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View Full Version : How much does it cost to get into competitive cooking?


Rubmyrock
08-12-2012, 09:54 AM
Would I need to drop several thousand on a pull behind smoker or can I show up with a weber smokey joe?

Ron_L
08-12-2012, 09:59 AM
It's really not possible to answer your question without more information?

What sanctioning body? KCBS, MBN, ICBA, others?
Are you cooking alone?
What do you have to get the equipment to the competition site?

All of these matter.

To give you a simple answer, no, you don't have to drop thousands. Lots of teams compete with a Chargriller or two. Others do well with a UDS or two or a UDS and a Weber Kettle. There are several very successful teams cooking with Weber Smokey Mountain cookers.

BTW, I'm going to move this to the competition section of the forum.

Lake Dogs
08-12-2012, 10:14 AM
$83.

Actually, +1 above. Sanctioning bodies are different and require different volumes of meat, different standards of how/when it's turned in, different levels of camp cleanliness which can add $$$ too. For example, in KCBS you'll cook a brisket or 2, 2 or 3 butts, 3+- racks of ribs, and 16+- pieces of chicken. MBN, just for ribs, you'll cook 12 - 16 racks. If in shoulder you'll cook 7 - 9 20# shoulders. KCBS you can compete with a few BGE's or WSM's, but in MBN you'll need at least 1 pull-behind smoker, if not 2, because they also have a whole hog category. In NC you have lots of choices in sanctioning bodies; each very different.

realspaazz
08-12-2012, 10:25 AM
Some of the comps have a backyard division. This might be a good starting place. Usually the entry fees are less. I would recommend going to a few comps and looking around, the visitors entry fee is usually very reasonable. Then hit up the backyard division for a time or two (or 20 if you like it there). That would allow you to walk your way into competing rather than diving in head first.

Podge
08-12-2012, 10:30 AM
Would I need to drop several thousand on a pull behind smoker or can I show up with a weber smokey joe?

Find you a used Backwoods Fatboy for $900 and it'll last you 40+ contests, for KCBS.

fnbish
08-12-2012, 10:30 AM
Also depends on stuff you may already have around the house or don't have and would need. Tables, coolers, chairs, canopies, etc.

Rubmyrock
08-12-2012, 10:34 AM
Thanks! I have a large BGE and a large Dome Grill but I can't see myself trying to move those. I may buy a stumps since I can get on for a litte over $2000 and haul it in my enclosed trailer. Would a small stumps be sufficient to start.

pmanzi
08-12-2012, 10:55 AM
Pick up a copy of Starting the Fire. The author goes through everything you need to know to start a team and enter your first competition including a good checklist of the equipment you will need.

djqualls
08-12-2012, 11:12 AM
I think two WSM's is a safe start along with your Smokey Joe. To be safe I would budget $2,000 for everything you need including consumables involved for at least two practice cooks and your first real time comp. This should cover the entry for the first one as well. Whatever you do. simulate a comp and take notes on timing. It donesn't matter how well it tastes etc. if you can't get it cooked and turned on time.

Good Luck! This forum is a wealth of information and support for you. It has been for me.

The Cosmic Pig
08-12-2012, 11:58 AM
Thanks! I have a large BGE and a large Dome Grill but I can't see myself trying to move those. I may buy a stumps since I can get on for a litte over $2000 and haul it in my enclosed trailer. Would a small stumps be sufficient to start.

If you already have an enclosed trailer you have a great start! I have some nice cookers but, in reality, I now know that I could have gotten by with a couple of Weber Smokey Mountains and done just as well - maybe even better. A canopy is a "must have," along with a table or two, but there's a good chance you already have most of the other stuff you need for KCBS and FBA. I didn't notice where you were before I started this answer. I've never done any cooks outside of these two, so I can't speak for any other contests.

K-Train
08-12-2012, 12:55 PM
Also depends on stuff you may already have around the house or don't have and would need. Tables, coolers, chairs, canopies, etc.
Also depends on if you watch your equipment fly out of the back of your truck and have to replace a lot of it.:doh:

jbrink01
08-12-2012, 01:43 PM
It's like owning a boat. You can float and move for cheap in a jon boat. "Footitis" gets expensive and before you know it you start looking at yachts........

Gerrit_Boys
08-12-2012, 01:58 PM
Don't forget about stuff you can borrow from someone. For our 1st contest I borrowed pretty much everything except for the cooker, which I made from a old refrigerator. That was by far the cheapest event which ran around $350 as it was close to home.

