SCBA Grading Table
Trying to get our head around scoring BBQ.
When my wife and I ventured into SCBA Judging, we sat down at our first Novice table and we quickly realized that it's difficult to assign a subjective number with nothing to base it on. For the seasoned judges, it doesn't seem too difficult, but we have no experience and weren't sure where to start. For example, on a scale of 1 to 5, if the barbecue tastes average, I should give it a 2.5, right?? Yeah I know - Wrong! That would quickly result in some terrible scores and probably get us booted from the table.
We needed an easy way to relate to the scores, and my wife has a lot of experience with quantative analysis (she's a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt). She assigned her score to a letter grade (A-F), then related that to the College-based grading scale (ie: 100 is an A, 90 is a B, 80 is a C, etc.). If you think about it, we all spend our formative years in school with letter grades, so this method comes natural to most everyone.
Once we realized that her simple method made scoring barbecue boxes easier and more reliable, we expanded it to a full scale of 60 - 100 (anything below a 60 is a F and we don't want to go there). We tested it against novice boxes, and scores from the previous competitions. It all comes together nicely. (If you search for the mythical "SCBA Average Score" in the table, it is right where it should be, so we know our scoring scale is valid.)
So how does this work in practice?
At a judging table, I receive the barbecue box and judge it on Appearance. For example, it looks really good, but not overwhelmingly outstanding so I give it an "A-". That is between a 90 & 92, and since I'm being moderate about it, I give it a 91. Then I reference my handy grading table and see that that's a 2.73.
I also get to smell the barbecue and it's fabulous! "A+", but not a perfect Aroma, so I give it a 98 which is a 1.96.
When I test for Tenderness, it's nice but I find a few tough pieces, so I give it a solid "B", which is an 85 or 4.25.
The Taste is really nice and meets my expectations based on the Aroma (to reinforce my Overall Impression later). I give it an "A-", which is a 90 or 4.5.
For Overall Impression I do the same thing, but I also use the calculated method to verify my Impression score. I've been really happy with everything, and the A+ and B balance out so I give it an "A-", which is a 90 or 1.80. At this point, I do my calculation, too, becuase Hey, I'm new and still not 100% confident in my score. So... 2.73 + 1.96 + 4.25 + 4.5 = 13.44. (13.44/15) * 2 = 1.792. The 1.80 and 1.792 are really close, and I like the box, so it gets a 1.80.
Final score is a 15.24, which is an 89, "B+"". That's a decent score for a mostly above-average box.
We've only done 2 novice tables so far, but our results have been very close (if not identical) to what the Novice Instructor was giving for his scores. My Overall Impression and my calculated Impression have been very close to each other, too.
SCBA Grading Table
This is a simple table to equate a letter grade to an SCBA score. It's not a revolutionary concept to change the way scoring is done. We keep a copy of this sheet on our clipboard and when we're not sure what numerical score to give a sample, we give it a letter grade then lookup the score. There is still a lot of flexability to make the score accurate.I'm offering it here in case it might help other SCBA Judges that are still learning the scoring process like we are. I think it's very good if all the judges are scoring on the same scale.
(Note: This is not a straight row scoring solution! For each sample, we choose an individual score for each category, then calculate our final score.)