One of the things I learned in a Certified BBQ Judging Class on Saturday is that there are several websites and forums which allow competition cooks to submit photos of their turn-in boxes. Certified BBQ Judges can then rate the box, using Kansas City Barbeque Society standards. One such page is on the BBQ Critic site.
Our instructor, Carol Bigler, said she spends hours preparing the garnish for her boxes when she cooks competitively. Placing the chicken, ribs, pork or brisket in the box only takes three minutes. I found an informative amateur video of Slap Yo Daddy BBQ’s Harry Soo giving a demonstration of garnish preparation. Parsley, cilantro and green-leaf lettuces are the only legal garnishes in KCBS events.
There is a vast difference of opinion as to whether garnish should be considered in the appearance score. Carol taught us that the garnish acts like a stage to elevate the meat and make it look as good as possible. It keeps the meat from sliding around inside the box and helps make sure that what the judges see is what the cook turned in.