Barbeque News,  Competitions

Judging in the Georgia Barbecue Association


GBA Badges for certified judges
If you like lip-licking, delicious barbecue prepared by some of the best competitive pitmasters in the country, then you should consider judging barbecue in the Georgia Barbecue Association.

Smokin J’s Barbeque is not only a professional cook team in the GBA, but we are also certified judges, for the association.

We learned a tremendous amount during our training, which helped elevate our cooking game.

Several opportunities are approaching if you want to become a judge in the GBA. 

Prerequisites for Being a Judge

You probably should love barbecue – lol!

Like family-friendly events!

Can dedicate a few weekends a year to enjoying fellowship with other barbecue connoisseurs.

Class attendees must first register as an association member; which can be done online anytime:

Click HERE to join the GBA

Several membership levels are available:

Family membership – 2 – $50.00 (USD)Bundle (up to 2 members)Subscription period: 1 year
Family Membership – 3 – $75.00 (USD)Bundle (up to 3 members)Subscription period: 1 year
Family Membership – 4 – $100.00 (USD)Bundle (up to 4 members)Subscription period: 1 year
                                           (prices may vary; originally published in 2017)

After you pay your membership fee, you can register for a training class.

Training classes are only $35.00; which is a bargain!  (price may vary, originally published 2017)

What is a GBA Judging Class Like?

During a judging class, the criteria for professional barbecue are explained.

It is not necessarily how you like your barbecue prepared at your neighborhood restaurant.

Judges are also trained on the scoring method used by the GBA, as well as BLIND judging practices.

Every entry is judged on appearance, taste, and tenderness; after COMPARING each entry to one another an “overall impression” score is given.

When determining an overall impression, only the submitted entries on the table are compared to each other.

This will declare a top box.

Scoring is not determined by how good the meat stacks up against the bbq joint down the street.

Each training session includes hands-on experience, judging professional barbecue.

After entries are brought in; students are asked to judge the samples based on the class instructions;  followed by a discussion.

If you pass the class, you are a TRAINED JUDGE.

Pork Loin Entries to judge
Judging Pork Loin Entries, photo by Greg Hoyt
Judging Pork Ribs at a GBA contest
Judging Pork Rib Entries photo by Greg Hoyt



Progressing to a Certified Judge

Once a member has received his/her TRAINED JUDGE credentials, it is time to register and judge an event.

Judging registration occurs about a month before each event.

Registration is available at the GBA Contests/Events website.

If you are picked to judge, expect instructions via email.

NO FEES WITH A JUDGE REGISTRATION.  It is completely voluntary.

ckick to read how we hosted our own barbecue judging simulation

On contest day, judges report for roll call and assigned their category or categories to judge.

Categories sanctioned by the GBA include boneless pork loin; pork ribs; and pork butt or shoulder.

Some contests hold ancillaries, such as the best dessert or best cocktail.

Once a TRAINED judge has successfully completed two contest events, he/she will receive CERTIFIED judge credentials.

Recognition for those judges who exemplify what the GBA represents, “growth and fellowship of competitive barbecue, consistency, and quality in judging, and have been a positive force within the Georgia Barbecue Association,” is available through the Master Judge Program.  

Why the GBA?

There are many different competitive barbecue contests and organizations.  Smokin J’s Barbeque truly enjoys the camaraderie and family we have grown to love within the GBA.

Every contest is like a family reunion or a backyard picnic with loved ones.  Events are family-friendly and respect between cook teams thrives.

The best damn barbecue eat is why Smokin J’s Barbeque will continue to travel from WAY out of state to compete in the Georgia Barbecue Association.


Join the Georgia BBQ Association

Let me know if you have any questions about judging a GBA sanctioned contest.




Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial