<![CDATA[BBQCRITIC - Columnist BJ Hoffman]]>Wed, 09 Mar 2016 08:54:37 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Vote for a better KCBS, vote for BJ Hoffman]]>Thu, 29 Dec 2011 10:53:04 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/columnist-bj-hoffman/vote-for-a-better-kcbs-vote-for-bj-hoffman_The end of another year has come and with the start of 2012 comes every KCBS member's opportunity to cast their vote's for the Board of Director seats.

On January 3rd, 2012 each member will receive an email that will enable you to cast your ballot and have your voice heard. I hope that your voice includes a vote for me when you take time out to cast your ballot. I will assume that you have had a chance to read the Bull Sheet published by KCBS and read the answers that all the candidates have submitted. With 14 candidates the reading takes some time and attention, which is a very good way educate yourself and determine who will earn your vote.  I want to take a few moments to point out why your vote for BJ Hoffman is a vote that will give each member a voice, not just a member number! I want to give members a means of being in the loop, not left to read or listen to edited meeting happenings. As a former government employee and government contractor I understand how important having open meetings and leaving as little behind closed doors as possible. The more you put out in public, the more opportunity you give people to see what is going on, and the less you attempt to conceal, the better off you are.

If elected I will promise you that I WILL only vote to go into closed session when personnel matters are being discussed. The value of closed session meetings is greatly diminished when it takes place all the time and that is irresponsible in my opinion.

Secondly, my count of candidates that are also KCBS reps is 8. What does that matter? I believe that if you add more people to the Board of Directors that are reps you will soon have a Board of Directors made up of reps and the cooks and judges that make contests happen will be left unrepresented. Leaving cooks and judges without the voice of someone like me that walks in the shoes of judges and cooks is a poor choice in my opinion. Along with making meeting easy to access, I would procure a vendor that would make listening to meetings live while they take place as easy as a mouse click or dialing a phone number. Asking permission to be a part of a meeting of an organization you pay to belong to is very elementary and somewhat insulting.

Third, I want to bring more delegation of authority to the committees, and name the members of the committees. The committees are in place for a reason and it appears that the committees and the people on those committee's aren't being utilized in the best manner. It is time for this to stop, and the responsibility needs to be assigned to the committees so the work of those committees can be brought to the board for action based on the input and knowledge of committee members.

Finally, I want to set myself apart from other candidates in the fact that I if elected I will make bringing back a positive mentality back to the KCBS. No more bickering, no more personal conflicts of interest, and more BBQ, fun, fellowship, and preservation of BBQ! On January 3rd I ask each KCBS member to look at which candidates best represent what you want in an organization. Remove their picture from your mind, remove their awards from our mind, remove their website from your mind, remove their BBQ affiliations from your mind. Now, think about the organization that you pay to belong to and what you ideally want that organization to be, then decide which candidate best represents what you are and what you want, then vote.

This January 3rd, when your ballot arrives I want to be part of what you picture KCBS to be and earn your vote for a better KCBS.

Respectfully, BJ Hoffman ]]>
<![CDATA[BJ Hoffman runs for KCBS Board of Directors]]>Mon, 17 Oct 2011 01:57:07 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/columnist-bj-hoffman/bj-hoffman-runs-for-kcbs-board-of-directorsHave hat and ready to throw it into the BBQ ring!

Over the past several months I have had a chance to experience a great deal in life. One of those moments occurred days after cooking at KCBS contest at the Cass County Fairgrounds in Weeping Water, Nebraska. On August 25th at age 34 I suffered a massive heart attack that should have killed me right then and there. While in the ICU in a Des Moines, Iowa hospital I had some time to think about the thing I like in life, the things I love in life, and the things I do in life because I feel obligated, and those things that I have just always done.

Of all the things in life that I love including my family, friends, and my church, I realized that barbeque and the barbeque family I have known for the last 12 years ranks right up there and the fact that the family and friends that I love and adore enjoy the barbeque life opened my eyes to becoming a leader on the KCBS board.

