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drbbq
10-03-2005, 09:32 PM
Any of you guys going?
I could use a runner.

The_Kapn
10-03-2005, 10:56 PM
Any of you guys going?
I could use a runner.

DR Ray,
If I could afford a plane ticket--I would be there in a heartbeat.
Even do the dishwasher Mod http://bbq-brethren.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_biggrin.gif

But, ROF (Retired Old Fart) on a fixed income--sorry http://bbq-brethren.com/forum/images/smilies/frown.gif

Good luck on the event.

TIM

Jeff_in_KC
10-03-2005, 11:28 PM
I would likewise jump at the chance to be there to help, watch and learn but when I asked my wife, she said no. Gotta stay home one weekend and see my daughter play soccer. But if you're competing anywhere else within a few hours of KC and need someone for a runner or gopher, keep me in mind.

CarbonToe
10-04-2005, 02:39 AM
I asked the better half but was rejected due to budget.......:wink:

drbbq
10-04-2005, 06:28 AM
Man, having a real life must suck. Anyone else?

chad
10-04-2005, 06:42 AM
Yep, real life, jobs, no sponsors...:biggrin: That really get's in the way of my que habit! :rolleyes:


Have a good outing! We'll see you in a few weeks at Key Largo.

parrothead
10-04-2005, 08:58 AM
Wish I could, Ray. Way to busy mod going on.

Ron_L
10-04-2005, 01:56 PM
Dang! I just made plans to visit my parents for the weekend! Of course, I don't run, I waddle... :rolleyes:

William "The Refridgerator" Perry mod... :-D

Bigdog
10-04-2005, 02:46 PM
Dang! I just made plans to visit my parents for the weekend! Of course, I don't run, I waddle... :rolleyes:

William "The Refridgerator" Perry mod... :-D
He did not go fast, but he did hit with some force. Just ask that poor linebacker that the put on his arse while scoring a touchdown. I think that was on the Monday Night game. What a riot. That was when football was fun. Now it is stunk up by overpaid, egotistical maniacs. IMHO.

Back on topic: Hope you find a runner DR.BBQ. It would be great if one of the brethren could step up to the plate.

icemn62
10-04-2005, 02:51 PM
The funny thing it seems that everyone who lives too far and can not clear the time or the funds to make the trip would love to do it. Wife started talking about saving money when I mentioned getting some ribs, so I know a plane ticket is not even worth bringing up.

The_Kapn
10-04-2005, 03:53 PM
I just took a look at the website for this event.

WOW!

Second year--and looking at a cap of 56 teams and a qualifier!
"Downtown" venue in a small town.

Either gonna be a mess, or a great weekend :grin:
My money says they will do fine!

TIM

spicewine
10-04-2005, 04:03 PM
Is it this weekend???

The_Kapn
10-04-2005, 04:33 PM
Is it this weekend???
YUP

TIM

spicewine
10-04-2005, 04:45 PM
Damn!! I will be selling my wares at the pumpkin festival all weekend. Doc, you will be only 5 hours from me. I would have been honored to be your runner!!! Maybe next time!!!

drbbq
10-04-2005, 06:59 PM
You guys are puss's.
I hope they have an escort service in Arthur so I can get some decent help.

The_Kapn
10-04-2005, 07:08 PM
You guys are puss's.
I hope they have an escort service in Arthur so I can get some decent help.
WE are both too old for "escort services"--well maybe not :oops:

"Party like it is 1899"

I am sure some talent will show up!

TIM

drbbq
10-04-2005, 08:47 PM
The job is taken, and I didn't have to pay a hooker.

chad
10-04-2005, 08:58 PM
Good deal!

It looks like it'll be a good cookoff and, of course, a qualifier for the Royal! :shock:

Good luck to you and your "temp"! :twisted:

drbbq
10-08-2005, 09:21 PM
Luckily Tim came up from Florida to be my runner, because I don't think there was an escot service in Arthur. There was however many Amish people and a very good cookoff.

Thank you very much Tim.

He did all the dishes and most of the other crummy chores this weekend, while freezing his Florida ass off.

BTW, we finished 3rd overall with a 5th in chicken and 4ths in ribs and brisket.

It was a great weekend.

chad
10-08-2005, 09:24 PM
Early results from Arthur, IL.

GC Bar-B-Qua
Reserve Parrothead

3rd DrBBQ - Bonesmoker :biggrin:

Understand that Bar-B-Quau tore it up - something like 25 pts. over the reserve.

Detail, I'm sure will be coming later.

