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View Full Version : Seeking Advice: Back to Back to Back to Back


BasicPatrick
07-03-2012, 04:39 PM
We are going to cook Troy (NY), then Wakefield (RI), then Harpoon (VT) and finally Fryeburg (ME). all in a row.

If any of the wise old competition vets or even not so wise irresponsible youth care to share any tips or advice for a first timer going back to back (never mind 4 in a row); I am all ears.

Thanks in advance.

The_Kapn
07-03-2012, 04:45 PM
In 2009 we did 5 of 6 weekends in the fall.

Rest and sleep anytime and anywhere you can :grin:
Shop smartly and stock up as best you can predict.

For us, the "fun" was gone about week 3 or 4.

But, others do it all the time---my hat is off to them.

TIM

Rub
07-03-2012, 04:58 PM
Do it all the time solo. Don't get sucked in to partying every weekend, buy supplies in bulk, keep things clean as you go. No biggie :wink:

Alexa RnQ
07-03-2012, 05:26 PM
I think our longest stint was 7 weeks out of 9.
You know how you have a cook schedule and checklist? Well, have a prep schedule and checklist too, and stick to it.
The first time you think you're going to die, the second you KNOW you're going to die, by the third week you're getting into the swing of it and after the fourth you've got your rhythm and you get screwed up if you stay home!

AZScott
07-03-2012, 05:31 PM
We've only had one run with about 4 contests in a row. I would keep one bin for all the items that are consumable and immediately replace them when you get back. Make sauces and rubs in bulk for all the contests before your first one. There isn't much to do about trimming meat but it's amazing how quickly you can trim your meats after doing it for 3 weeks in a row. I found the 3rd and 4th contest were easy compared to the first two. Like Alexa said, you fall into a rhythm.

sweetracks
07-03-2012, 05:36 PM
We do back to backs regularly now. As long as you are organized and don't plan on partying the whole time you will be fine. Keep all your stuff as clean as possible to minimize the work you have to do when you get home. Rest all day Sunday. I did 4 full competition cooks (full practice cook overnight, catered competition spread, and then two comps) in a row and thought I would be ready for a weekend off. Truth be told I felt lost that first weekend without cooking.

big brother smoke
07-03-2012, 06:02 PM
Just did 4 in 20 odd days. Keep hydrated properly, organized and take copius notes. If you are going to kill yourself take advantage of the qualitative research that can be done.

djqualls
07-04-2012, 12:01 AM
Patrick,

We just came off of a 5 week in a row run. Here is the results.
Memphis 50 Teams 15th overall
Mayetta, KS 47 Teams 35th Overall
Chandler, OK 32 Teams 11th Overall
Okemah, OK 21 Teams 8th Overall
Girard, KS 28 Teams 7th Overall

All of these contests has had multi GC Teams and plenty of this years top 10 TOY Teams there competing .

I have a Checklist copied from Diva's Website and modified to fit what I Need to Have.
I prep and pack my sauces, injections, and rubs early in the week to have it done.
I buy and Trim my meet early in the week and VacNSeal to keep it fresh so I'm not rushed on Friday after I'm there.
I visit and shoot the Breeze until about 7-8 PM and then I go to my rig and concentrate.
I have a timeline for cooking and checking etc that I tweak every week in advance if I'm tweaking my cooks. and Adjust onsite if Weather dictates.
I get the cookers loaded and my rig serviced and ready on Thursday and plan on arriving as early Friday as I can to be setup and not rushed and stressed.

If you look at week 2 you will see I essentially bombed. I cooked the same quality and method as the first but I didn't feel good, (Disc in Back is Jacked) and I didn't pay attention to the lack of Humidity and everything cooked faster and dryer than It should have and I didn't pay attention and embarrassed myself in front of teams that I really admire and respect.

If you see me at a comp with my iPad its because I'm going over my notes and re-reading something on the web that I think Helps me.

After that you can see we started to climb because I planned, Rested, and Paid attention to the process in real time.
Of Course, don't forget that consistant quality of raw meats are also a must.

I'm going long but I've had some great mentors, Butcher, Cancer Sucks Chicago, Team Enoserve, Little Pig Town, JP Custom Smoke, Grauers Hog Wash, Quau, and Hogs on the Sauce, whom I have enjoyed some good visits with and they all have been upfront when I asked questions or advice. I read and search topics on this forum daily as well.

We're having a great time for this being our first year to do this with any seriousness. The most comps we did previously were two last year and one a year the previous two years before (Local Contest).
I called KCBS and after 10 Comps this year we are ranked 123rd in a field of 3,600
teams according to KCBS. What I just outlined is the only thing I can attribute to our meager success.

I know we are friends on Facebook so you know I'm being truthful about this because of my FB Posts.

Good Luck.

Balls Casten
07-04-2012, 10:07 AM
We keep a shopping list on the wall so as you run out/short of things it goes on the list. Saves taking inventory later.

BasicPatrick
07-04-2012, 10:26 AM
We keep a shopping list on the wall so as you run out/short of things it goes on the list. Saves taking inventory later.

My wife is laughing as I read this to her. She runs the inside of our motorhome and before that the truck camper. We ALWAYS have a notepad and a running list of what we run out of or need. That notepad's duties now include the BBQ trailer.

BasicPatrick
07-04-2012, 10:38 AM
Thanks to all and please keep the comments coming. I am sure other brothers will read this in the future.

Rich Parker
07-04-2012, 11:45 AM
Last year I did 5 in a row by myself and even though by the last one i was ready to quit it was a blast. Stick with your schedule and you will be fine.

You will probably score better cooking every weekend too because you will be in the groove. I would do it again if the wife would allow it. :becky:

INmitch
07-04-2012, 12:37 PM
Repetition. If you come by my cook site it looks like there's crap laying everywhere.:crazy: But if you by the next week or next month all that crap will be in the same exact place. I had to back off the comps this year. Only about one a month. It's got me all screwed up! Like others have said, you get in a groove and your scores will show it.

CBQ
07-04-2012, 12:59 PM
We are going to cook Troy (NY), then Wakefield (RI), then Harpoon (VT) and finally Fryeburg (ME). all in a row.

We are judging Troy, then cooking the same events you are, and then adding on Eliot, ME and the Medford, NY on the end.

I think you will find it's not as bad as it sounds. Doing back-to-back I find is EASIER. You get into a regular routine. I am now thinking I should have cooked Troy or Lake Placid instead of having 3 weeks off between Old Orchard and Wakefield.

Cook the contest, clean the smoker, refresh the consumables, off to the next one.

Ron_L
07-04-2012, 01:06 PM
You'll get into a rhythm. For whatever reason late August and September are stacked with competitions around here and we do 6 in a row each year. I have a schedule that I follow each week and stick to it.

jbrink01
07-04-2012, 05:52 PM
Great advice above. We did a run of 7 straight last fall, culminating in the American Royal. If you can buy it ahead, do so. Stock your trailer with everything except the perishables and stick to your schedules as previously mentioned. When your done, you'll wake up at home at 5:30 that first empty Saturday and swear something is wrong.

ssbbqguy
07-04-2012, 09:16 PM
When I think of back to back I think of the latest trend of multiple contests in the same weekend. Our buddy Moe with Ponderosa BBQ has done many this year, along with many others nationwide. I believe he's been on a great run placing very well in all that I've read about. Several did it this past weekend in the midwest.My point is don't get stressed over every week. The second and third will have you in tune if you listen to the advice given. Good luck and notes, home prep. and buying ahead helped me the most. Steve.

Scottie
07-05-2012, 09:47 AM
We keep a shopping list on the wall so as you run out/short of things it goes on the list. Saves taking inventory later.


Like Rub said, I do it all solo. Buy in bulk, including parsley. I also send myself an email when i run out or going to run out of something when i am at a contest. When i need to add to my list, I reply all in my email. Trim everything ahead of time. Stay on top of things.

Lastly, I've heard rumors that if you bring a certain team from Chicago fresh seafood to a contest, you get extra special mojo

Podge
07-05-2012, 09:55 AM
Repetition. If you come by my cook site it looks like there's crap laying everywhere.:crazy: But if you by the next week or next month all that crap will be in the same exact place. I had to back off the comps this year. Only about one a month. It's got me all screwed up! Like others have said, you get in a groove and your scores will show it.


yup, you're right.. even down to the location of the almost empty handle of Vodka !:becky:

Rich Parker
07-05-2012, 09:56 AM
Like Rub said, I do it all solo. Buy in bulk, including parsley. I also send myself an email when i run out or going to run out of something when i am at a contest. When i need to add to my list, I reply all in my email. Trim everything ahead of time. Stay on top of things.

