PDA

View Full Version : What Did You Screw Up At Your First Comp?


tdwalker
03-23-2012, 09:29 AM
Pros, Mentors, Champions,

What did you screw up at your first comp? Did you forget your knives? Overslept and let the fire go out? etc.?

Just wondering because I'm planning my first comp, and I'm trying to get some "Gremlin-be-gone."

Best Regards,

Parts_Guy
03-23-2012, 09:52 AM
A buttload of screw ups. My dad talked me into only setting up 1 canopy. He decided to have a few too many and passed out at 10. I decided to set my alarm and sleep for a few hours...at least I thought I set my alarm. Woke up at midnight and could here someone's guru beeping. I said to myself..some farker let his pit get too low. Well, I was that farker. Temp had dropped 40 degrees.
Back to the 1 canopy up. It was pouring...and I mean pouring. I ended up having a 2 foot section to stand where I wasn't getting wet. I had to stand there for 4 hours..lol. Pork and brisket were overcooked. Skin shrunk on the chicken and we had to turn in skinless chicken. Fun times had by all.

Rub
03-23-2012, 09:56 AM
Not necessarily at my first contest, but some of my early brain farts included leaving my sauce at home, falling asleep at the stickburner and letting the fire go almost completely out, wrong sauce on wrong meat, grease fires, etc. Good luck!

Sent from the Swamp-Droid

boogiesnap
03-23-2012, 09:57 AM
i tried to cook hot and fast. smokers felt like cooking lo n slo that day.

i used a mustard sauce on pork.

tnjimbob
03-23-2012, 10:02 AM
Let my wife put together a turn-in box, when she had never even practiced one before. I let her now that she has seen and made a few practicing at home.

big matt
03-23-2012, 10:22 AM
1st comp ever..54 teams state record team count(at the time)chicken kept us from Grand..1st brisket,2nd ribs,8th pork,34th chicken..we took RGC but it could have been Grand if it weren't for that dam chicken!

Ron_L
03-23-2012, 10:38 AM
1st comp ever..54 teams state record team count(at the time)chicken kept us from Grand..1st brisket,2nd ribs,8th pork,34th chicken..we took RGC but it could have been Grand if it weren't for that dam chicken!

Been there. Too many times :-D

bover
03-23-2012, 10:40 AM
Not really a screw up since things ended up going pretty well for us, but I decided not to trim and prep the meat at home. I figured we'd have plenty of time to do it onsite. We did, but it was a lot more hassle than doing it at home.

Podge
03-23-2012, 10:41 AM
honestly, i didn't screw up anything my first contest. It ran like clockwork. I prepped, practiced, etc, and all went smoothly.. just be prepared, and the little screw ups won't be major.

Now, my next 47 contests, some I wished went that smootly !!

boogiesnap
03-23-2012, 10:43 AM
Been there. Too many times :-D

that thread was a real heartbreaker.

KevinK
03-23-2012, 10:49 AM
Podge you go to contest before doing your first one or what did you do to prepare for the first one? I was a lot more confident about contest late last fall when we decided to start a team but after going to a KCBS judging class realized what we are up against.

rexbbq
03-23-2012, 10:49 AM
We had a cheap canopy that flipped inside out due to a light wind. Spent the whole night holding it down.

scm1226
03-23-2012, 10:56 AM
Not enough beer!!!
Didn't talk to many teams at the first contest. Seriously, go around say hello to EVERYONE!! Tell them its your first comp and 99% if not a 100% they will say do you have any questions? They will also say if you need anything just holla.
Your goal (minumum) is not to DQ. if that doesn't happen success is had by all.

OutlawSwine
03-23-2012, 11:07 AM
My biggest screw up was not realizing how smooth the adult beverages were going down until it was too late. It pretty much went all downhill from that point. I woke up to a cold cooker, flat air mattress and a big pile of drool around my face.

K-Train
03-23-2012, 11:12 AM
At our first we had issues getting our chicken done on time. Cooked it to the last possible second, almost decided to not turn it in. Everything else went smooth as possible. Got one call that day..............chicken.

Captain Caveman
03-23-2012, 11:20 AM
We actually forgot to bring chicken to our first competition.

Rich Parker
03-23-2012, 11:22 AM
i tried to cook hot and fast. smokers felt like cooking lo n slo that day.