Jeff_in_KC
10-09-2005, 12:10 AM
Congrats, Ray! Workin' those Big Green Eggs! :grin:

ggeilman
10-09-2005, 01:18 AM
I haven't been to Aurthur in about 30 years. There used to be a place there that sold the best 1 lb pork chops in the state! Wonder if it is still around.

willkat98
10-09-2005, 08:03 AM
I haven't been to Aurthur in about 30 years. There used to be a place there that sold the best 1 lb pork chops in the state! Wonder if it is still around.

Its called Yoder's Grill, and its still there

Solidkick
10-09-2005, 08:25 AM
Bar-B-Quau is tearing it up! I think that's three Grand Championships in his last three events.....

Congrats Dr. B and Tim on 3rd overall........

Ron_L
10-09-2005, 10:26 AM
Congrats, guys! Sounds like a great time!

dswfondy
10-09-2005, 06:32 PM
Hey Dr.,

Its Dace Branson, I was beside you at the Cabela's event in Wisconsin, Branson's BBQ.
If you are ever in need of any help in the Illinois or wisconsin area again let me know it would be great learning from the Dr. I am always looking to expand my knowledge. Hopefully i will be able to get to a couple more events next year.

bransonbbq@yahoo.com

Dace Branson
Branson's BBQ

The_Kapn
10-09-2005, 08:28 PM
Well, My frozen and wore-out Florida ass is home.
38 degrees in a van does not make for quality rest.
But, with BGEs and a Fast Eddy--you get lots of miserable "lay-down" time http://bbq-brethren.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_surprised.gif http://bbq-brethren.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_surprised.gif

Had a great weekend with Ray.

I have a lot to say, but later.

Ray provided some invaluable insight into the "art" of competing that I can share.
It is not about the sauce or the rub or the voodoo of garnish.
It is about attention to detail, flexibility, and the "elevation of basics to an art form".

Gotta rest now.

And, thanks Ray for a great weekend.

TIM

Jeff_in_KC
10-10-2005, 08:35 AM
Well, My frozen and wore-out Florida ass is home.
38 degrees in a van does not make for quality rest.
But, with BGEs and a Fast Eddy--you get lots of miserable "lay-down" time http://bbq-brethren.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_surprised.gif http://bbq-brethren.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_surprised.gif

Had a great weekend with Ray.

I have a lot to say, but later.

Ray provided some invaluable insight into the "art" of competing that I can share.
It is not about the sauce or the rub or the voodoo of garnish.
It is about attention to detail, flexibility, and the "elevation of basics to an art form".

Gotta rest now.

And, thanks Ray for a great weekend.

TIM


Dang, I knew whoever made the trip to Arthur would learn a bunch! Sounds like each of these three topics could be great threads of their own and be some good learning stuff for the roadmap!

The_Kapn
10-10-2005, 09:02 PM
Just some lessons here-- learned from cooking with the good DOC at Arthur.


If you are looking for some “secret sauce” or “silver bullet”, this post will disappoint you. Sorry.
These are more “Global” or “Big Picture” in nature.


The valuable lessons I took away are his “approach” to competing and the process he uses to select, prep, cook, and present the product. Ray knows “How to Win”, which is much different than “How to Cook”.


I learned that a some of things Dave and I do are consistent with Ray. I learned that many of the things we do need to be elevated and refined to work better. And, I learned that some things we do are not helping us at all and need to be scrapped.


Meat selection:
Ray travels 8 months a year. He does not have the luxury of a dependable and predictable meat supplier. So—he buys the "best" he can locate and then adjusts his cooking to the meat.

When we first met on Fri morning, he had everything but the chicken and the garnish. The local IGA had no thighs. So, we drove 16 miles down the road to Wally World. While en-route we discussed our preference—we both “prefer” natural vs., enhanced poultry. He rooted around in the chicken section and picked the best package of “enhanced” they had.
“No problem—we will make them work”.
On arrival at the site, he got a lead on some natural chicken and picked some up.
At this point, many of us would have set the enhanced aside and gone with the natural since it is “better” or “preferred”.
Not Ray.
He opened both packages and evaluated each type in detail. It did turn out the he felt the natural was best (by just a bit), but was fully prepared to cook the enhanced if it was a better “batch”.
Our brisket came from 2 different stores. To me, they looked almost identical. He laid them out, looked them over, declared both of them to be “fine” and said one would take longer to cook up. Guess what—1 hour difference in cook time.
There were other examples, but I have bored you already.


