NoCents Barbecue Scoring – Judging Program

Welcome to NoCents "Barbecue Scoring" program overview.


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Judging with the NoCents Barbecue Scoring System is a completely blind judging system. Neither the judges know which teams samples they are judging nor do the teams know who the specific judges for their entry(s) are. The basics of this established blind judging system are: the teams are provided identical 9 X 9 inch Styrofoam boxes which have a removable label with their team number affixed. When the entry is received at the acceptance table, the CONTEST REPRESENTATIVE removes the team number and a new different number label is attached. The only person(s) to know the correlation of the numbers is the CONTEST representative(s).

Inside the containers, a team places a minimum of seven (7) separate and identifiable portions of the meat entry for the judges to sample. Garnish is typically limited to leaves of green lettuce and parsley, or no garnish at all. There is no sculpting of entries, no marking of the meat or container, no out of the ordinary or otherwise identifiable shapes are permissible, and no pooling, puddling, or containers of sauce is allowed.

Entries are scored for three criteria: APPEARANCE, TENDERNESS, and TASTE, by seven different judges, using a rating score of two (2), through ten (10), with one (1) being reserved for disqualification. The NoCents system allows the use of decimals in scoring if the contest organizer desires.

Judges are asked to use the following score references.
10 -- Perfect
9 – Exceptional
8 – Excellent
7 – Very good
6 – Good
5 – Average
4 – Below average
3 – Poor
2 – Inedible
1 – Disqualification

Each entry is presumed to be average before examination. After presentation and tasting, the entry is scored up or down from there as determined by the individual judge’s independent opinion for all three criteria. Entries are scored individually - not comparatively, it is permissible and acceptable for several entries to have the same numerical score in any given criteria.

Judges are volunteers, many travel great distances to judge, judges may also come from members of the surrounding community. The only prerequisite to serve is age; a judge must be at least 18 years old. Judging is serious, during the judging process, no cell phones are allowed, judges are required to only drink water, not smoke, and not leave the judging area. Judges are assigned a particular table and a judging number for that contest. Anonymity of judging is again assured but later follow-up by computer records and scorecards is possible. The actual judging process takes over two hours to complete.

A panel (table) of seven judges typically scores six entries in four categories: chicken, pork-ribs, pork-shoulder, and beef-brisket, twenty four samples in all. The number of entries a contest has determines the total number of judges required. One of the judges per panel (table) is assigned the duty of captain. The captain is responsible for bringing the samples to the table, presentation, dispersing, collection of scores, and standard scoring criteria. The captains’ scores may be used as tie breaking values. The captain, together with the contest representative, insures that his table of judges does not duplicate, conspire, converse, or discuss among themselves the scoring, he also tries to insure they do not score the same numbered entry(s). Judges scores are personally recorded by the individual judges on a scorecard. Once scores are recorded by a judge on a scorecard, they are not allowed to be changed, erased, or altered in any way. The scorecards are collected after each entry sample is judged and turned in to the contest representative to be entered into the computer scoring program.

A proprietary computer program to determine the winner and ranking in each category mathematically computes Judges scores. Grand champion is determined by the cumulative scores of the four categories. Scores for each criteria in all categories are weighted with an 8 decimal factor to help eliminate ties and multiple category wins. The approximate weighting formula values of the different criteria are:

Appearance – 7.69%
Tenderness – 38.46%
Taste – 53.85%

The advantage of our 8 decimal factor weighted scoring, expanded scoring latitude, presumption of average to begin, the highest score for each criteria being perfect, and 6 judge plus captains tie breakers significantly reduces the possibility of ties and multiple category wins.






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Created 6/17/04