Lastly, I've heard rumors that if you bring a certain team from Chicago fresh seafood to a contest, you get extra special mojo

Never thought of the email but I do send myself texts such as pick up more half pans or coffee...speaking of coffee I need to find Ron.

Balls Casten
07-05-2012, 11:15 AM
Like Rub said, I do it all solo. Buy in bulk, including parsley. I also send myself an email when i run out or going to run out of something when i am at a contest. When i need to add to my list, I reply all in my email. Trim everything ahead of time. Stay on top of things.

Lastly, I've heard rumors that if you bring a certain team from Chicago fresh seafood to a contest, you get extra special mojo

Hadnt thought of that.
I use bigoven.com for my reciepes and it has a shopping list function that would work well like that. (you can add to your shopping list from your phone, computer, Ipad) thinking.... thinking ...

ibrisky
07-05-2012, 03:01 PM
We just finished a 6 week run. Being our first year of competing, it has been a great ride but time for a break. I find myself being very much a creature of habit during each week (hell, I even wear the same clothes each week Friday & Sat of a comp) and follow much of the same advice that has already been shared.. Organization has been key for me/us.

Starting in Sept, we'll have an 11 week run to end the season, should be interesting!

Florida Farmer
07-05-2012, 03:21 PM
I have done 12 weekends in a row before. Just like Rub and Scottie I'm also a one man show. Just try to plan ahead on purchases and making injections etc. After about the 7th or 8th weekend you'll pretty much turn into a machine. I was glad when it was over with!

Big Ugly's BBQ
07-05-2012, 05:01 PM
We just got done a 9 week run, and gearing up for another 10-12 week go. Take it one week at a time, if it gets to be a problem, dont go. I know that sounds cheesy, but when it quits being fun, its not worth it anymore.

We have a specific plan we follow, we pack the trailer the same way during clean-up, so when we arrive at the new site we are ready to go. When we set up the site, we do it the same way everytime. That takes away the "where the fark did we put something"......

Have a timeline, and stick to it. Ours starts on Monday, and runs thru clean-up. Its good to socialize, and I highly recommend it, but when its time to work, its time to work, no BS.

ask questions, there are alot of good people here on the boards, and they have a ton of information...........

Let us know how ya do!!!

Big Ugly's BBQ
07-05-2012, 05:03 PM
Lastly, I've heard rumors that if you bring a certain team from Chicago fresh seafood to a contest, you get extra special mojo

Really?? I wonder where that started..............................:becky:

Scottie
07-05-2012, 05:11 PM
Never thought of the email but I do send myself texts such as pick up more half pans or coffee...speaking of coffee I need to find Ron.



Oh you missed a good batch.... :-P

Scottie
07-05-2012, 05:13 PM
Really?? I wonder where that started..............................:becky:

Come to think of it... are you boys coming? I think that is the last time you didn't win. Tell Eric to bring up a few bushels! :razz:

ique
07-05-2012, 05:25 PM
I cooked 6 in 5 weekends last summer. One bit of advice would be dont do it! ;)

Otherwise have a cooler in your car at all times and never say, I can get that later

BasicPatrick
07-05-2012, 08:10 PM
Lastly, I've heard rumors that if you bring a certain team from Chicago fresh seafood to a contest, you get extra special mojo

Scottie there is already a dozen "stuffies" wrapped in foil and frozen so you should make sure you have room in the rv freezer for your return trip.

We will heat up a bunch on probably Saturday evening for our fellow cook's to enjoy

BasicPatrick
07-05-2012, 08:12 PM
I cooked 6 in 5 weekends last summer. One bit of advice would be dont do it! ;)


WOW...Thanks for the support there pal. In a related note to your cooler comment...no brisket hunting for this run...Best Buy delivers the new basement fridge tomorrow and a few hours later Fed Ex man better have a couple large boxes.

Smokin Mike
07-05-2012, 10:55 PM
how about back to back on the same freaking weekend? Insane to me.

Dan - 3eyzbbq
07-06-2012, 09:53 AM
Lastly, I've heard rumors that if you bring a certain team from Chicago fresh seafood to a contest, you get extra special mojo

That misfired. Had a guy with some huge hat win instead. Have to work on that mojo!

Scottie
07-06-2012, 10:00 AM
Actually.... the last 2 contest that you didn't win... OK, I won't say it...:razz: