Laurel-London Optimist Center. Laurel County residents will have a chance to eat some barbecue, get the scoop on what their palate is missing, and learn about the trailblazing world of competition barbecue.

“This is a fun filled class where you will learn the standards set forth by the Kansas City Barbeque Society,” said Travis Moody, president of the Inferno Group. “For the first part of the class, people will learn about the meats, judging process and what is expected of you as a CBJ and what’s expected of the teams. The last part of the class is the best part – where people will sample competition BBQ.”

According to Moody, the idea for the class came as a response to the lack of local judges present at late March’s Grills Gone Wild event.

“We didn’t have anyone who was local – with the exception of the backyard division, since backyard division judges didn’t have to be certified,” Moody said. “So we brought in judges from all over Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Pennsylvania.”

Those who are certified in this class will have the opportunity to judge at next year's Grills Gone Wild event in London in April 2015.

Moody is also convinced that the four-hour class will change the way those in attendance look at, taste, and evaluate barbecue.

“Like I’ve told so many people in the past, competition barbecue is way different than restaurant style barbecue,” Moody said. “Once you have competition, you won’t want the ‘normal,’ regular kind.”

The class will also allow those interested in the process of competition barbecuing to attend other local competitions. As a Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) certified judge, people are able to attend, eat at, and score events throughout the country. While being a judge doesn’t pay, it does provide ample amounts of great barbecue.

Fees for attending the June class is $100 for non-KCBS members and $65 for members. The $100 will include a year’s membership with KCBS, which is valued at $35 per year, as well as class materials. It also includes a monthly subscription to a barbecue-specific magazine to aid you in your CBJ adventures.

“In order to be a CBJ, you have to be a member of the KCBS,” Moody said. “With this you get discounts on various things – such as hotel stays, barbecue products and a subscription to the monthly newsletter The Bullsheet. You get articles, recipes, stories, contest results, judging class info, contest info, basically anything and everything related to barbecue.”

The Certified Barbecue Judge class will take place Saturday, June 14 at the Laurel-London Optimist Center.  A 10 a.m. or 9 a.m. start time has yet to be decided upon as of press time. At least 24 individuals are needed to make the class happen and only 60 will be accepted. For more information, contact Travis Moody at