We’re at the Taste of Country BBQ Nationals at Saratoga Casino and Raceway as we speak and the smells of BBQ are AMAZING. We also have live music including Phil Vassar -performance starts between 8 and 930 PM James Wesley - performance starts between 6 and 730 PM. The question of how to taste and judge BBQ for yourself has come up a few times - and truth be told in order to be a judge it takes a quite rigorous training period to really learn the basics - but on the other hand if you want to judge for fun, here are some BBQ tasting tips!


Make sure the individual pieces are separated

Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) will disqualify a competitor if this detail is ignored!


Don’t Smoke Or Drink Alcohol

Sure beer goes great with BBQ but if you want to capture the true taste, stick with water only. No flavored water either!


It’s All In The Smell

Smell is very important component in tasting food - the first taste is also the first thing you should smell and that’s the smoky taste. Oven roasted meat just doesn’t have the thrill of perfectly smoked meat.


Acid and Base

There are lots of hot things in BBQ flavors and there should be a balance between the acid content and base content which will definitely have an impact on the flavor. Onions tend to be acidic and chilies tend to be base. A good balance works well but you can also neutralize the flavor with one another.


Also - chewing and size of sample are important. From an article discussing amateur tasting techniques:


the judge takes a large bit from an entry, chews it six times, rolls it around with the tongue, and thinks about the flavor without swallowing the bite.  This means that entries which are not tasted the same way will not be scored consistently, even if the judge has developed the ability to taste barbecue.


So there are some very basic tips for tasting and judging BBQ for yourself! It could be fun to see how close your judgement is to the judges at the Taste of Country BBQ Nationals - happening today at Saratoga Casino and Raceway!


More tips HERE.