Lesson learned—learn to adapt cooking times, spices, and any other variable to accommodate the meat you have. We all have preferences, the enhanced vs. natural one, baby backs vs. spares, flats vs. packers, butts vs. shoulder, etc. As we learn, we need to get at least “comfortable” with the “non-preferred” meat and “expert” with the preferred one.
In each prep session in the future, I am going to evaluate the piece I have and try to predict its needs a lot better. None of them are exactly the same. I will pay attention to mass, marbling, age, smell, and anything else I can discern, then compare my results with my predictions and adapt the next time.


Preparation, sauces, rubs, injections:

I am just calling this “spices” for short.

Ray keeps several rubs and sauces handy. He has a “genre” preference, i.e. sweet, spicy, or whatever. Just different flavor levels within his preferred flavor group. He selects the spice type and amount based on his analysis of the meat he is dealing with during the prep.

Sorry, but there is no overriding secret sauce or process he is locked into. No Voodoo here.

It is just an expert understanding of the meat, flavors, and the expectations of the Judges.

And, I understand that he continues to use different spices as he comes across them and never quits learning. He was testing a new commercial product for a friend. He had decided it was OK--used it--and walked.

Dave and I have avoided the secret or custom spice route simply because we never got around to it. Now we will just follow the lead of Ray in this area.
Lots of great product out there, no need to reinvient the wheel.
KISS principle at work.


As many of us do (or try to do), Ray adds flavor that compliments the meat. He does not ever let it overpower the meat flavor.

My phrase is “the meat should be the star”.


To Ray, Prep is an intense, focused and critical time for him.
Most of us just unwrap the meat, inject with our standard injection, rub/brine/marinade it with our standard spices and then go have a beer.
Ray evaluates the meat that is being used to create his income, decides how he is going to trim/spice/ process each piece, and does it. He is also deciding the start time for cooking based on the meat he is working with. Then he goes to have a beer (or Jack and Coke)!


Time, Temps, and the cooking process.
When I first started smoking seriously, I had the blessing (or suffered the curse) of the digital thermometer. My Studedera used to look like the ****pit of an airliner. I tuned my pit temps as close as possible. If pit temps varied 5 degrees from my target, I was ready to “correct” it. If I wanted 240—260 was a “spike” and called for immediate action to save the meat! This year, I have learned my smokers a lot better, understand the cooking process a lot better, and have gotten away from most of the digital use.

To Ray, pit temps are general in nature. He seems to think in terms of “mid 200s” or “about 300” and it really makes sense (and life a lot easier). He just does not stress out over holding some exact value every minute of the cook. And, I made up those numbers for illustration.

Even the FEC has some large fluctuations as the pellets feed and burn—BGE’s can vary as the fire moves into different “densities” of lump.
It is no big deal to the meat and it should not be to us.
I asked him one time what the rack temp was at a location in the FEC.
He said, “I have no idea. Should be about XXX (I really do not remember the number). It just seems to cook right if that gauge reads about there”.
Makes sense to me!

I am not saying to “not care” about temps, it is just that “micro management” is just a waste of time in the big picture and does not really improve the meat.


Like many, Ray does not monitor meat temps closely (or at all) during the cook. As we have heard many times—probe resistance is one indicator as is the “feel” when you press the meat. A probe is a nice backup, but not the final word on texture. Experience again—something we can all develop if we pay attention.


To foil or not to foil—that is the question.
Answer, “If you need to”.
Ray does not do the “foil at 160” deal. He foils when the color is right, the texture is right, the time is right, or not all if he does not see the need for it on that piece of meat.

I am not saying those are his exact criteria, just that he uses foil when it will enhance the process as he sees it at that point in time. He does not follow a rigid schedule or rule, but adapts to the cook as it progresses.


The Window:
This is the second period when Ray is totally and 100% focused on his work.
He has developed a method of ranking the pieces of meat and selecting the best that is comfortable and consistent for him. Based on the final meat taste, he makes the final decision as to amount of sauce or glaze to use and prepares boxes that are simply beautiful. For appearance—the judge cannot wait to taste the meat—and that is the goal.

He leaves “experimenting” to others. He wants basic layouts that work for him without drawing undue attention from the judges or a Rep. BASICS at work here.


Awards, or lack thereof.
Ray is very comfortable with the results, apparently any way they fall.
After turn-in, we discussed the entries. He said that 3 of the meats would “do well” and one “was not going to help us”. We discussed why that entry was not up to his standards.
Well, he “walked” 3 times and wound up third overall.
He spent just a couple of minutes looking at the score sheet and, sure enough, just as he predicted. He missed RGC by just a “tad” Even a little improvement in the weak meat would have done the trick. He did not pour over them looking for details, just the big picture.
He was not remorseful, did not blame the meat, did not blame the judges, did not blame the weather, just accepted the scores and congratulated the winners.

He said, “It is no shame to lose to those guys”.
Class Act.
--------------------------------------------------------------
I am sorry that this does not contain specifics and details. Not a matter of “secrets” at all.
I do not think Ray has any set way of doing things each and every time.
He has developed the skill to adapt and therefore has earned his position in the world of BBQ.


This knowledge and skill will never be learned over the Internet. Going to a cooking class will never teach it. Cooking with a pro, such as I did, will never teach this skill. Judging will never teach it. All of these things help, are good, and need to be done-- if possible.


But, one needs to go compete, practice, stay open minded, analyze results, and work with the BASICS to become great.
Try to “elevate the basics to an art form” as Ray (and others) has done.


I think the difference between Ray and many other cookers is that he has spent 25 years cooking in competition and has never stopped learning and advancing. Many cookers find some “formula” they like and just do that "over and over" for 20 years.
They can't figure out why "that hunk of meat just did not cook right". My neighbor is that way. They found results that “worked” for them and never opened their mind and “grew” as a cooker.


My final observation is that there is no “right way” to cook BBQ that must be followed.

I have now seen Ray’s methods in detail. David has attended the Myron Mixon School. Their processes share some areas, but are really different in others. Yet, both master cooks produce “Championship BBQ” event after event.
I have sampled both products—both championship level meats.


So, find a process that works for you, practice it, and make it “yours” if it works for you.
Then, keep on “fine-tuning” it—It will never be the final answer. And, someone else’s process is not wrong if it works for them.

Thank you DRBBQ for a priceless lesson in "How to Win".


See you at Largo http://bbq-brethren.com/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif


TIM

Jeff_in_KC
10-10-2005, 11:07 PM
Tim, some outstanding stuff there! Thanks so much for sharing... and thanks to Ray for sharing it with you. It has occured to me recently that there HAS to be something different about those folks who consistently put out championship BBQ. It's not a recipe, a certain cooking temp or whatever. I couldn't quite put my finger on it other than lots of time spent practicing and learning from what you do. But "elevating the bascis to an art form" I think hits the nail on the head. Just like in sports - mastering the fundamentals first is how one becomes successful. Likewise, in competition BBQ, it makes perfect sense that you concern yourself with learning how to select a good cut of meat and adapt what you do with it to the quality of the meat rather than at what temp to foil and so forth. It makes sense that the former would take you farther in competition than the latter.

Anyway, thanks for posting all this! I hope it spawns a really good discussion!

nmayeux
10-10-2005, 11:35 PM
Tim,
Thanks for the rundown, as it is is to the point, and informative. It seems that you guys had a really good time, and I hope you and Dave do well in Largo. Dr., congrats on a 3rd overall, and walking 3 times.
Noah

CarbonToe
10-11-2005, 04:04 AM
Tim, thanks for that, very insightful. I wish I could have been there. You can learn so much more through working with a expert rather an making the mistakes that they have already made!

It's no surprise that the best guys know how to cook using their senses (Smell, Touch, et all) rather than strictly following a 'time table' based on a similar cut of meat or just repeating blindly what has worked before.

One thing I'm surprised about is how liberal you guys are when it comes to using MSG and 'enhanced' ingredents. I personally won't go near them with a barge pole.

BBQchef33
10-11-2005, 08:31 AM
One thing I'm surprised about is how liberal you guys are when it comes to using MSG and 'enhanced' ingredents. I personally won't go near them with a barge pole.


Not everyone. I use NO MSG and NO Salt in my rubs. I only salt lightly after cooking. In competition, I use MSG VERY sparingly in place of salt on the brisket, but in normal life, that stuff is Taboo.

The wife is badly allergic to the stuff. She gets slammin headache minutes after eating something with even small amounts of msg in it. I always question the content of rubs when friends give it to me because of this. I have no problem with it myself, But i have ruined many a dinner for her becase it was buried in something i used.. and of course then i am "blamed".. no matter how careful i am not to use it. Sometimes it just sneaks in in something.

drbbq
10-11-2005, 08:38 AM
MSG is our friend. It's made from beets. I don't eat beets because thay taste nasty, but I have no philosophical problem with them.

Thanks a lot Tim. I agree with every word you said. You were obviously paying attention and you read me very well.