This is exactly what happened to me with my large meats and ended up turning in tough brisket and pork. It was very upsetting.

nthole
03-23-2012, 11:24 AM
I remember our first contest we had no plan, cooked the meat like we liked it and got hammered. We've since probably dropped half the stuff we used to bring, have a printed out plan of exactly what we want to do when and spend more time focusing on staying on track than making sure our beer isn't empty. A good friend also taught me, drink up Friday, have a good time, but put it away at 9p, get your chit in gear and then get to sleep. Sage advice.

Alexa RnQ
03-23-2012, 11:26 AM
Oh Lard. Let's see -- we had a leaky backyard Bar-B-Chef offset and a Weber kettle. VQ brought 240 pounds of lump charcoal. Hey, we didn't run out. Every other bit of crap we brought was similarly overstocked -- we could have dry-camped for a MONTH.

We let the butcher pick and trim our ribs for us. Got to the site, opened the package and found thin, crappy racks with shiners. Not within striking range of a market for repurchase. Our neighbors offered us the racks they weren't going to use -- BBQ people are just the best -- but we ran with what we brought.

Too nervous to get any sleep. I think each of us napped for 20 minutes in a chair. Will never make that mistake again.

Brisket was done at 7AM and we had NO clue how to hold it -- we were so green, we didn't even know at that time it could be done. Just left it in the coolest part of the cooker. The result is memorialized in the "What NOT to turn in" thread. It's a lot funnier now, but VQ went afterward and apologized to the head judge for that brisket, who knew EXACTLY which one he was talking about!

Big George's BBQ
03-23-2012, 11:27 AM
We destroyed our Brisket- sooooooooooo Dry. Got 2nd in Chicken. That was a Prof contest. Our very 1st was a Back Yard at Yardley- I think we were close to last in everything

Alexa RnQ
03-23-2012, 11:33 AM
Oh, and the screwups didn't stop after the first contest! TWO YEARS later, we were at a contest where we'd gotten in ridiculously late after mechanical problems on the road. Already under the gun, only got a couple of hours of sleep after meat prep and finishing setup. Every category was running close to the wire at turn-ins. Don't you know I closed the lid on our completed pork box to find I had built it UPSIDE DOWN???!!!

Pappy Q
03-23-2012, 11:50 AM
Everything!

rksylves
03-23-2012, 12:06 PM
My first was actually pretty quiet. Probably because I had a first rate mentor who taught me not to get in a twist over every little detail.

Of course since then I've had just about every DOH! moment possible. Realizing exactly 3 seconds after saucing my pork that I used the wrong sauce. Having my chicken finish waaaaaaaaayyyyyy early. Having my chicken get to safe temperature with literally seconds to go. Opening up a cryovac of ribs and be greeted with the most foul odor imaginable. Having a sudden squall line come in and wrap up my EZ-Up like a pretzel. Realize too late that the 'lemonaide' that I was offered and drank came out of a mason jar & packed a huge wallop.

I figure I've got several more to go....

Russ

JerryA
03-23-2012, 12:14 PM
Cooked 2 briskets, the better of the two.......sliced with the grain!! I was lucky I cooked a second, wasn't that great though.

slowerlowerbbq
03-23-2012, 12:25 PM
Let's see....my very first comp was with my buddy Mike who had a team with his brother. They asked me to come along and cook ribs. I had never even so much as gone to a BBQ comp let alone know what was involved. These guys had cooked 2 or 3 KCBS comps and had a little idea of what to do. But none of us had done any research, didnt know about this site at the time and basically went in and did what we do in the backyard. My buddy brought along his Char Broil offset that I'd never cooked on before and I used that for the ribs. BIG MISTAKE. So I lit the fire, couldnt control it all let alone get it up above 225, put the ribs on sometime in the middle of the night (told you I'd never done this before) and thought I'd get a couple hours sleep. Set the alarm and woke up to no fire...none whatsoever. So on go more lit charcoal and whole load of wood chunks and I babysat that thing the rest of the morning. This was at Dover, Delaware in 2008. For any of you that have cooked there before, you know what "Dover Blows" means.

