Smoke Freaks are excited to welcome Master Certified BBQ Judge candidate Karl to the team for this weekend’s “Best of the Midwest” competition in Union Grove, WI.
A Certified BBQ Judge (CBJ) can apply for Master CBJ status after judging 30 contests, cooking with a team and passing a knowledge test. CBJs are required to cook with a team so they can gain a more intimate view of what it’s like to cook on the pro BBQ circuit. We think it’s also a great way to build relationships between judges and cooks, and hopefully our judge can draw from this experience and become an even better judge.
Smoke Freaks had always planned to host a judge one of these days. It’s the right thing to do as part of the broader KCBS community.
But to be honest, we had some other business we needed to take care of first.
Selfishly, we wanted to preserve as much of our focus for the task at hand -- winning our first Grand Championship.
Plus we wanted to make sure we had something worthwhile to offer our first MCBJ candidate. Our mission is to deliver Freakishly great BBQ experiences, whether we’re cooking, entertaining or coaching and consulting. So if a judge was going to cook with us, “Freakishly great” is the bar we’re aiming for.
We’d been approached a few times before but hadn’t yet welcomed a judge to the team.
Fast forward to the “Harbor Que” competition in Winthrop Harbor, IL. A guy named Karl shows up at our cook site after judging is complete and introduces himself as a MCBJ candidate looking for a team to cook with.
Here we go again.
We explained that we’re not feeling ready to have a judge join us just yet. But the more we got to talking to Karl, the more we thought he was pretty cool. He seemed like he could roll along with our Freak Force, which is really important to us.
Plus, he was wearing a tie-dye, so we got his contact info and promised to let him know one way or the other by Monday.
Well, the awards ceremony ended with a whole lot of howling as we are called up for Grand Champion! We finally did it!
Our thoughts went almost immediately to Karl, and we laughed because even though we’d all but decided to welcome him to the team, we knew there was no way of saying “no” now. Besides, he’s a good luck charm as far as we’re concerned.
But how do we go about making it a Freakishly great experience for him? We got to work on that right away:
And of course, we’re planning to tap into all of his experience when we make decisions on what goes in the turn-in boxes. We can already tell he’ll have some great feedback for us.
I know we’ll learn a lot from the experience, as will Karl. I’m so thankful our paths crossed.
Do you have any thoughts on other ways we can make it Freakishly great for our MCBJ candidate? Drop us a comment and Freak ON!
Ann is Co-Founder and Pitmaster for Smoke Freaks. She loves being the Chicken cook and has fallen head over heels in love with P❤️rk.