The Okette and I had the pleasure of judging our first KCBS event Saturday.

There were 78 teams competing and if I remember correctly, 15 judging tables.

I was really surprised to see what I saw and learned by virtue of judging and talking to all the other judges. No table had more than one non certified judge, so I suppose, this was as professional as it gets, save the American Royal.

What I found out was that most judges were not experienced cooks, and while they were perhaps very knowledgeable about KCBS standards, for the most part they seemed to know very little about BBQ.

It appeared to me as though I might (as a cook) be trying to please a crowd of Famous Dave's fans.

It seemed that the less smoke, the better it scored. Also, ribs and chix seemed to need to have sticky sauce glazed all over. The woman that sat next to me even stated "I don't like spare ribs. I've never had a good spare rib and I'm sure I never will"

While no one likes creosote soaked meat, I think we would all agree that a decent dose of smoke is the very essence of BBQ. Most of these folks seemed as if they'd be just as happy if the neat had been oven cooked but served outdoors.

My perspective toward competition cooking has been changed dramatically. I had originally thought that one should cook to please BBQ experts. I think I have since learned that one needs to think in terms of pleasing the laymen instead.

What say the rest of you? Anybody with a similar take on the subject?