Long story short, we made all our turns ins, came in bottom of pack but no DAL and we had a great time. The following year Mike and I dumped his brother, started our own team and went to Dover in 2009. That was the year of BBQ Pitmasters and the year of the Noreaster. Totally unprepared, cooking on borrowed equipment, had 2 canopies with no sides that could barely stand up in the wind. Do you remember Paul Peterson's chicken turn-in where he just chopped up a while chicken and threw it in the box? Yeah, that was me in Dover 2009 :oops:. But ya know what? We actually managed to get 17th in Pork that year against some incredible teams and still no DALs. That comp pretty much set us on our journey. We discovered this site shortly after that comp and really started stepping up our game (even though we still suck and have a long way to go).

Lake Dogs
03-23-2012, 12:26 PM
I've gone to chili cookoffs and forgot to bring the meat (was meat-only chili). Had everything else though!!!

My worst BBQ nightmare was at home, the night before I was to get married. Lesson learned; never under any circumstances cater your own wedding. No.

Otherwise, my worst BBQ competition nightmare was at my first MBN competition. I'd never loaded the smoker nearly that full, so I way over-estimated the time to cook. The pork shoulders were DONE at 2:00am. Mind you, we came cambro prepared, but not for THAT LONG, and everyone was asleep. I had to rush rush rush and get the 9 20# shoulders off the smoker and into the coolers & cambros without making too much of a mess (MBN -> onsite must be darned near spotless) by myself in a 2:00am funk/daze. Ends up we tied for 4th that day in shoulder. I did probably cost me a finals spot though...

Be prepared. Practice. Make lists (packing list, as well as a schedule). You'll do fine. Oh, prepare for rain and wind. Also be prepared to lose power. **** happens.

Goddahavit
03-23-2012, 12:29 PM
My big mistake, getting a dam call arrgh the money and frustration i could have saved if i would have just quit , lol...

seriously, cook a practice comp at home, all meats and timing, everything you use needs to get packed, make a checklist, and enjoy...

I know some teams win out of the box, we are not one of them, try to enjoy the journey, but not too much Friday night, 2nd and 3rd comp mistakes, lol

riblette
03-23-2012, 12:40 PM
Thought my ribs were better without sauce (and they are J). Cost me a GC…closest I ever got, too.
Good luck!

rawtalent
03-23-2012, 12:40 PM
Not my first competition, more like my 10th, but I only put 5 ribs in the box. I can tell ya, if a rep shows up while you're getting your pork entry ready its probably not to tell you that you got a 180 in ribs.

moocow
03-23-2012, 12:42 PM
Everything but our Pork, it got third place! Everything else not so good!

early mornin' smokin'
03-23-2012, 12:53 PM
hmm...first comp no major screw ups. Second comp, no major screw ups. Third comp turned in ribs instead of chicken....nothing worse than a rep coming back and telling you to get us at least something so you don't dq....our 6 best ribs went into the box, and from the local cops and helpers we heard they were awesome.

tdwalker
03-23-2012, 12:58 PM
My worst BBQ nightmare was at home, the night before I was to get married. Lesson learned; never under any circumstances cater your own wedding. No.


I had briefly planned to do just this 10 years ago, then my brother stepped up and offered to pay to have someone come in to do it. To this day, I am very grateful to my brother for this, but I won't tell him so (because he is mostly an a$$).:grin:

Lake Dogs
03-23-2012, 01:01 PM
With judging MBN and getting to go on-site, I get to see quite a few first time teams and most of those dont return... I'd say 90% drink entirely too much (mind you, I enjoy having a few beers and my team has a tradition of doing tequila shots before every MBN on-site) and bad things result. Not cooking enough meat is very common. Not knowing how to cook that much meat is another. Not knowing your smoker/cooker is also very common. I've seen plenty of first-timers combine all of these, get to the competition only to finally figure out that they dont have enough meat and not enough smoker capacity and off to the stores they go in a panic, a little while later they're setting up new smokers and trying to figure it out. I've seen a lot of what I think is a sauce to meat/seasonings mis-match (reference many above). Also I've seen plenty that are undercooked and apparently someone woke up about an hour before turn-in to slap some ribs on the grill (whether they needed it or not).

Shame, I'll never forget the team that came fairly prepared, but they didnt understand on-site, etc. They'd cooked only 2 shoulders (total). They'd gotten a little drunk, but one guy stayed up and tended the fire. The shoulder wasnt bad, but they were like watching the Keystone Cops. I was their first on-site judge. It was in the middle of the presentation (which they really didnt know what to do) that they rather loudly came to understand "HOLY FARK WE DONT HAVE ENOUGH". They were fairly prepared, but didnt prepare for MBN (which is very different than other sanctioning bodies).

