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Texas Marshall
05-20-2012, 11:58 PM
Help us understand something here. When we started competing six years ago, staying up all night was a ritual, battling wind, etc, etc. Now we're seeing teams vanish after setting up their booths, only to turn up 8am ish Saturday and end up taking walks. We've even seen teams show up Saturday AM and get a call. Have these teams REALLY perfected the turbo cook, or is something else at work?

We just have a tough time believing that ANY team can turn in world class Q when you never see them cook it. Any thoughts?

hogzgonewild
05-21-2012, 06:30 AM
What type of cooker are you using? For our schedule using a Insulated Cabinet smoker with Digi-Q, we put our big meats on around 8-9pm, then it's off to bed. I wake up around 3am to foil the butts and brisket, which takes all of 15 minutes, then it's back to sleep until 6 or 7.

I was in your same position last year, staying up all night cooking on a stick burner. When I saw Bub-Ba-Q go to bed at 10pm and take Grand at the National BBQ Cup last year, I knew I had to trade out the stick burner for something else to get some sleep!

CarolinaQue
05-21-2012, 07:05 AM
I agree that there is likely some thing else going on that you're not seeing. Either because it's happening while you're trying to get in what sleep you can, and you're just missing it. Or, they have a set it and forget it smoker that allows them that convenience.

BoneDaddy's
05-21-2012, 07:20 AM
Help us understand something here. When we started competing six years ago, staying up all night was a ritual, battling wind, etc, etc. Now we're seeing teams vanish after setting up their booths, only to turn up 8am ish Saturday and end up taking walks. We've even seen teams show up Saturday AM and get a call. Have these teams REALLY perfected the turbo cook, or is something else at work?

We just have a tough time believing that ANY team can turn in world class Q when you never see them cook it. Any thoughts?

What are you implying...that they cheat? Many teams have progressed and embraced technology, sorry you have not.

expatpig
05-21-2012, 07:34 AM
What are you implying...that they cheat? Many teams have progressed and embraced technology, sorry you have not.
Don't be sorry that you haven't embraced technology, I embrace the fact that I don't use technology, old school, hands on, flying by the seat of my pants, is why I have passion for barbecue. I want to be involved in the process, instead of being a casual participant.:clap2:

va92bronco
05-21-2012, 07:54 AM
What are you implying...that they cheat? Many teams have progressed and embraced technology, sorry you have not.

Faster and more automatic doesn't mean better experience. If I just wanted to sleep, I could stay home and save alot of time and $$$

Don't be sorry that you haven't embraced technology, I embrace the fact that I don't use technology, old school, hands on, flying by the seat of my pants, is why I have passion for barbecue. I want to be involved in the process, instead of being a casual participant.:clap2:

x2.

BoneDaddy's
05-21-2012, 08:14 AM
Faster and more automatic doesn't mean better experience. If I just wanted to sleep, I could stay home and save alot of time and $$$

x2.

I guess I could write someone a letter, but i prefer email....some find the experience in the prep and presenting and not watching a cooker cook at 3 am. That is about as much fun as watching paint dry IMO, so to many, technology makes it more fun.

Ron_L
05-21-2012, 08:25 AM
I'm not sure what Texas Marshall was looking for, but the debate over the use of technology and the type of pit is one that has been beaten to death around here it will never end as long as different types of smokers and electronic controls are allowed in competitions.

What I don't understand is why people care what the team next to them or down the row is cooking on. Each team or individual has made a decision on what cooking method and style they want to use and has chosen a smoker accordingly. If I choose to run a traditional offset, and the guy on my right is using Weber Bullets, the guy on my left is using a pellet cooker, the guy across from me is using a gravity feed cooker, the guy next to him is using an insulated cabinet, the guy at the end of the row is using an insulated firebox offset with a Guru, the guy on the other end is using some UDS, and the guy around the corner is using a firepit and a rotisserie (aka Johnny Rotisserie :-D), what does it matter? we all have to produce food that appeals to the judges and get it there on time. Why does anyone care how the other person does it as long as they are doing it within the rules?

Cook your style and on your pit and forget about the other guy.

porkingINpublic
05-21-2012, 08:40 AM
I know in the few comps i've done a bunch of people just don't do the shoulders/butts due to the fact they don't wanna stay out there all night... they show up around 6 am and start putting ribs and chicken on the smoker...

also, i've heard Myron Mixon shows up early in the morning and just does hot and fast... I think he has won a comp or 2 in his day... :laugh:

Lake Dogs
05-21-2012, 08:43 AM
I was at a competition one time where a drunken kid was found sleeping in a smoker....

Does that count?

hogzgonewild
05-21-2012, 08:48 AM
Wow, this thread did turn into a debate! I want to be clear on my comments above that I don't want to downgrade stick burners, as I still love to cook on the old New Braunfel's offset that we have at our lakehouse, I love having to work the fire to turn out amazing Q, but you won't ever be able to "disappear" at a competition for 4-6 hours with one, and I think you will find that 99% of the teams that retreat for the night are probably using some type of power draft system.

I agree that it doesn't matter what type of cooker someone is competing on, as every type of cooker has taken GC somewhere, and it's the person doing the cooking that is the difference!

Goddahavit
05-21-2012, 08:55 AM
Im not sure what your asking but i saw it this weekend, but what i saw was a team that has the timing down, cooks a lot, and knows what the judges want, they have used the equipment enough, trust the results and it shows.

I personally enjoy the talking and fun at nights, so i like to walk around, but we just got comfy in a tiny toyhauler and so far it makes the entire weekend more fun.

Its all about getting the food into the box, infinite amount of ways people can accomplish that!!

I dont look at it like im competing with other teams, its more about how i can please the judges, and what they like, not me..

rookiedad
05-21-2012, 10:25 AM
Cook your style and on your pit and forget about the other guy.

respectfully, i don't undersand this statement. if curiosity as to what others were doing did not exist how would anyone ever learn a new method or improve their product. learning new stuff is an important part of this section and this site, and how would you learn if you did not ask questions and just forgot about the other guy? i don't think Texas Marshall was accusing anyone of cheating. i think the question was more about the timing of a competition cook and the hot and fast or "turbo" cook. maybe anyone who has found a way of cutting down cooking times with good results could chime in. :grin:

huminie
05-21-2012, 10:35 AM
I think there are two answers. Some of the folks are doing low and slow with a technology assist. Either a pellet cooker, or a cooker with a Stoker/Guru. You can put your big meats on in the evening, go to a hotel for some sleep and come back in the morning. The other answer is hot and fast cooking. Many teams won't start their cooker until the 3am-6am range. I have never seen someone roll in at 8am and start setting up though. Is this a bit of an exaggeration?

I do low and slow and use a Stoker. I put my meats on and let the cooker settle and then I can get 6-8 hours of sleep. This helps me to be focused and relaxed the morning of a contest so I can perform at my best.

Ron_L
05-21-2012, 10:51 AM
respectfully, i don't undersand this statement. if curiosity as to what others were doing did not exist how would anyone ever learn a new method or improve their product. learning new stuff is an important part of this section and this site, and how would you learn if you did not ask questions and just forgot about the other guy? i don't think Texas Marshall was accusing anyone of cheating. i think the question was more about the timing of a competition cook and the hot and fast or "turbo" cook. maybe anyone who has found a way of cutting down cooking times with good results could chime in. :grin:

I never said that you shouldn't be curious. I agree that's a big part of learning and I learn all of the time from you guys and folks at competitions. I was specifically referring to the never ending discussions of "my pit is better than yours because xxxxx and you're pit isn't the right way to cook BBQ". There is a big difference! Learn from others, but don't slam them and their cooking method simply because they made a different choice than you (and I don't mean you specifically, but the "generic" you. :)

I also didn't say anything about cheating or that Texas Ranger was accusing anyone of cheating. I'm just not sure what his intention was in starting this thread.

Texas Marshall
05-21-2012, 03:33 PM
Thanks a bunch for the input gents, I appreciate it. No implied cheating in my post, although I have heard it from folks at comps before.

I have fought the move to technology simply because I believe a computer should be used for email and browsing the web, not controlling a UDS. Doesn't mean I won't consider it for comp. After all, I don't serve guests dinner in styrofoam lettuce-lined boxes and expect them to yank on their food at the house. :mrgreen:

Thanks again, here's to a great season for all of us!

Boshizzle
05-21-2012, 08:06 PM
I noticed the same thing at a comp a few weeks ago. I even mentioned it to one of the teams beside me. I thought I heard them snoring at about 5am. It turns out that they had one team member that was up early firing up the smoker and putting meat on. He was pretty quite and seemed to work in stealth mode to me. At about 7am, the other team members took over and the early bird took a nap.

