Becoming a Certified BBQ Judge.

California Barbecue Association

As of Friday August 5th the BBQ Junkie is an official Kansas City Barbecue Society Certified Judge (my badge has yet to come). Not that I have officially judged any BBQ competitions yet, but I am so ready. I felt that it was my duty as a blogger of barbeque to make sure that my standards are of highest out there, especially when critiquing restaurants and recipes.
To become an official barbecue judge you must undergo some training, which consists of a half-day class. You get to sample some great BBQ, which alone is worth the price of admission. The most difficult thing about the training is finding a barbecue judging class within driving distance of Los Angeles. I found my class through the California BBQ Association (CBBQA) website. They have listings of upcoming barbecue competitions and judging classes… but don’t worry, I will post any upcoming classes on this website. It’s a great experience that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in BBQ. You get to mingle with California’s BBQ elite as well as see some of the enormous BBQ pits that these competitors compete with.

I can’t wait to judge my first event.

If you are looking for additional information on these BBQ associations, here is a list:

California Barbecue Association (CBBQA)
visit their website

Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS)
11514 Hickman Mills Drive
Kansas City, MO 64134
Phone: 816-765-5891
1-800-963-KCBS (5227)
visit their website

17 thoughts on “Becoming a Certified BBQ Judge.”

  1. Judged my first competition yesterday in Blue Springs, Missouri ( a suburb of Kansas City). Lots of fun, met lots of people and sampled some great BBQ.
    Planning to attend an upcoming class to get Certifed and looking forward to judging again soon…..

  2. To become a CBJ (Certified Barbeque Judge) you can get “certified” through several different organizations. The Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) is the largest, with the Memphis Barbeque Network next and then numerous “state” BBQ societies and associations following. Just type in “KCBS” in any search engine and you will find the info or check with your local barbecue restaurant and they will probably know of a team or three that could talk with you about the process.
    I just got my CBJ a few weeks ago and will be judging my first competition next Saturday.
    Good luck!

  3. I have tried to find where to go to sign up for the judging classes to be certified. I am unable to locate anything.

    Would someone please advise where to find this information ..

    thanks in advance

  4. I’m curious about the training. You said it consisted of a half day class and tasteing some bbq. Is that all that is required to be a certified judge? For someone with your experience that might be enough, but a novice may be a danger to the judging process.
    I have helped out with a friend that competes on the circuits and have wittnessed the hard work and money that is invested by these cookers. It seems that one low score from an inexperienced judge could take a cooker completely out of the money. Shouldn’t some supervised experince be required before a judge can be certified?
    Do all associatons have such minimal standards?
    Don’t get me wrong, the KCBS is to be commended for providing some training. I’ve been to competitions where they were judged by mayors and beauty queens.
    I look forward to reading about your experience.

  5. Congratulations at becoming a certified judge and posting your observations.

    I also took the CBJ class several years ago and got hooked after my first contest. I’ve since received my Masters badge, still compete several times a year as my own team, and became a KCBS contest representative in the Midwest. This hobby has kept me busy being at contests in one capacity or another an average of over 20 weekends per year since then. At last count, it’s taken me to 15 states from Nevada to Ohio to Louisiana.

    Congratulations on becoming a judge and pursuing your passion.

  6. Sylvie,
    The class costs was $45 and an additional $25 for membership into the KCBS. The KCBS membership is a requirement and needs to be renewed every year in order to be eligible to judge an official contest.

    If there is an event coming up, you can ask to be a judge. I don’t think that it’s that difficult, but I don’t know for sure because I haven’t actually judged yet. I will keep you posted.

  7. It is something that we should plan for. My next few weeks are busy, but I am very interested in this. The CBBQA is thinking about doing a BBQ crawl… not sure how it’s going to work, but it should be fun. It would involve going to a few different BBQ restaurants. From there we could compare?

  8. Congratulations. I hope you keep us posted on your judging events. How much does it cost to take the class? Do you sign up for events or do they solicit you to participate?


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.