Father and son make judging BBQ a family affair

The duo will judge for Roots ‘N Blues.

By Alexis Hitt | Oct. 1, 2010

Tags: Food Roots 'N Blues 'N BBQ 2010


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Taking a bite of barbecued chicken, Tim Chancellor can taste the slow preparation and the perfect balance of spices and sauces. He can taste winning barbecue. He lets out a slight moan and is suddenly met with glares from the surrounding judges. Silence is one of the rules and regulations for a competition barbecue judge.

“Competition barbecue is a whole different world,” Tim said. “It’s hands down so much more incredible than traditional barbecue.”

In order to be certified by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, judges must pay annual membership fees and take a training class. The class teaches participants about different cuts of meats, proper cooking techniques and other necessary elements to effectively judge competition entries.

Tim owns a special networking business where he works as a private chef and caters tailgating to winery events. Although he loves cooking, Tim decided to become a competition barbecue judge at the suggestion of his father, Rick Chancellor, who decided to become a judge simply because of his love for barbecue.

“I like to eat good barbecue, so I thought I might as well judge it and taste the various kinds,” Rick said.

The Chancellors are two of 54 judges who will be determining the winner of the Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned Roots ‘N Blues ‘N BBQ Festival on Saturday, Oct. 2. The categories include beef brisket, pork, ribs, chicken and baked beans.

Fifty teams will compete to not only win bragging rights but also for $15,000 in cash prizes.

“Typically, this festival is the last competition of the year,” said Chris Wolters, member of competing team Zou-B-Que. “It’s almost like a homecoming for all the participants in Columbia.”

Judges base their decisions on three factors —- appearance, taste and tenderness. Appearance involves certain regulations that are sanctioned by the certification board about how the meat can be presented.

Judges have to be open to all different tastes. Despite what many believe, The ideal tenderness is not necessarily having meat falling off the bone but involves determining if it is overcooked or undercooked.

Tim has experienced some of the best and worst barbecue during his time as a judge.

“Some meat tastes like its been cooked in a microwave,” Tim said. “For me, a winning piece of meat has to have good balance. A good flavor, seasoning and sauce.”

Most teams prepare their meat about 12 hours in advance to ensure it has the perfect taste and will grab the judges’ attention. Most participants agree it’s not only about the barbecue but about the people involved as well. Rick mentioned his favorite part of the Roots ‘N Blues festival is the comradery of the competitors and the judges.

“(Roots ‘N Blues) locally shows off our community,” Rick said. “You can’t drive to Kansas City or St. Louis to have the quality of a weekend like Roots ‘N Blues.”

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