The other team beside me showed up in a nice RV with a lot of electronic doodads connected to their smoker. I think I saw them begin stepping outside around 8am Saturday.

So, shift work and electronics seem to be the answer.

Muzzlebrake
05-21-2012, 09:50 PM
6 or 7 hours of sleep is a long night for me at home, 4-5 at a contest without a hangover and I'm bouncing around the trailer by 10AM.

I use pellet cookers for contests to help eliminate variables but I have no problem getting my Backwoods to lock in for 5 or 6 hours without any controllers. There are plenty of teams that use things like charcoal baskets to prolong cooks without electronics. It's not that hard, just takes some practice and trust in your equipment. The WSM and UDS crowds are always bragging about how long they keep temps ( as long as its above 60*, not windy or raining....:twisted:)

Crash
05-22-2012, 02:21 AM
I think there are two answers. Some of the folks are doing low and slow with a technology assist. Either a pellet cooker, or a cooker with a Stoker/Guru. You can put your big meats on in the evening, go to a hotel for some sleep and come back in the morning. The other answer is hot and fast cooking. Many teams won't start their cooker until the 3am-6am range. I have never seen someone roll in at 8am and start setting up though. Is this a bit of an exaggeration?

I do low and slow and use a Stoker. I put my meats on and let the cooker settle and then I can get 6-8 hours of sleep. This helps me to be focused and relaxed the morning of a contest so I can perform at my best.

I think you nailed it. Power cooking and electronics are being used a lot these days.

RedPig
05-22-2012, 04:55 AM
To do well at a contest you have to manage your time properly. Teams that compete regularly and walk a lot, have the details all worked out. If its a stick burner then they might assign a member of the team the duty of running the cooker during the wee hours. Some cook hotter and faster and they will put the big meats on around 3 or so. I've done this a few times. All cookers have limitations, but a good pit master that knows his pit can use technology, ie, guru, stoker, etc and/ or charcoal baskets to advantage. If you know your pit well, all things considered, you can set up a competition timeline that works best for you and your team. Some say if you are worried about not getting enough rest at a contest then you shouldn't compete. I don't buy that argument. Build your schedule around the type of cooker you are using , try to find ways to extend unattended burn times, etc. Use whatever you have on hand to maximize your pit efficiency and always look for an edge on your neighbor. Getting as much sleep as you can Friday night so you will be fresh and focused on Saturday is extremely important and good teams figure out quickly what they need to do to win and stay focused.

RangerJ
05-22-2012, 07:10 AM
I read the OP to not be referring to electronics but perhaps I read too much into it. If he "sees nothing" until 8AM or so then I figured that meant any type of fire starting or smoke rising.

While not quite 8AM, for KCBS I don't fire up until 4AM and have no problems hitting my turn in times, well, no problems is not quite accurate as my organizational skills are a bit lacking and sometimes the product is sub par but... lets just say I've never missed a turn in.

Here in Texas where brisket turn ins are as late as 4:30, I could easily show up at 8 and get it all in.

I did not learn hot and fast until I moved back here and noticed that while I was not the only one up all night tending a fire, there seemed to be more quiet camps at midnight than those with fires burning.

Disconnect
05-22-2012, 08:18 AM
We set up our schedule so that everyone has the option of at least 6 hours of sleep. (Then I skip my turn, walk around chatting and eventually grab a couple hours in my chair.) The gurus (and before that, the stoker) help with that, but if the weather is good and the pits are behaving we only check them every hour or so anyway unless the alarms go off. We'd be pretty easy to miss. (Overnight is a WSM and a UDS.)

Even before all this fancy team stuff, in backyard I used to do a 26+lb clod for 30 hours on my WSM with no gadgets. Most of the time I just checked it every hour or 2, throw another handful of coal on and go back to bed.. You could easily have thought my yard was empty all night.

ique
05-22-2012, 08:24 AM
Have these teams REALLY perfected the turbo cook, or is something else at work?

We just have a tough time believing that ANY team can turn in world class Q when you never see them cook it. Any thoughts?

No implied cheating in my post, although I have heard it from folks at comps before.

When you said 'is there something else at work' and that you had a hard time believing such a team could turn in world class Q, what did you mean if it was not you were suspicious people were cheating?

RedPig
05-22-2012, 08:44 AM
Texsas Marshall :We just have a tough time believing that ANY team can turn in world class Q when you never see them cook it. Any thoughts ?


