The S.C. Barbeque Association will hold a class in Aiken on Saturday to train new barbecue judges.

The all-day seminar, the first time one has been offered here, is designed to start a person on the path to becoming a full-fledged Certified Barbeque Judge. It is the first of a five-step process toward certification.

“I need judges in Aiken,” said Lake High, president of the S.C. Barbeque Association.

Approximately 50 people have already registered for the class, he added, and only two are from Aiken. The rest are coming from all over the state.

Association judges are invited to judge in various barbecue cook-offs around the state.

High maintains that South Carolinians are naturally good judges of barbecue because only in South Carolina do people regularly cook and serve all four types of barbecue – vinegar and pepper, mustard-based, light tomato-based and tomato-based.

To become a Certified South Carolina Barbeque Judge, a person must complete the day-long seminar and judge in four different publicly-held, Barbeque Association-sanctioned barbecue cook-offs.

“We try to teach people how to know their limits in tasting and thinking,” High said. “It’s rather complicated, believe it or not.”

High said S.C. Barbeque Association Certified Judges are held to a higher standard because a judge is permitted to eat only eight different samples. Limiting the number of selections cuts down on “mouth fatigue,” he said, when one sample can begin to taste like all the others after a while.

Cookers really appreciate the lengths the association goes through to provide trained, knowledgeable judges, he said.

The class in Aiken will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the recreation hall at St. John’s United Methodist Church, 104 Newberry St.

To register for the class, email Lake High at The registration fee is $45.