You know that feeling you get when you take a long drive to an area you are not familiar with, and then have a commitment to arrive at a specific time? Best way to ease your mind is to leave early, right? I left early so I would arrive at 1:30 pm, way before my 2:40 pm deadline to check in as a judge. Not early enough, though.
My GPS brought me right to the fair on time, but traffic at a stand-still, barely moving to the parking gates. Set me back 30 minutes to reach Gate 3, and parking took another 15 minutes! Time was passing fast and panic set in right before I hitched a shuttle ride to the main entrance. Got directions from staff and walked a very fast pace down the street, dodging horse dung in the road. I finally arrived at the Elwell Family Food Center building. Am I frustrated? Not one bit. I am here to judge at the Iowa State Fair!
My writer was a very nice, intelligent lady who was a pleasure to work with. Makes me wish BBQ contests had writers, too. Reps would love to receive non-gooey score cards, but what a headache to recruit writers in addition to judges. Not gonna happen with KCBS. Plus we have to be quiet at the judging table. Not at this contest, though, and I love it.
The scoring is based on percentages :Taste (45%), Originality (30%) and Appearance (25%). For example, I might score an entry 41% for taste and give another entry a perfect score of 45%. Easy enough. Let the judging begin.
Samples of Sauces
The flavor profiles were all over the place. I saw ingredients such as hot sauce, honey, chipotle, cherries and other unique foods along with all the basic stuff. It was interesting to taste each BBQ sauce knowing exactly what was in it, and how all those ingredients created a unique, over-all flavor and texture.
RP's Cherry Habanero Moonshine Sauce. I counted 23 ingredients that cooked up a deep red appearance and thick sauce zapping my taste buds with a heavenly combination of flavors. A perfect score.
John Kirkpatrick, a long time judge of this division, took the mic and announced Russel Place took 1st Place in "Mine is the Best BBQ Sauce" with RP's Cherry Habanero Moonshine Sauce. Fantastic and boy was it delicious!
1st PLACE WINNER of "Mine is the Best BBQ Sauce"
Iowa State Fair 2022
Congrats, Russell Place, and thank you Anne Rehnstrom for considering me as a judge for this event. I would love to do it again some day.