I wouldn't wish my unfortunate health issues on anyone but, an eye opener is an eye opener. The fact that my eight year old Carson loves to barbeque as much, if not more than I do made me decide that now is the time to run for the KCBS Board of Directors.

The past and current board members have done a great job in building on many of the points of the KCBS mission statement but I feel that I can be an amazing voice in building on the KCBS mission statement, and I know I can bring personalized knowledge and attention to the teaching and preservation points in the mission statement that are going to be so very critical to the future members of the KCBS like my eight year old son Carson, my barbequing 4 year old nephew Peyton, and my teammate's newborn son Brock.

I believe that through some new efforts that I would like to champion through KCBS that the organization could grow the membership base every year for generations to come. I also believe that the teaching aspect of barbeque is an important facet of maintaining interest in barbeque. Just a few years back NASCAR was the hottest show on earth, growing leaps and bounds and things couldn't have been better. Just a few years later NASCAR has hit the proverbial brick wall and there are empty seats, shortened race seasons, teams disappearing, and drivers going from racing on Sundays to selling used cars Monday through Saturday. I don't want to see anything like what NASCAR has had happen to them happen to KCBS.

The economy can be blamed for a lot of things including the incidental spending by the general public, reduced spending by barbeque teams and contest organizers.

For most competition teams like the one I am a part of, we realize breaking even is a great thing and coming out ahead is even better. We continue to compete because WE LOVE BARBEQUE!

The reason I bring up the socioeconomic conditions is that, if we (barbeque lovers) don't find new and innovative ways to overcome these adversities barbeque as we know it could change for the worse. I believe that my addition to the KCBS Board of Directors would be a great way of attacking these issues proactively instead of waiting for them to happen and then having to react which is also much more stressful and typically very costly.

I also want to address remedial education for current judges, member benefits, and meeting transparency. You can hear about these issues in my announcement video at the end of this column.

Finally, over the next three and a half months I would like to get to know as many KCBS members as possible and would appreciate any, and all of your questions, comments, and KCBS platform ideas and I will respond to each of you in a timely manner.

For up to date information and answers to others comments please visit my candidacy Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/BJ-Hoffman-for-KCBS-Board-of-Directors/289380814423633
I look forward to getting to know you all better and hope I can earn your votes!


-- BJ Hoffman

<![CDATA[Should BBQ contests go green?]]>Mon, 10 Oct 2011 16:07:53 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/columnist-bj-hoffman/should-bbq-contests-go-greenGoing green can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. What could it mean to BBQ? It may mean that six judges all car pool to a contest to judge. It may mean using E-85 fuel in your truck to pull your trailer to the next contest. It may mean separating and sorting your trash from recyclable items at the next competition.

This past weekend I travelled to Omaha, Nebraska for the River City Roundup Barbeque Contest to compete with my team, Butler Center BBQ. Upon arrival, K.C.B.S. representatives Ron and Dena Milhous brought our turn-in boxes to us. The boxes were handed to me and there was something strange, no it wasn't Ron's firm handshake. It was this weird turn-in box. It was some paper derived box with a wax or plastic type of coating on the inside surface.

At the cooks meeting event organizer extraordinaire Tom Manhart explained that the Aksarben River City Rodeo and Stock Show BBQ Contest had taken steps to become "green" and reduce the carbon footprint. At first I was concerned that vegetarians had taken over but then thought about the other "green". He explained that the turn-in clam shells were different and asked for input regarding them. The big difference is the fact that they were not polystyrene.
I stored the containers safely and went about getting our cookers set up. After a great potluck hosted by Woodward BBQ I returned to our trailer to build our boxes. I retrieved one to start working on and realized after close examination that this box building marathon would be very tedious.

The outside of the box was paper based and appeared to be very absorbent. This became a huge issue as there a significant amount of liquids in a mobile kitchen when preparing meat for competition and having an isolated box building area in an 18 foot trailer isn't feasible. I decided to test the bottom of my "Anything on a Stick" turn-in box with some water about the size of a dime. Wow, the container absorbed the water and started to peel away with next to no pressure.

