View Full Version : Trail run for our first comp

08-08-2012, 08:14 PM
Ok so, the wife and me did our trial run cooking for a comp last Sunday.

First off, for all those who do this and make it look easy, MY HATS OFF TO YOU!!!!

I gotta say, I thought that doing a trail run would be easy. For the most part, we had all our cooking times & temps down and thought it would be easy.

Don’t know what went wrong. I think I looked like 3 monkeys trying to screw a football. Wifey said I was over thinking everything. Time lines went to heck in a hand-bag, stuff was cotton-mouth dry, etc, etc, etc.....

And, making the boxes??? WTF??!!! Not as easy as we thought…..

We (I) got more work to do for the comps coming up.

Anyways, here are some pics. Any and all feedback is welcome. Brisket was dry as a bone! Pork, again, dry! Ribs, terrible in my opinion. Chicken not bad.





Also, what the heck is with the white bone ends on these ribs? Any ideas or thought? I bought these pre-cut. BTW, never, NEVER EVER buy St. Louis ribs. Always, cut your own. Just my thoughts.



08-08-2012, 08:44 PM
Hey, where did you get that wire rack? What's it called? I always see these in comp cooking pics, but have never seen one in the stores...

08-08-2012, 08:49 PM
Ps, maybe try cooking to tenderness at a higher temp, so you get there without dehydrating your meat before it's done. First three look pretty dried out and overcooked, maybe some sauce before they hit the box would help

Jason TQ
08-08-2012, 09:15 PM
Could you maybe just give a little more info on cooking time/temps and what temps you pulled the brisket/butts off? Might help us to give tips and info on why it was dry.

That being said I think all of your box arrangements are really good. Yes they look dry, but just how the meat is arranged is nice. I would say try and build the parsley boxes up a little. I use roughly chopped up lettuce as a base then put parsley on top of that.

Your pork need sauce of some kind. Even if dry it can help give back some moisture and help with appearance. Your ribs look good, but look like they need sauce. The chicken is sitting down a little in the parsley. Try and get it on top. Watch how you sauce the chicken it is a uneven in places.

08-08-2012, 09:31 PM
The color on the chicken balls looks good. I haven't bought into muffin pan chicken yet, but they look good. 9 by me

I like the pork arrangement too. Perhaps a pile of burnt ends instead of just six. But you look like you are off to a good start

08-08-2012, 09:48 PM
I'd say put a prettier piece of the money muscle up front...

Sauce ur burnt ends maybe...

And what everyone else said

08-08-2012, 09:49 PM
Hey, where did you get that wire rack? What's it called? I always see these in comp cooking pics, but have never seen one in the stores...


You can get them usually on Amazon. I use them all the time, fits the bottom of a full size pan perfectly, handles down, to keep your meat out of the juices.

New Pal Frank
08-09-2012, 05:04 AM
Hey, where did you get that wire rack? What's it called? I always see these in comp cooking pics, but have never seen one in the stores...

Wifey gets ours a Wally World where the baking pans are.
I think they are called cooling racks. The fit in a full size sheet pan.
I use them to put my chicken on when they come out of the cooker sauced. Also use them when applying rub.

08-09-2012, 07:06 AM
Put the burnt ends at the back. That way the slices display better leaning up more.

Fill the box! 8 - 10 slices of brisket. With chicken that small 9 pieces would fit.

Try beef stock mixed with sauce to hydrate the brisket. Dip each slice before putting in box. Pulled pork, toss with a little juice from pulling. Put butts in foil pan to pull and catch all the juice. If wrapping while cooking use some of that liquid after defating. Try spritzing in the box with water, salt and sugar solution or a water honey mix.

Last piece af advice, practice, practice, practice.

08-09-2012, 07:16 AM
Try cooking up some comp meat and then use it to practice box building. Don't worry about whether it gets cold or dry as you're not gonna eat it anyway. Build a box, critique it, then pull it apart and fix what you didn't like. Critique it again, re-build it again.

Hard to learn how to build boxes when you only actually do it once, during a competition, with virtually no chance to fix things that don't look right.


08-09-2012, 05:05 PM
Hey, thanks for the info Eggzlot!

08-09-2012, 07:34 PM
Thanks for all the feedback; very good! Please, keep the comments coming. Heaven knows I need all the help I can get!.

As far as temps go, I was trying to cook at 325 or there about. Normally, I cook at 225-250. But then my cooking times are a lot longer.

5:00am - Took brisket and pork out of fridge.
5:30am - Fire started.
7:00am - Put brisket and butt on.
Temp in smoker 333 on hot side, and 322 on cooler side.
Butt directly on grate.
Brisket in aluminum pan.
9:20am – Put chicken in brine.
9:45 – Put butt in pan with apple juice; covered with foil; temp of butt was 153.
9:45am – Brisket temp was 165, but almost no bark; left in pan uncovered.
11:00am – Foiled brisket; a little more bark, but not much. (Didn’t write temp down)
1:00pm – Brisket off; internal temp 205; wrapped in blanket.
1:10pm – Ribs go on; Temp in smoker was 280.
1:40pm Chicken went on.
Intermission – Started raining like crazy at about 3:00pm
3:00pm – Cut point end off brisket.
3:20pm – Re-wrapped flat end of brisket in pan and blanket.
3:20pm – Put point back on smoker, no pan; on grate.
NOTE: Rain had cooled smoker to 253.
3:30pm – Took butt off; internal temp was 200.
3:30pm – Foiled ribs with apple juice in bottom of pan.
4:20pm – Took chicken off as temps were about 176-180; dunked in glaze.
4:50pm – Took ribs and chicken off.
6:30pm – Cut up point for burnt ends; put back in pan with au jus.
6:45pm – Started pulling but.

I struggled with the smoker temps; not sure why as this is not a normal problem.

Rest is history.

Yeah, I was all over the map on the cooking times and temps.

Lessons learned:
Don’t let the fire get to low before adding wood. (Never had this problem in the past.)
Use blanket on smoker to help keep heat in. (Bone-head I am.)
Cooked everything too long; we did not use our instinct along with temp gauge; tried to use temp gauge alone. (What the heck was I doing??)
Pay attention to what the hell was going on!!!!
Learn to build boxes better; spend more time with them!!!!!
Fill the boxes! Wifey was afraid that we would have too much in there and the pieces would get sauce on the side.

All the things we (I) did wrong I should have known better. I think it was the fact that I was trying to do everything just right.

We actually dipped the brisket in au jus; that’s how dry it was.

Wifey said, I need to cook like I normally do and not over analyze this stuff. This time, she was right.

Going to try again next weekend. Gotta get ready for the virgin-break-in comp!

Again, my hats off to you guys who make this look easy!!!


08-09-2012, 07:59 PM
Hey, where did you get that wire rack? What's it called? I always see these in comp cooking pics, but have never seen one in the stores...

Got the racks from Myron Mixon / JOS.