View Full Version : Team Size......how many and why?

07-19-2012, 05:40 PM
There are 2 people on our team, Jimmy and I. Jimmy's fiance (Lisa) is also there with us at each comp, she puts together boxes, helps touch up parsley at turn in times and runs the boxes for us. She also does desserts, but other than that it's pretty much just Jimmy and I doing the work.

We know teams that are as few as one person and as many as 5 or 6 and everything in between. Granted, Jimmy and I are both big boys, so we fill up a comp tent quite well, but we were thinking that it would tend to get pretty crowded in camp with more than 2 of us. We were just talking about this at last weekend's comp and wondering how larger teams stay busy and work without getting in each other's way. We have a system. We don't get in crisis mode. Our process is very streamlined and although we're busy, we're rarely EVER freaking out or pushing the clock. We almost always make the first turn-in window and we typically have 10 minute breaks between turn-ins so we were just wondering why and how large teams get it done or need that many people. Again....not that there's a right way or a wrong way at all, just haven't experienced it.

Just as a point of interest, I thought I'd pose the questions.....

If you're interested in explaining, are duties split up between team members? Are team members in such large numbers so that there's a rotating schedule? I'm assuming there still has to be one or maybe two team captains (where the buck stops)? Do you do it to help with expenses by sharing costs? If there are larger teams that have different people at different comps (rotating schedule) how do you keep consistency?

On the flip side, if you prefer to or just have a smaller team and like the way that works (as we do), tell me why. Some friends that we have cook alone or only with their wives. Some wives are more involved than others, but it seems to work for that team. Do these folks like less people in camp? Do you prefer to go it alone? Does it make it harder to deal with costs?

Thanks in advance!

Smokenstein & monster crew
07-19-2012, 05:47 PM
4, family style for us
me, wife , 2 kids

07-19-2012, 05:48 PM
We have five team members. All have busy lives and we do a dozen shows a year, so having a deep bench is essential since just about everyone has to miss a few. Four of our guys are capable of cooking a show solo if necessary. Three have trucks that can pull the comp trailer.

When we're all together each person has tasks they specialize in, when we're short a man or two we have the depth to pick up the slack. It took several years to find the right mix of guys to make it work though - you can't have a large team with any big egos or caustic personalities on the roster.

rooftop bbq
07-19-2012, 05:59 PM
we have 5 guys. all 5 of us do prep work. 2 of us do turns and focus during crunch time. 2 focus and peoples choice meats and making some money back and 1 is our spokesman and talks to the crowd. its a good system and makes it easier during clean up with that many people

Pappy Q
07-19-2012, 06:00 PM
Just me and the wife. She builds the boxes before turn in and at turn in. I do everything else. Next contest I'll be solo as she can't make it. It works for us as I think the more people involved, the more things go wrong. This way when something goes wrong, it's nobody's fault but mine.

07-19-2012, 06:17 PM
Just me flying solo for a couple years, once the baby is older, it will be a family thing. Prior to the baby, it was me, my wife, and the dog. Never heard any complaints from the dog, she always thought my food was great. A 1 person team works for me fine, I've got my process streamlined, and having the trailer makes setting up and tearing down easy. I've got nobody to argue with but myself, and in the end we always end up doing it my way.

07-19-2012, 06:26 PM
Just me and the wife. She builds the boxes before turn in and I do them at turn in. I do everything else. It works for us as I think the more people involved, the more things go wrong. This way when something goes wrong, it's nobody's fault but mine.

(stole yours Tom and just modified it a bit)

07-19-2012, 07:52 PM
Wampus, you have seen us at comps. I do all the work and the other 2 get in my way:))

Lake Dogs
07-19-2012, 08:06 PM
KCBS and other similar comps there are just 2 of us plus my wife who is usually our runner; I've done it by myself a few times also (with wife runner) and did fairly well. Larger comps that are much more involved there are 4 of us and we stay very busy; could use a 5th or even 6th person to help split up duties. Even with just 4 of us we dont do whole hog. Could easily have that 6th and possibly a 7th person if doing it all...
Larger I usually divide up cooking between pork and ribs, 3rd guy primarily fire/smoker, 4th primarily clean-up (keeping sight spotless). We then divide up turn-in and on-site with 1 greeter who then shows smoker, 1 presenter, and the 2 others prep the next meat and prepare for the chinese-fire-drill that is bussing the table (with the presenter), re-setup, and the greeter moves the next meat to the presentation smoker. If done correctly we're like a nascar pit crew and the whole thing can be done in less than 1 minute.

07-19-2012, 08:29 PM
Four of us...I prep the cold meat (rubs etc) and the finnished products (carving, slicing, burn/grill marks, saucing), one man responsible for the fire (coals, chimneys, overnight fires for those 14-16 hour smokes), one is Mr. Clean for cutting boards, tongs, knives, hott water, etc and a crew chief who can do it all if one goes down and makes sure it all gets done! The lovely ladies in our lives help me with getting boxes ready (lettuce, parsley and such).... A gopher or "expeditier" is helpfull and usually falls on one of our teenagers. We can manage with just a couple of us but we value most the time with our friends and an overall good time with people who share our interests.

big brother smoke
07-19-2012, 08:44 PM
It is three of us: Me, myself and I, and we love it.
There is no one to disagree with but, me, sometimes myself and I always listen http://www.cbbqa.org/forum/public/style_emoticons/default/dirol.gif

07-19-2012, 08:51 PM
Four of us. We all have our duties. Shawn takes care of keeping smokers up to temp and flavor wood smoking. Bob is an all purpose guy, he is a neat freak so he cleans and makes sure I get an arse chewing for being sloppy. He's also our parsley guy. Mike is the timekeeper and box runner. He is the guy that makes sure we get up from our naps to do what we do. I simply trim meats, season and box the meats, yet they refer to me as the "head" cook. My team could easily do without me, but I'd never make it without them.

Bourbon Barrel BBQ
07-19-2012, 08:52 PM
2 regulars and we pick up a 3rd or 4th depending on how close to home the contest is. We manage fine with 2 but a 3rd makes packing up the trailer at the end of the weekend so much nicer.

07-19-2012, 09:06 PM
Myself: head cook, ribs & chicken
Sam: butts & brisket

We find someone to run stuff & clean up... It's generally just 3 people for us, except at mbns... That's a 4-5 person show

07-20-2012, 05:48 AM
We started with just me and my wife. We quickly grew to 7 because our friends really thought what we were doing was cool. Everyone had a responsibility though. We had a dishwasher, trash man, box runner and just whatever. We even had one that was dubbed our "lucky charm". He did nothing more than drink and predict how our boxes would score. The second year we were down to 5. My wife and I, another couple and another individual. This worked pretty well. Some of the others would come when they could just to hang out. Now we are down to just the two couples. Works about as smooth as ever. My buddy and I do all the cooking and our wives put the boxes together (my wife is trimming and seasoning the ribs now). Since we have reduced down we have done better because as the cliche goes, "too many cooks...". We have even taken a vote not to ever take on anymore in the future. We still have friends and family hang out but that is it. Oh, our lucky charm still gets a call after turn in for his predictions. He is pretty close most of the time. This past weekend he nailed pork and brisket placement and was within 1 of chicken.
More people = a greater chance for drama. I don't need drama at a comp!

Smokin Hoggz
07-20-2012, 06:30 AM
We started out with three, Myself, My Wife and one of my best Friends. I am the pit boss and do all cooking and make all the executive decisions, my wife does the boxes, helps me first thing in the morning on the day of turn-ins(foiling/moving meat around) and helps to keep us organized and my buddy helps with prep/cooking and finishing touches on turn in boxes plus running boxes. We have added a forth person(my buddies cousin) he really wanted to learn about cooking BBQ, so he helps with set up/break down, dishes, peoples choice and he now runs boxes. We all have/play important rolls on the team and I think we have a pretty good system/timeline that runs pretty smoothly and that helps if something goes wrong, which usually happens(ie. butts finishing too early, brisket won't cook, smokers not at temp, etc.)

07-20-2012, 07:12 AM
We have a main core of 4. Myself, wife, dad, and mom. Over 4 years everyone has settled into their roles and we have started "cross training" a bit to alleviate some of my duties. I am the pitmaster and do 80-90% of the cooking related work including all rub and injection making, all trimming of meats, and the actual cooking. My dad stays up with me over night and keeps a close eye on the temps, the wife takes care of turn in boxes, my mom keeps dishes clean and runs boxes. We all pitch in on set up and when it comes to tear down, I get to sit in my zero-gravity chair and enjoy a beer or quick nap while the rest of team takes care of the site. It seems to be working pretty well for us.

Kit R
07-20-2012, 07:34 AM
Two person husband-wife team. I do all the prep and cook and my wife does boxes, tasting and selection of what goes in the boxes. I like having ultimate responsibility for the outcome, be it good or bad. Also, I find that when we do have visitors it impacts my ability to focus on prep. If I have a morning and afternoon of quiet time with minimal distractions I can get everything done and I'm able to relax the rest of the evening before cooking begins. This really has more to do with my personality than anything else, as I'm a Myers-Briggs ISTJ. And I bet that is the first time personality survey has been brought up on the Brethren site.........

07-20-2012, 08:27 AM
And I bet that is the first time personality survey has been brought up on the Brethren site.........

Nah, it's been well known and documented that I am an ashhole.......:becky:

I'm solo except for the few times a year I can get Andy or Sled to put up with me. :rockon: I have been known to bribe people to do my boxes for me and I usually manage to get an extra person from one of the other teams or a friend of the organizer to help run boxes. Other than that my wife comes to a couple of contests and helps wherever she can but it's really not her thing

07-20-2012, 08:33 AM
Husband a wife team here. BBQ is something we enjoy doing together..... though she crabs when I wake her to help at 4-5 in the morning.... and again at 7 :>)

Cast Iron Chef
07-20-2012, 09:41 AM
Officially 4. Me, my wife, my 17 year old son and a friend of ours who makes it most of the time. I do all the food prep and cook. My wife builds and fills the boxes. My son and friend are the pit bitches and taste testers.

Actually props to my son who works his butt off loading, unloading, setting up, taking down, loading and unloading again. Plus moving my pits from the back to the garage for loading. May have to do a comp this fall just me and the wife as he will be in football. My old tired body will miss him dearly.

early mornin' smokin'
07-20-2012, 09:47 AM
we're a 3 man group. I pay all the expenses, entrance fees, rubs, sauce, we're sponsored for our meat and charcoal. I own all the grills. Sometimes i think having just a 2 man team would be better, but my guys all work well together. We only do 2 a year, so it's more about going out, camping out, cooking our arse's off and hopefully winning something. Im the one that cooks all year, basically every weekend practicing. So i know what works, and they have their input. If we win, i cover anything I've laid out this year expense wise. And if theres anything left over we all go out to a nice steak dinner we didn't have to cook. If we ever won big, i'd cover my expenses and invest in a more versatile comp friendly cooker(thinking FEC) but other than that. 3 men work fine for us. Our lady's are usually there, but more for moral support and beverage suppliers

Candy Sue
07-20-2012, 10:06 AM
Some might say I don't play well with others, others that I'm a bossy witch, probably both are right. I have really enjoyed the contests this year where I've had help (5 out of 9), but the ground rules and responsibilities are clear to all players way before the event.

07-20-2012, 11:08 AM
Just me. I'm far too much of a pain in the arse to have a full time partner. Although Kap'n puts up with me now and then.

When I was married, she came out to one competition took a look around and said, "Yep, this is pretty much what I thought", and left. Hasn't been to one since.


07-20-2012, 11:16 AM
Jr. and I he makes the boxes does the running and is quality control. I do everything else. Would be nice to have a couple extra teammates for set-up and clean up.

07-20-2012, 12:08 PM
We usually have a minimum of 6 people. I'm in charge of comp meats and Doug is in charge of PC meats. Mike is in charge of actual PC. One A-cook for comp (and making boxes) and one A-cook for PC.

At large events - we're more of a PC team since we are very average at comp meats - we have up to 20 people but we typically sling over 1000 samples in 4 hours.

After comp meats are all turned in, I become the (as Andy puts it) the official greeter. I use a megaphone. And a cocktail. :cool:

07-20-2012, 03:15 PM
We have 3 core members. Myself and my teammates John and his wife Maria. We have 3 other members that come when they can. I cook and prep everything but the brisket, that's Johns. Maria does the boxes. Whoever else comes does boxes and is an extra set of hands/time keeper. Works pretty well. We've never had all of our team together at one time, that might be too many people.

07-20-2012, 05:55 PM
When I was married, she came out to one competition took a look around and said, "Yep, this is pretty much what I thought", and left. Hasn't been to one since.

Yeah, I had one of those too, brother. Life is much easier now that she's gone!

Rooter-Tooter BBQ
07-20-2012, 11:48 PM
We have 3 on our team. At comps I pretty much handle it all except a few areas in prep and clean up. We handle our team sort of different. I am the comp guy, the other team member is the caterer, he handles all catering, and the third guy is our marketing guy, he tries to get us some local sponsors and to drink beer, oh yeah, he preps chicken, YUCK. It all works out since i love the comp stuff and the other guys like the catering and community outreach.

07-21-2012, 12:15 AM
My wife and I are the team. Recently, I invited a friend with a successful but currently dormant team, to cook and event with us. He handled his two specialities and I did mine. I was so very pleased at the relief. Free time. Time to actually sit down and take a break. Time to pay attention to the cooking meats to the degree I always wanted to. With some refinement I would enjoy operating that way but I think more interaction and more of a team approach to each meat would be more enjoyable and productive. I would give up some of the relaxation time for more involvement with all the meats. It's all about producing the best meats. My wife, is a great partner but since she only eats the beef, I'm screwed in that department. Having a teammate who actually eats/tastes all four meats would be most helpful in terms of producing the best. But I don't know anyone who makes better boxes than she does - NOBODY and my attitude is simple. As long as we allow garnished boxes we don't win without good appearance scores. She also does a ton of work throughout the weekend. I think the 3-person mix seems about perfect to me but it's really a matter of matching up the right 3 people. As for now, I'll stick with my wife - always my number one choice!

07-21-2012, 08:20 AM
We have 3 - me, my wife and a good friend. (Oh, and our official greeter. Sonia the dog sits under the table and distracts people before they distract us..) My wife makes boxes and helps with sampling, our friend makes the rubs/sauces (after I settle out a recipe) and pretty much runs the camp overnight. I do the majority of the actual cooking (all the rubbing, foiling, etc etc.) For prep, they do chicken prep ahead of time, but I do the rest of the trimming and all the meat selection. After Nicole goes to bed (4-5am) my wife gets up and does the boxes, makes coffee, etc. They split "nurse duties" as well - washing tools, fetching boards/tools/seasonings, holding trays, etc.

We picked Nicole because she is the only person who can cook with us at home in our tiny kitchen without being in the way. :grin: Compared to that, a 9x9 competition tent is HUGE (and our 10x20 is luxurious.)

We could probably do 2, but it is really helpful to have 3 - we always have 2 people awake (or mostly awake) to keep an eye on things. Loading in and out is tons easier as well - half the time I'm blown out after turn-ins, so they do the packing and then I rouse myself to shift the heavy stuff and make sure the trailer isn't off balance. (I also do all the driving.)

We occasionally have gophers who come to hang out and see how it works, but not often.

From talking to people, it seems like new teams tend to start with 5-7 and quickly drop to 1-2. (And a lot of teams seem to split meats between team members - I don't understand it, but..)

Oh, and I pay all the expenses. We've discussed what to do with winnings (how much to the "team fund" and how much to repay expenses) but it hasn't come up yet. :icon_blush:

Oh, and I do all the score tracking and stuff. (In fact, we're having a team meeting this weekend to look at some interesting stats I pulled out of our scores and do some test cooks. Its time to punch chicken in the face.) Most of the practices/test cooks are all 3 of us, plus guests, but not always.

JD McGee
07-21-2012, 09:26 AM
We are a husband and wife crew of two. I do the cookin' according to the boss's orders...:becky:

07-21-2012, 10:00 AM
The wife and I, and occasionally my brother for tech support, camp setup, lights, genny, etc..

My wife is the queen of the turn in box, meticulous to almost annoyance!

But our appearance scores are solid.

Now if I could only cook a brisket.

We'll see in Bel Air.

07-21-2012, 10:09 AM
We are a 3 man crew. Two of us are really the prepers, cooks and mess with flavors etc, the third is our tie break tester, does all the dishes, helps with boxes, drinks our beer, etc.