View Full Version : Decisions decisions...

07-09-2012, 09:03 PM
Help a brother out...

My first ever competition I entered as a backyard cook and subsequently managed to somehow win the whole thing is back next month at Amelia Island Florida, and I am trying to decide if I should enter the pro leagues or stay amateur.

I'm truly conflicted on this decision. I am confident in 3 of the four categories, but rarely cook chicken. I also will mostly be a one man show. I would definitely have a turn-in runner, but as far as trusting any of the serious prep or cooking to anyone else that ain't happening right now.

What was the impetus/how did you know when it was time to move from backyard to the big leagues?

Help a brother decide!

07-09-2012, 09:05 PM
We never did backyard.... Jumped in head first. Backyard didn't pay & if I'm gonna camp out all weekend there better be a chance (even if it's slim) of winning some $!

07-09-2012, 09:08 PM
I can dig that response, but for me it definitely isn't about the money. Should that affect my decision?

Sure, I'd love to recoup some of my expenses, and maybe even more, but it really is an entirely secondary consideration for me versus the enjoyment of the competition itself.

Red Valley BBQ
07-09-2012, 09:56 PM
I guess it just depends on your definition of enjoyment. If hanging out for two days with some of the best people on the planet is enjoyable, then jump in. If seeing how you stack up against "the pros" is enjoyable, then jump in. If the challenge of trying to figure out what went wrong with your cook and the process of attemping to fix it is enjoyable, then jump in.

You'll never know if it is enjoyable unless you give it a try at least once.

Jump in, the water is just fine.

07-10-2012, 12:08 AM
I did two backyard comps before jumping in to the pro side.

I personally enjoy it more than I did the backyard.

07-10-2012, 03:42 AM
I say jump in with both feet first. You'll do fine and will make a bunch of good friends. Just go for it dude.

New Pal Frank
07-10-2012, 05:35 AM
Jump. You will have other teams falling all over themselves wanting to help you in any way they can BBQ folks are the greatest people around.:clap:

Jason TQ
07-10-2012, 07:25 AM
I started out in backyard last year then went back and forth a few times, mostly because some events didn't have backyard. The cost was much less to get experience of the routine which initially was all I wanted. We're doing all pro now because it got to the point where I wanted to see where I stood against the best teams in the area and work on making my food great.

The judging is less consistent in backyard which is something I've heard a lot of people say and I believe I have experienced myself.

So I guess a good question is what do you want to get out of Competition BBQ? Doesn't really matter what I/we get out of it if that isn't what you want to get out of it. You said making $$ isn't your main consideration. If it is just the enjoyment of being there and the experience of cooking at a competition then I'd say stay in backyard because you can do it for about half the price and do more of them. You can still meet all the great people if you are a backyard team. It is not like there are signs saying "Backyard Team are Not to Mingle and Make Friends with Pro" :razz:.

If "enjoyment of the competition itself" means you are extremely competitive as many/most of the guys are here and want to see how your food stacks up with the pro division then give the pros a whirl. So let us know what you want out of comp bbq :grin:.

07-10-2012, 08:18 AM
When I started competing there was no backyard. Had one local contest and next closest was 300 miles. First contest I get there and my neighbor is the famous Dr. BBQ. Holy crap I think. Here's a guy that's a real big name I've been following on the Internet. Turns out he puts his pants on one leg at a time. A couple of years later I'm cooking against Trigg. He took 3rd in ribs and pork. I took 2nd in both. Cooking backyard you'll never get that thrill. I guess what I'm saying is if you're serious about competition there's only 1 division to consider. If you're out to party and just have fun with friends maybe stay in backyard.

I'm thinking about doing Amelia this year. If so I hope to see you competing against me. I also cook solo with a runner. There are a few big names already signed up so should give you a good idea of your product vs. others.

07-10-2012, 09:22 AM
Thanks for all the input. I am definitely a competitive guy. I think one of the other things entering into my decision process is how often I'd be able to compete, but I guess that doesn't really matter either.

So what if you only did one or two comps a year for a while. I'm a pretty busy guy with work and other commitments.

Thanks again for the thoughts on the subject.

Jason TQ
07-10-2012, 09:29 AM
If you are only doing 1 or 2 a year then I don't think it matters either way. Too few competitions to analyze :becky:.

Dan - 3eyzbbq
07-10-2012, 09:32 AM
No decision (that I see). Go for the KCBS GC.

07-10-2012, 10:07 AM
If you stay in the backyard your bragging rights are "it was only the backyard division". If you are in the big game then you get all the bragging rights that come with that. I say go for it. keith

Candy Sue
07-10-2012, 10:22 AM
Jump on in! You'll find that just about anybody will help. I'm a solo cook and I still haven't figured out chicken and ribs, so you're one ahead of me! I did pretty well at Amelia Island last year, 3 top 10 calls and 6th overall. Really wasn't planning on going this year, but then I got the entry at the KCBS banquet. It's a sign! All goes well, I'll see you in August. Stop by and visit!

07-10-2012, 10:31 AM
"Just Do It" :grin:


07-10-2012, 10:59 AM
Watsamatter Jason.....you CHICkEN?

07-10-2012, 12:21 PM
Watsamatter Jason.....you CHICkEN?

That was a good one. :-P

07-10-2012, 12:32 PM
I say jump in with both feet first. You'll do fine and will make a bunch of good friends. Just go for it dude.

Agree with this.

07-10-2012, 12:33 PM
I'm lucky if I cook 4 comps a year, but have never done backyard. Just went ahead and jumped in head first. Find someone who can help out with the overnight stuff, and you'll be good to go.

07-10-2012, 02:34 PM
In the Northwest, we don't have that many "backyard" competitions, so I jumped in and swam! Nothing will help you up your game more than challenging yourself to cook on the "pro" side. To be honest, I would not consider myself a "pro," unless I made my living at BBQing. For the most part we are all hard working folks up here with jobs, kids, and spouses, and just happen to share a passion for BBQing.
I'm a 50yo girl with a BBQ trailer and I cook by myself, so you should have no problem. Time to do a gut check and just do it - as I tell people all the time, you know more than you think you know. Quit wallowing around in the backyard of self doubt and get in the front yard with the rest of us. You can do it!

Carnivorous Endeavors BBQ
07-10-2012, 03:05 PM
Go for it. You've already proven that you can win Backyard. Take it to the next level and enjoy the experience. My first KCBS was a Sam's Club event, totally screwed up my ribs and pork. However, I did get my first top 10 call in chicken (Tied for 6th but got 7th on the tie-breaker), tied for 10th in brisket and lost the tie-breaker for 11th and most memorable of all...got my first DAL (pork). All that in my first KCBS comp with just my wife and I. It was a lot of work but a real blast hearing our team get called amongst some extremely good teams. It was a day that showed me with practice and some good luck we could be competitive with the Pro teams...well at least with chicken and brisket...ha ha...still working on those ribs:confused:

07-10-2012, 07:55 PM
Never did backyard, got a call for ribs 1st comp and almost passed out. Go for it.
We started with 4 comps 1st year, this year 11 on the schedule so far, its addicting