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CarolinaQue
07-26-2011, 10:13 AM
Just thought I'd start a thread that those that are new to competition BBQ could check out to speed up their learning curve a bit with out giving away secret techniques or recipes.

I'll start by saying after this weekend that I learned and was reminded the hard way that you need to stay flexible with the weather. Holding your turn in meat in a cambro or dry cooler may not be the correct approach when it's pushing 100* ambiant air temp. Alternating start times may be necessary to over come this challenge.

Any one else care to share a few tidbits of advice?

Lake Dogs
07-26-2011, 10:28 AM
Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. If you're depending on power, the odds are great that you'll lose power for about an hour at the one time when you needed it most. Print lists (in LARGE type so you can read them at 3am when everything is blurry) vs. leaving them on your computer. Computers break. Networks go down. Batteries fail.

Have alternatives / extras. If you have all your sauce in 1 container, that will be the container that the squirrel finds most desirable at 2am when you aren't looking. If possible, have 2 of everything.

PLAN PLAN PLAN, and in that plan have sleep time scheduled. Even a 2 hour nap is better than nothing when you're trying to carefully slice barbecue and not cut your finger off...

Bring lots of crisp $20 bills; judges like them. <JOKE>

CarolinaQue
07-26-2011, 10:36 AM
$20??? That's all it takes down there in Georgia???!!!:mad:

Good advice LD!!!

Podge
07-26-2011, 11:57 AM
30 minutes is the difference between 40th and 1st.
Never underestimate the smallest detail.
Trust your gut.
Temperature control fans are not set-it-and-forget-it. Neither are pellet cookers. Practice. After you cooked a truck load of meat, cook another one.

chambersuac
07-26-2011, 01:24 PM
Thanks, as a new competitor, all help and advice is appreciated.

Bigmista
07-26-2011, 01:25 PM
Err on the side of caution where time is concerned. Better to be finished early and have to hold your meat than to try to rush it and end up turning in undercooked meat. A long rest won't kill you and sometimes it helps!

Fatback Joe
07-26-2011, 01:29 PM
Trust your gut.


No doubt. :thumb:

chambersuac
07-26-2011, 01:33 PM
Hey Bigmista, if you really wanna help, send me some of your sauce :)

See...I even said your name! ;)

Lake Dogs
07-26-2011, 01:38 PM
I see this a LOT, particularly on the 2nd trip: Don't over-think it. Dont try to guess what judges like or dont like. Cook what you cook well. Mind you, pay attention to details, but dont keep 2nd guessing yourself and changing things. Do what you know; do what you've practiced. Make adjustments at home, not in the competition.

INmitch
07-26-2011, 02:18 PM
If Podge comes by befor turnins & is mad at himself cause he overcooked his brisket. Don't get nervous & undercook yours.:tsk: Cause He'll pull a top five and.......I....well mine sucked & got 20th.:doh:

Sawdustguy
07-26-2011, 03:24 PM
Stay away from the booze if you plan to compete. We have an ex member of my team that had to learn this the hard way. If you are going to cook, cook, if you are going to drink, don't cook.

boogiesnap
07-26-2011, 06:30 PM
do not, i repeat, do not, try and buck the horse.

no mater how good you think your mustard sauce is, or your vinegar sauce, or how tasty your wings are or whatever, DON'T DO IT.

you might hit a table that likes it OK, but ya ain't gonna win, and ya ain't gonna get consistent scores. other than somewhat low.

Muzzlebrake
07-26-2011, 07:51 PM
Stay away from the booze if you plan to compete. We have an ex member of my team that had to learn this the hard way. If you are going to cook, cook, if you are going to drink, don't cook.

you've obviously never seen the Habitual Smokers Road Show or Andy's one eyed chicken..........:becky:

riblette
07-26-2011, 08:14 PM
Practice timing. For at least a cook or two simulate the entire process using real turn-in times. While you're at, practice in "field conditions" as well. prepare, and cook everything without going back in to the house our garage or whatever to retrieve or prep anything. We even set up the EZ-UPs in the back yard and do everything the same as if it were a comp.

INmitch
07-26-2011, 08:25 PM
you've obviously never seen the Habitual Smokers Road Show or Andy's one eyed chicken..........:becky:
Or Fowl Butt Bbq. But if ya watch real close I'm in the background laughing with my teamates..........but not drinking. We as a whole are the biggest bunch of boozers in the country. It all depends What your going for! If you want to be consitant & be serious about winning then somebody needs to stay sober. If not have at it! I've done it both ways and both ways are equally fun. I only know of one 'Extreamly' good team that parties all night n still kicks a$$.

boogiesnap
07-26-2011, 09:15 PM
Just thought I'd start a thread that those that are new to competition BBQ could check out to speed up their learning curve a bit with out giving away secret techniques or recipes.

I'll start by saying after this weekend that I learned and was reminded the hard way that you need to stay flexible with the weather. Holding your turn in meat in a cambro or dry cooler may not be the correct approach when it's pushing 100* ambiant air temp. Alternating start times may be necessary to over come this challenge.

Any one else care to share a few tidbits of advice?

not so much.

the cooler or cambro will keep heat or cold out as much as it keeps it in.

something else, more drastic happened to your meat if it wasn't right on.

Sledneck
07-26-2011, 10:34 PM
Use a-1 on your brisket

CarolinaQue
07-27-2011, 04:29 AM
not so much.

the cooler or cambro will keep heat or cold out as much as it keeps it in.

something else, more drastic happened to your meat if it wasn't right on.


I don't know Boogie??? But you are correct. I noticed as soon as I started to pull it that some thing wasn't right. Almost seemed like it was that occasional meat you get that just doesn't come out right? Next time I think I'm doing 4 butts instead of 2!!!

boogiesnap
07-27-2011, 07:13 AM
I don't know Boogie??? But you are correct. I noticed as soon as I started to pull it that some thing wasn't right. Almost seemed like it was that occasional meat you get that just doesn't come out right? Next time I think I'm doing 4 butts instead of 2!!!

can't say, but i know i held 2 butts wrapped in a cooler for hours in 90* plus weather with no adverse affects.

Lake Dogs
07-27-2011, 08:11 AM
Practice timing. For at least a cook or two simulate the entire process using real turn-in times. While you're at, practice in "field conditions" as well. prepare, and cook everything without going back in to the house our garage or whatever to retrieve or prep anything. We even set up the EZ-UPs in the back yard and do everything the same as if it were a comp.

I hope that's not a lesson learned (the hard way), but I imagine for many it is...

Absolutely, PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE in the exact conditions you expect at a competition. If you can, set your turn-in time for the same time as your competition. Meaning, if you're going to be cooking overnight at the competition, cook overnight in practice. You'll be surprised at how much you discover. For us, 3am is rough. Identify those things you need overnight; possibly in the dark. What is the schedule? Where IS the schedule? Where's the coffee?!?!?! :-)

CarolinaQue
07-27-2011, 08:26 AM
can't say, but i know i held 2 butts wrapped in a cooler for hours in 90* plus weather with no adverse affects.

Well, I think that holding in a cambro is a little different than a cooler. But that was another problem I created for myself, I never used a cambro and made the stupid mistake of taking it on it's maiden voyage at a contest!!!:doh:

Lake Dogs
07-27-2011, 08:35 AM
Oh, THERE's a lesson learned. Dont bring new equipment to a competition and use it for the first time. I've seen folks buy something and bring it only to have to set-it-up and find it's missing parts, to learning cambro uses, to learning different smoker natures, etc.

Also, in practice, cook the same amounts of meats that you plan to cook in the competitions. Some smokers are very sensitive to how much meat you put in them; and frankly others aren't. Personal experience, first MBN cookoff we did we loaded in 9 20# whole shoulders and 4 9# butts. You'd think the cooking time would go up. We did. WRONG. 3am everything was DONE DONE DONE. In this case it was snooze-time-interuptus.

Matt_A
07-27-2011, 01:01 PM
If you're hesitant to cook as much meat as you do on competition day, I'm sure the neighbors would have no problem helping you "judge" the outcome....

Lake Dogs
07-27-2011, 01:27 PM
MBN was tough, at least the first time. I'd cooked a LOT, but never quite loaded 'er down like that!

KCBS and most others, no biggie. Shoot, when working up flavor and deciding one base vs. another, we'd cook more than we ordinarily cook for a KCBS/FBA event.

jcpetro97
07-27-2011, 01:52 PM
If you're hesitant to cook as much meat as you do on competition day, I'm sure the neighbors would have no problem helping you "judge" the outcome....

while I haven't been in a competition yet, I have started the process of practicing, getting timing/process down, and you are right. The neighbors have no problem at all helping me judge the outcomes. Heck, my coworkers even enjoy the mistakes the following day too.. Its a win-win for everyone!

CarolinaQue
07-27-2011, 02:30 PM
while I haven't been in a competition yet, I have started the process of practicing, getting timing/process down, and you are right. The neighbors have no problem at all helping me judge the outcomes. Heck, my coworkers even enjoy the mistakes the following day too.. Its a win-win for everyone!

Except for the wallet!!!:becky:

[TX]Aceboy
07-27-2011, 07:55 PM
All good ideas