If your looking your not cooking.:biggrin1: Seriously though, a lot of the "cooking" is done very discreetly. Keeps the shiggin down.:laugh:

Cue's Your Daddy
05-22-2012, 08:56 AM
Bbq contests are culinary contests. It is who ever puts out the best product using what needs to be used to win. All the people who say that true bbq is not produced at contests have to realize that u are trying to make 6 people who are looking at a uniform box of green parlsey with uniform pieces of meat, sliced with a super sharp knife so that all cuts are uniform, thru a piece of meat that was cooked to a point where it doesnt fall apart but has a perfect texture that was decided on by a group of people of what it should be. These are culinary contests in which bbq is being cooked. I am in no way saying that the person who just salt and peppers a piece of meat, smokes it over a certain kind of wood, and doesn't apply a sauce to it will not win at a contest, but it seems that's not what judges are looking for. Its all about a complexity that we are trying to find. If someone can produce that in less time, but have the best product, they win, and they should win. A contest is all about time, which is why u have to have your turn ins by a certain time. If they let us turn in meats just whenever, then things will be different.
And most of the teams that win can cook on anything. Look at ique, he has won on a backwoods, a jambo stick burner, and probably a wsm. Rumor has it he cooked a contest on a hibachi and he took a gc. Poobah has cooked on a FEC, spicewine, klose pit, and wsm and has won. The cooks who walk on a consistant basis can cook on anything.

CivilWarBBQ
05-22-2012, 03:55 PM
We just have a tough time believing that ANY team can turn in world class Q when you never see them cook it. Any thoughts?

Considering you're from Texas, I'm guessing you have a tough time believing that any good BBQ exists outside of your state anyway, right? :grin:

Nordy
05-22-2012, 04:25 PM
I guess I'm one of those guys... meat goes on at 8P, I go to bed about 1030 and you wont see me until after 630AM... unless I have to "relive" myself... was that too much information?

jbrink01
05-22-2012, 04:37 PM
I started to type a long winded diatribe but have decided to say fark it. I'm tired of this debate. Cheaters, shiggers, sleepers, power cookers, stick burners......oy, my head hurts.

RangerJ
05-22-2012, 06:07 PM
Considering you're from Texas, I'm guessing you have a tough time believing that any good BBQ exists outside of your state anyway, right? :grin:

Cooked for the masses and served day after day, for the most part, YES!

Comp wise, I've had my A@@ kicked by teams from about most of the lower 48...

Texas Marshall
05-22-2012, 10:08 PM
Considering you're from Texas, I'm guessing you have a tough time believing that any good BBQ exists outside of your state anyway, right? :grin:

Actually CivilWar, we're in California, I just have an affinity for Texas Q. We need more contests out here, we're lucky to make 2 or 3 a year with the travel times just to hit comps in CA. We can practice all we want, but nothing beats game day. We have UDS, trailer mounted pit, Royall, Traeger, BGE, and a whole mess of variables. I guess if we had more time to devote to doing comps, I might have less questions. This is why I turn to the experts and come here, and I mean that sincerely.

Thanks again for the input from everybody who chimed in, once again I've learned a little something... The least of which is that I have to pop a bigger hole in my UDS for a Guru!

Midnight Smoke
05-22-2012, 10:49 PM
I don't suppose anyone could be bringing in pre-cooked meat in a cooler... Then throwing it on the cooker for show. No one would stoop that low, would they? Seems no one else asked the question, only implied sort of.

Smokenstein & monster crew
05-23-2012, 07:49 AM
Don't be sorry that you haven't embraced technology, I embrace the fact that I don't use technology, old school, hands on, flying by the seat of my pants, is why I have passion for barbecue. I want to be involved in the process, instead of being a casual participant.:clap2:
just look at my signature..........:razz:

TooSaucedToPork
05-23-2012, 03:59 PM
As with anything in this world technology improves and makes things easier. 10 years ago I used a stick burner. 5 years ago I used a Stumps. Now I use Grilla Pellet cookers, why??? consistancy.

Technology doesn't make BBQ BETTER...it makes cooking it more consistant

Injections are technology - do you use the latest in injections? People study cause and effect and create shortcuts for us to get consistantcy.

There are purists...I was one for competitions, but now I like my consistant results.
I still stickburn at home, I perfer the taste and process...but that pellet cooker is a hell of alot easier and more versitile for competing.

Noone is wrong for embracing tech, no one is right...it is what it is, until the authority rules it illegal in comps.

Neil