View Full Version : Our first comp coming up.. Help

"Bone to Bark" BBQ
01-31-2012, 06:12 PM
I was hoping to get some input from some of you seasoned competitors! Other than the standard "competition" checklist of things to have on site, I'm sure there are quite a few things that you've learned from experience that we may need to know! Thanks for the help!

01-31-2012, 06:16 PM
Practice,practice did I say practice. Do a practice cook to get your times down.

Rich Parker
01-31-2012, 06:24 PM
Just relax and follow your game plan and everything will work.

01-31-2012, 06:32 PM
TRY to relax but make sure to have fun and make many new friends. The rest will come later!!

01-31-2012, 06:51 PM
Do a practice cook to get your times down.
This is key. I never did a full blown practice comp cook, but I took a lot of notes and I know how long it takes for each meat to cook on my pits.

Some advice I have read on a practice cook - Make a checklist of everything you need and have it outside in your pit area. If you have to go into the house for something add it to your list. If there is something you didn't use, take it off. Well, except for the fire extinguisher.:thumb:

And have reasonable goals. Mine were (and still are): 1. Don't miss any turn in times. 2. No DQs. 3. No DAL's. You meet those goals at your first comp, and you have done well. Get a call and you've kicked a$$.

The Virginian
01-31-2012, 06:56 PM
Get a copy of Startin' the Fire by George Gensler. Its the best thing out there for new teams, wish I had one when I started 10 years ago.

The Virginian

82's BBQ
01-31-2012, 08:12 PM
If you have a checklist, and you should, use it. Don't assume you put both of your butts in the truck, because who would forget to do that right? Yeah lesson learned. Thank goodness for a great mother-in-law that was able to bring them to us half way. Seriously only check it off the list once you have put it in the vehicle.

01-31-2012, 09:14 PM
In addition to everything above, be careful Friday night. Socializing will overwhelm you and before you know it, you'll have tipped one too many and you will be paying for it all day Saturday.

Also, remember you can trim (but don't season) the meat ahead of time - this will save you a ton of time Friday. Don't put off building your boxes until the last minute, do them Friday night and put in a cooler.

Most of all - Relax & have fun.

01-31-2012, 09:14 PM
Introduce yourself to your neighbors at the comp. Share a drink or two. Bring over an abt or three. Let them know that you are new and ask them to give a shout out if they have any advice or suggestions.

BBQ competitors are extremely friendly and the guy next to you can be a great resource.


01-31-2012, 11:09 PM
Quick note. On my checklist each item has two boxes. One for "I have this item in the required qty." The other for "this has been packed and/or loaded." the checklist also turns into a shopping list 14, 7, and 2 days before the competition.

Bam Bam
02-01-2012, 03:05 AM
Trim your meat before the comp and utilize the time saved to network and make friends. Most cooks are very helpful especially with first timers. Pick their brains and ask for advice. Ask the KCBS reps questions after the cook meeting. They are generally very helpful as well. Also try to get some sleep. My first few comps I didn't and I paid for it at turn ins. Just a few hours goes a long way. Last but not least, just make sure to slice through your ribs and brisket completely. Just to be safe, lay both meats in the box one slice/rib at a time. Have fun and good luck!!

Bam Bam

02-01-2012, 03:36 AM
Great advice from everyone above, wish we had it when we started out.

The best advice up there is practice, practice, practice. Can't really say enough about that.

Additionally, keep track of:
1) how your pit cooks in different environments (wind, outside temp, elevation, etc.)
2) timing; get your timing down so there is little to no rest time on your small meats (CHX and Ribs) and enough rest time on your bigger meats to still turn them in as hot as possible
3) the other competitor's advice; it's invaluable to a new team and most seasoned teams will gladly lend a hand
4) enjoying the event; just have fun...it really is a learning process.

Best of luck at your first event.

02-01-2012, 05:42 AM
Prepare for the worst, hope for the best and above all, have fun. None of it means anything unless you have fun.

Meat Man
02-01-2012, 09:23 AM
We just finished our first comp last weekend. I have to agree with every thing that was said. Do all the pre trimming you can (especially the chicken). Try to make at least 2 of your boxes the night before, unless your really fast. Give yourself enough time in your time line to make heat adjustments. Check the the weather report, we had some very high winds in Havasu that caused problems for many teams. Take lots of pics, and take pics of your boxes so you can go back and take a look. We were flying so fast at turn in time we didn't and wish we did. Have fun!

Big George's BBQ
02-01-2012, 09:52 AM
Get a copy of Startin' the Fire by George Gensler. Its the best thing out there for new teams, wish I had one when I started 10 years ago.

The Virginian

Great advice. Most teams are glad to help and if they can lend you things. Most important have fun

big matt
02-01-2012, 10:42 AM
Great advice from everyone above..I'll add get there early as possible on Friday morning or even Thursday night..much easier to pull in and set up and you'll avoid the dreaded Friday night clusterf$&k!..good luck!

02-01-2012, 10:54 AM
If you plan on having friends and family come visit, make sure to tell them to show up after turn ins. It is easy to get distracted and miss a step.

02-01-2012, 11:08 AM
Make sure you bring a cooler and towels for holding meats if they finish early...bbq is ready when bbq is ready. Have accurate thermometers to check meat and pit temperatures. Judges rarely agree with your friends...your bbq won't necessarily be delicious in their eyes. In my experience they like it saltier than you may normally cook it for yourself or at least for myself. Make sure the flavors you are tryingto pass off can be registered in one bite, two tops. Don't try to overthink...beef should taste like beef and pork should taste like pork. We've been stuggling with these issues for the last three years ourselves. Remember most seasoned vets have never won a competition, so don't feel embarrassed with however you finish. Get your garnish in your boxes early...like the day beofore turn in. This will save time and headache during the frey on turn in day. WATCH THE CLOCK. One second late is a DQ...yes I've done it, yes I wanted to hang myself.