I ended up delaying the box building until all meat prep was complete and I could remove all the moisture from the work area. My next concern was storage of our boxes after building them. I decided to roll the dice and place them in a cooler with ice packs covered with towels.

The next day when we were getting ready for turn-ins I removed my first box and you could feel a spongy, damp, unstable container. The garnish in our boxes gave off enough moisture along with the condensation in the cooler compromised the integrity of the containers. Long story short, Butler Center BBQ crossed the Missouri River back into Iowa with an 8th place overall and got to have some great fellowship with friends.

I can't say the boxes hurt us, but I can't say I liked the moisture wicking materials they were made from. While polystyrene may not be good for the planet I believe that BBQ competitors could be better stewards of our planet and make a much larger and a more positive impact on the environment by other means than the use of this style of paper based turn- in boxes.

Due to the fact that this was Butler Center BBQ's last competition for the season I will have plenty of weekends to work with former Vice President Al Gore to solve this global warming and carbon foot print thing.

I would love to hear from other readers about how K.C.B.S. competitions and those competing can become better stewards of the environment without compromising the competition.

-- BJ Hoffman
<![CDATA[Garnish is a Big Hot Mess]]>Thu, 29 Sep 2011 02:26:06 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/columnist-bj-hoffman/garnish-is-a-big-hot-messIt's green, it causes headaches, it costs around $10.00, and it is found in dumpsters at K.C.B.S. contests across this great country. Yep, you guessed it. It"s garnish! As a competitor with Butler Center Barbeque and a CBJ - the world of garnish is a BIG HOT MESS! I want to give my opinion on the topic to garnish or not to garnish.

I started competing nearly 12 years ago and I had no idea what people were putting into that scary Styrofoam box. I used to compete as a one man team and I only knew a couple other competitors and nobody ever mentioned what a turn-in box was supposed to look like. At no point at the start of my BBQ'ing career did I ever think I would spend hours building boxes for an appearance score. Even after the last few years I still can't believe the amount of work that goes into building the "putting green" turn-in boxes.

As I read the box judging comments at BBQCRITIC.COM I see people mention the garnish. I wonder why they mention it at all. I am certain that my CBJ instructor Mike Lake told me that we are judging the appearance of the meat, not the garnish. What does the meat look like? (Yet there continues to be comments on the evil green stuff in the pictures we are supposed to judge per K.C.B.S. rules.)

Our team was recently at a K.C.B.S. contest. The availability of good parsley was sparse and I was nervous that my $200 in competition meat, $175 entry fee, $100 in fuel, and all my incidental expenses could be flushed down the toilet because I wouldn't have a putting green worthy of my fellow judges. Luckily we found a handful of parsley that would work and fared well. A few weeks later, I judged the amazing contest in Mason City and specifically sat at a table of strangers who had no idea I usually compete but decided to judge this particular weekend. I had some preconceived ideas of what I thought they would say about appearance scores. I was right

In between categories, the judges I sat with told me that the garnish does set the stage for the appearance scores. At that point I knew what our team needed to do to bump our scores up to the next level. Since that day we have taken a new approach to the appearance score. We do exactly what I see as a judge as the winning trend and have had increased success doing so. The success is great but wouldn't it be great to get those four turn- in boxes from the K.C.B.S. representative, put them in a safe place, and at 11:50 AM take the first one from it's safe place, put my six chicken portions in the box, and take it to the turn- in spot? I think so!

The true winner in battle over the garnish really appears to be the local grocers in my eyes. Getting rid of green garnish would save over $120,000.00 for K.C.B.S competitors (300 sanctioned contests, average of 40 teams per contest spending $10 per contest on garnish.). As I look at the future of barbeque and explore the possibility of a seat on the state or national barbeque scene, I think my primary platform item would be the elimination of garnish all together and leave the meat to be judged as the rules mean for it to be.

In conclusion, instead of worrying about the green leafy garnish, I know my team would rather worry about the green paper stuff handed out at the awards ceremony.

-- BJ Hoffman