Final recommendation; know your sanctioning body and know the rules. Cook to them.

INmitch
03-23-2012, 02:29 PM
Not my first competition, more like my 10th, but I only put 5 ribs in the box. I can tell ya, if a rep shows up while you're getting your pork entry ready its probably not to tell you that you got a 180 in ribs.
This reminds me of a story I've got to tell.
Knock on wood we've never had a DQ or late turnin. But earlier this month as I was putting together my pork box a certain rep (I won't say who this certain rep is from TN that works for a certain liquor co) came walking towards me carrying a box and says Fowl Butt....I instantly say you've gotta be sh!tting me. What could I have done? 9 ribs, I know they're seperated, no foil slivers..........then He says GOOD LUCK then laughs and says Oh this isn't YOUR box and turns and walks away.:heh: He got me good. If you knew me you would know I deserve that kinda crap.
Back on topic 1st comp we decided to try a meat tenderizer on brisket. tasted like a salt lick. We also forgot to turn on the roto after checking butts and actually left the chicken over the fire for about 20 minutes. Turned out good and got 4th in ck.

nthole
03-23-2012, 03:58 PM
^^^^Oh that right there is funny!!! :becky:

The_Kapn
03-23-2012, 03:59 PM
For our first contest in late 2004--we had little idea what we were doing.
Plain and simple.
In the "old days", there was little if any WWW help and few cooking schools.
Here at the Brethren, we had not yet developed the Comp section.

Fast forward to now.
You can browse and search the Brethren site and all of the others.
You can take classes from many of the top rated teams.
You can submit your sample (or real) boxes for some feedback (real or fantasy).
You can get "mentoring" with a simple request here.

I could go on--but will shut up for now :oops:

We wound up in the middle of the pack for that first contest and I still do not understand how---"full spares" ??????:oops:

TIM

RangerJ
03-23-2012, 04:10 PM
Taking 3 years to heed any of the advice given to me by neighbors.

They happened to be RnQ, Sweet Peppers and Slap Yo' Daddy. Not bad company for your first event.

As Alexa said, waaaaaay overpacking.

And finally, listening to an AZ cooker named Dean who swore I coud put my drums in my Tundra without emptying the ash.

Long, HOT, story better told over beer......

indianagriller
03-23-2012, 04:13 PM
I was cooking on my UDS and he to add more fuel due to it being just a rainy nasty weekend and we had started the drums way too early. So at 0530 I am up and trying to remove the food grate out of the drum when i lose my grip and 2 pork butts roll off the grate and i manage to pin them against the side of the drum about 5 inches above fire basket. Well everyone knows when you take a lid off a UDS the fire starts to grow, so it starts to get hotter and flames start showing up in the basket of glowing coals. Finally my fiance wakes up and comes over and we manage to get everything taken care of by my arm hair, gloves, and pork butts were a bit singed...

G$
03-23-2012, 04:22 PM
What did you screw up at your first comp? ,

We made the mistake of entering.

(Seriously though, good answers so far.)

big brother smoke
03-23-2012, 06:43 PM
I forgot to season the chicken:oops:; I got 2nd in pork though :biggrin1:

Bourbon Barrel BBQ
03-23-2012, 06:59 PM
It wasn't my first contest but my 2nd contest I didn't latch the pit door all the way and it swung open when I walked away and went inside our little camper. A team next to us knocked on the door about 530am and said "uh your pits on fire man" I looked outside and saw giant flames shooting out the front of the pit from a giant grease fire. I ran around and slammed the door and closed everything down to suffocate the fire. I was sure the brisket and pork inside were lava rocks. We ended up 2nd in Pork and 2nd in Brisket and took GC. It was dumb luck we didn't burn something down and burn the food up.

Sauced!
03-23-2012, 08:25 PM
We drank the entire time and with zero sleep. Completely overcooked the brisket so when I tried to cut into it it just turned to mush. Had to turn in pulled brisket since I couldn't get any slices. Didnt finish DAL though.

boogiesnap
03-23-2012, 08:51 PM
This is exactly what happened to me with my large meats and ended up turning in tough brisket and pork. It was very upsetting.

yup. i now cook at a temp i know i can hit...............in ANY weather.

CivilWarBBQ
03-24-2012, 01:05 AM
We did our first KCBS contest in Sevierville, TN the year that a tornado came through. We finished middle of the pack, but that contest spawned a good dozen stories that still get told every year.

My advice is to revel in your ignorance and have a ball - you're only a contest virgin once. B)

NRA4Life
03-24-2012, 10:07 AM
Kettering OH 2010 was my first comp. I thought I knew my cooking timeline pretty good, and I thought I knew my pit pretty good. I thought I had the timing down for lighting my stickburner, bringing it up to temp, and getting the meat on at the precise time. All that goes out the window when you get nervous and feel the pressure of the the first comp.

Well, I lit the pit and it just wasn’t coming up to temp. I started getting real nervous as I watched the clock and I was getting closer to the time to put the meat on. I built the fire up hoping to bring it up to temp quicker, which it did. Well over 300, probably closer to 350. By the way, my fully insulated pit doesn’t come down in temp very well once it is up. Well, I’m used to cooking around 250, and needless to say, the meat (pork and brisket) was done WAY early, like 6AM early. I threw it in my holding boxes, and slicing the brisket was near disaster. I included a picture for your enjoyment. Note the ½ inch thick slices, smooth and even saucing, and undeniable crumbly appearance that those slices are about to fall apart.

The only thing I can say is there must have been some bad brisket there since mine came in 42/51. I did meet my goals that day: Turned in all my meat on time, and did not come in DAL. I finished 30/51.

What I learned was: Light the pit early, keep the fire small, be patient, and have faith the pit will be up to 250 when it is time to put the brisket and pork on.

http://i929.photobucket.com/albums/ad136/deerhunter713/brisket-1.jpg

Coz
03-24-2012, 12:06 PM
Our first contest... Early June we had a Stumps clone 2 WSMs and a UDS.Plan was for the big cuts in the clone chicken and ribs in the others .All was going well until 3 am when I noticed the temp falling in the clone ,This had never happened. I tried to get it to take off again with no luck . I fired up the other cookers and got them up to temp and pulled out the meats from the clone and they looked FUBAR .Had the appearance of being creosoted over.I washed em in aplle juice and reseasoned them and put them in the cookers. Well when it was time for the ribs to go on I was trying to figure what I was going to do for space when it was time for the chicken to go on. About 8 am someone noticed the clone was back to temp .Moved the big cuts back . W got everything turned in on time when they came around and said to hurry up packing up that there were tornado warnings and we all had to leave .They were moving people to the high school etc. We had friends there that day and we tore down in like 20 minutes .Then the came and said scores were done to pick up you sheets and they would mail checks and trophies. Tornado missed us by a few miles but got that huge tree in Harbormasters yard.
Now I have Gurus and batteries for them.

big brother smoke
03-24-2012, 12:33 PM
Kettering OH 2010 was my first comp. I thought I knew my cooking timeline pretty good, and I thought I knew my pit pretty good. I thought I had the timing down for lighting my stickburner, bringing it up to temp, and getting the meat on at the precise time. All that goes out the window when you get nervous and feel the pressure of the the first comp.

Well, I lit the pit and it just wasn’t coming up to temp. I started getting real nervous as I watched the clock and I was getting closer to the time to put the meat on. I built the fire up hoping to bring it up to temp quicker, which it did. Well over 300, probably closer to 350. By the way, my fully insulated pit doesn’t come down in temp very well once it is up. Well, I’m used to cooking around 250, and needless to say, the meat (pork and brisket) was done WAY early, like 6AM early. I threw it in my holding boxes, and slicing the brisket was near disaster. I included a picture for your enjoyment. Note the ½ inch thick slices, smooth and even saucing, and undeniable crumbly appearance that those slices are about to fall apart.

The only thing I can say is there must have been some bad brisket there since mine came in 42/51. I did meet my goals that day: Turned in all my meat on time, and did not come in DAL. I finished 30/51.

What I learned was: Light the pit early, keep the fire small, be patient, and have faith the pit will be up to 250 when it is time to put the brisket and pork on.

http://i929.photobucket.com/albums/ad136/deerhunter713/brisket-1.jpg

Nice greens though! :thumb:

NRA4Life
03-24-2012, 12:54 PM
Nice greens though! :thumb:

Thanks, I probably scored a couple extra points for it :clap2:

Golden Toad BBQ
03-24-2012, 01:11 PM
What we screwed up the most? The chief cook and the rest of the team thanks to our good friend Jack! :biggrin1:

This of course led to screwing up most of our meats. We did get lucky and get a 3rd place call in Pork??? Not sure how... But we were hooked!!!

Toad

BC Squared
03-24-2012, 04:34 PM
Everything!

CBQ
03-24-2012, 09:39 PM
Cooking beer can chicken and turning in all different pieces so the judges "can pick what they want" is not a winning strategy
Knowing what the KCBS legal garishes are is one thing. Knowing what an illegal garnish is when someone brings a bag of unlabeled red leaf lettuce that isn't all that red is another. :icon_blush:

Brauma
03-25-2012, 12:25 PM
DAL in ribs. And not a DQ; we EARNED it. :tsk:

Never again...never again. :boxing:

butt head
03-25-2012, 03:34 PM
just signing up was the first mistake been hooked for 7 yrs now:loco:

4uweque
03-25-2012, 06:24 PM
First contest was yesterday, stuck to our timelines perfectly, only forgot to pack margarine for the chicken, easily replaced, ribs were out, best 7 sliced perfectly, in the box, looking good... Then I stepped in. Just gonna give them a little spritz of apple juice to give them a shine. Bad plan!! I figured out I had the wrong spray bottle after the second spray. It was lemon disinfectant, used to clean the tables. Our best ribs had to go in the trash. CRAP!! And I did it myself, we made turn in but with ok ribs, oh well! That's how it goes. Still had a blast!

FireTowerBBQ
03-25-2012, 10:32 PM
It wasn't my first contest but, I was competing in TGCBBQA event. Which is basically the same rules as IBCA. The chicken category called for two FULLY JOINTED chicken halves. For that particular comp I had purchased organic Smart Chicken, which apparently had the wing tips removed. I guess I never really noticed the wing tips not being there. Anyway, they wouldn't accept my turn in. A friend of mine had some extra chicken, so I ended up turning in theres so I wouldn't get a DQ. Moral of the story: if the comp calls for fully jointed half chicken, make sure it has wing tips.

Disconnect
03-31-2012, 09:26 AM
(TL;DR - everything we could mess up, we did..)

Our first was last fall. We had everything down to a science - timing, rubs, packing. We'd done innumerable recipe practices and 3 full timed competition-style practices in the yard (not going any farther than the sitting room to nap on the couch - no kitchen access!) etc.

Then its time for competition. We brought about 2 cases of beer (for us, friends, etc.) We didn't make that mistake though - too nervous. We brought back 1.5 cases, untouched. Might have gone better if we drank a few to calm down!

We get everything set up, meats on, etc. I take a final walk around to say hi to nightowls around 3am and go down for an hour in my chair. Assistant starts freaking about temperature and runs the UDS up to 325 trying for 350 (....?!?!?!??!) They get it back under control but the basket is basically empty. Add coals, no time to get them lit properly, ribs go on. (Lesson: post temperatures in camp somewhere so nobody has to remember. Having them in the book isn't enough.)

Oops. Forgot to trim my ribs! No time now, keep going.. (Lesson: pre-trim everything.)

Damn. Forgot the wood when restocking the UDS. OK forget it, its got smoke, thats good right? (Kingsford smoke does not taste like wood smoke..)

Chicken is done! OK quick fire to crisp the skins. Forget the baskets I'll just dump some RO in and go for it. WHOA. Where'd the skin go? Postage stamp! OK lets try another... oops. Black! Ok... I can do this.. deep breath.. .... ok the judges don't want the one that fell in the fire. Lets get the best of what we have and get that box out of here! Hey Tuffy! Good luck to you too! (Lesson 1: Don't change methods during the competition! Don't wing it, do it exactly as practice! Lesson 2: Tuffy is a really awesome guy.)

Pull the boxes from the cooler.. oh no! Condensation erased our #! Get a new box, quick transfer of greens, all is well. (Lesson for organizers? Don't use water-soluble ink! Also, for us, a sheet of cling over the numbers until turn-in time..)

Ribs comments: Most teams trim them. (Separately: there is a tough membrane on the back that could be removed.) Tastes like charcoal. (...sigh. Yah they were awful. 35th out of 40.)

Chicken escaped without comment, and not last, but real low. It was supposed to be our best turn-in. Ooops. (32nd.)

Butts were ok. 37th though, gotta figure that out.

Brisket is something we entered just to get a few points. I have spent years destroying perfectly good briskets.. We beat 10 good brisket teams, came in 25th. It was the only thing that saved us. I've gone over the notes, no idea what went right.. it was tons better than practice.

Overall, 35th and an addiction. Next comp is next week, can't wait!

Oh, and the final lesson: pick a small local comp without huge teams. (We did that. And got our entry in the last day.. but then they went to the big local comps and signed up some of the best teams out there. Whoops! I really didn't want to go against mixon and company on my first time out..)

QansasjayhawQ
03-31-2012, 08:05 PM
Wow. These are great stories!

But they all come down to a couple things.

Have a plan.

Don't get too drunk to stick too it!

:-)

boogiesnap
03-31-2012, 08:30 PM
(TL;DR - everything we could mess up, we did..)

Our first was last fall. We had everything down to a science - timing, rubs, packing. We'd done innumerable recipe practices and 3 full timed competition-style practices in the yard (not going any farther than the sitting room to nap on the couch - no kitchen access!) etc.

Then its time for competition. We brought about 2 cases of beer (for us, friends, etc.) We didn't make that mistake though - too nervous. We brought back 1.5 cases, untouched. Might have gone better if we drank a few to calm down!

We get everything set up, meats on, etc. I take a final walk around to say hi to nightowls around 3am and go down for an hour in my chair. Assistant starts freaking about temperature and runs the UDS up to 325 trying for 350 (....?!?!?!??!) They get it back under control but the basket is basically empty. Add coals, no time to get them lit properly, ribs go on. (Lesson: post temperatures in camp somewhere so nobody has to remember. Having them in the book isn't enough.)

Oops. Forgot to trim my ribs! No time now, keep going.. (Lesson: pre-trim everything.)

Damn. Forgot the wood when restocking the UDS. OK forget it, its got smoke, thats good right? (Kingsford smoke does not taste like wood smoke..)

Chicken is done! OK quick fire to crisp the skins. Forget the baskets I'll just dump some RO in and go for it. WHOA. Where'd the skin go? Postage stamp! OK lets try another... oops. Black! Ok... I can do this.. deep breath.. .... ok the judges don't want the one that fell in the fire. Lets get the best of what we have and get that box out of here! Hey Tuffy! Good luck to you too! (Lesson 1: Don't change methods during the competition! Don't wing it, do it exactly as practice! Lesson 2: Tuffy is a really awesome guy.)

Pull the boxes from the cooler.. oh no! Condensation erased our #! Get a new box, quick transfer of greens, all is well. (Lesson for organizers? Don't use water-soluble ink! Also, for us, a sheet of cling over the numbers until turn-in time..)

Ribs comments: Most teams trim them. (Separately: there is a tough membrane on the back that could be removed.) Tastes like charcoal. (...sigh. Yah they were awful. 35th out of 40.)

Chicken escaped without comment, and not last, but real low. It was supposed to be our best turn-in. Ooops. (32nd.)

Butts were ok. 37th though, gotta figure that out.

Brisket is something we entered just to get a few points. I have spent years destroying perfectly good briskets.. We beat 10 good brisket teams, came in 25th. It was the only thing that saved us. I've gone over the notes, no idea what went right.. it was tons better than practice.

Overall, 35th and an addiction. Next comp is next week, can't wait!

Oh, and the final lesson: pick a small local comp without huge teams. (We did that. And got our entry in the last day.. but then they went to the big local comps and signed up some of the best teams out there. Whoops! I really didn't want to go against mixon and company on my first time out..)


little tip....

you aren't going against myron et al.

you are going against YOURSELF.

i'd bet, your best Q is as good as any of the big names. problem is, they will bring their best EVERY TIME.

and the rest of us, well, you know your story. (and many others, inclusing myself)

Disconnect
03-31-2012, 09:31 PM
Totally agree. Still intimidating though :-)

Crash
04-01-2012, 01:06 AM
First contest was yesterday, stuck to our timelines perfectly, only forgot to pack margarine for the chicken, easily replaced, ribs were out, best 7 sliced perfectly, in the box, looking good... Then I stepped in. Just gonna give them a little spritz of apple juice to give them a shine. Bad plan!! I figured out I had the wrong spray bottle after the second spray. It was lemon disinfectant, used to clean the tables. Our best ribs had to go in the trash. CRAP!! And I did it myself, we made turn in but with ok ribs, oh well! That's how it goes. Still had a blast!
Reminds me of a guy I know in AZ......he's a FANTASTIK cook.