Brauma
08-12-2012, 02:31 PM
Thanks! I have a large BGE and a large Dome Grill but I can't see myself trying to move those. I may buy a stumps since I can get on for a litte over $2000 and haul it in my enclosed trailer. Would a small stumps be sufficient to start.

My buddy Chris with Dizzy Pig hauls 7 Big Green Eggs to every contest in an enclosed trailer. I've helped him load & unload those suckers many times. Dont let that hold you back if you already have the equipment.

As far as I know he's never broken one. We were in a nasty wind storm in Covington, VA about a month ago and several UDS's were trashed. The Eggs held their ground fine.

http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/p480x480/548359_10150705672064582_42524214581_9360256_28801 143_n.jpg

porkingINpublic
08-12-2012, 02:51 PM
My first comp was MBN... I hauled a bandera and my buddy brought his backyard traeger. We borrowed an ez up tent. I bought 1 table $37. And we used the same stuff we cook with at home. We were pretty intimidated next to 10 Bones & Big Red Smokers.... We got 5th in shoulders, 6th in ribs. We we're hooked from there!

So in other words it doesn't have to cost much at all. We set realistic goals, don't get DAL or DQ, and We figured we'd let our meat do the talking. Have fun

Podge
08-12-2012, 04:25 PM
It's like owning a boat. You can float and move for cheap in a jon boat. "Footitis" gets expensive and before you know it you start looking at yachts........

..or, you start to feel you need to buy one of those stick burners you've seen on TV, because everybody and their mother is buying one now.

indianagriller
08-12-2012, 04:59 PM
..or, you start to feel you need to buy one of those stick burners you've seen on TV, because everybody and their mother is buying one now.

Guilty...

Smoke'n Ice
08-12-2012, 06:37 PM
2 each 19 inch wsm's. a table, an ez up (put your name on it so when it blows away, they'll know where to send it), a 0 gravity chair, a cooler, the usual knives, rubs, glazes, adult beverages, and a keeper (someone will consider you crazy). It can be done from the back of an explorer with a bumper buddy and a net to hold them in place. Go do one as a judge and take a judging class from the sanctionig body, take a cooking class and then try it. It can be adictive.

Big Mike
08-12-2012, 07:43 PM
Thanks! I have a large BGE and a large Dome Grill but I can't see myself trying to move those. I may buy a stumps since I can get on for a litte over $2000 and haul it in my enclosed trailer. Would a small stumps be sufficient to start.

For a comp, the minimum most folks cook is 2 butts, 3 racks of ribs, 1 brisket and about 12 pieces of chicken. If you are talking about a Stumps Baby, I think you would be hard pressed if that was the only cooker you were going to use. I think you would at least need the Baby XL. If you were also going to use your BGE, then I think you could get by with the Baby. You would just need to do some practicing to figure out your timing and what would get cooked in each of the cookers.

I started off with a Stumps GF223 which is basically what is called the classic now.

jbrink01
08-12-2012, 08:19 PM
It was sort of bottom feeding, but 3 weeks ago we left the $45k rig + truck at home and took 3 UDS' and 1 EZ Up to a 10 team KCBS event. Arrived at 6am Saturday and won.

Podge
08-12-2012, 08:32 PM
It was sort of bottom feeding, but 3 weeks ago we left the $45k rig + truck at home and took 3 UDS' and 1 EZ Up to a 10 team KCBS event. Arrived at 6am Saturday and won.

only 'cuz yer a hell of a cook.. other people's results may vary..

jbrink01
08-12-2012, 09:13 PM
Thanks Podge. There were a few strong teams we had to overcome and the judges were CBJ's.....:roll:

I guess total equipment cost was $500?? Used the truck tailgate for a table.

indianagriller
08-12-2012, 09:32 PM
It was sort of bottom feeding, but 3 weeks ago we left the $45k rig + truck at home and took 3 UDS' and 1 EZ Up to a 10 team KCBS event. Arrived at 6am Saturday and won.

I was afraid you were going to do the same at Jasper...:wink:

jbrink01
08-12-2012, 09:38 PM
I was afraid you were going to do the same at Jasper...:wink:

Nope. I thought I had good chicken, and when it didn't get called I figured I was out. Rib call was cool, but the judges didn't like the rest. 16th O/A.

CBQ
08-13-2012, 07:34 AM
My buddy Chris with Dizzy Pig hauls 7 Big Green Eggs to every contest in an enclosed trailer. I've helped him load & unload those suckers many times. Dont let that hold you back if you already have the equipment.

As far as I know he's never broken one. We were in a nasty wind storm in Covington, VA about a month ago and several UDS's were trashed. The Eggs held their ground fine.

http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/p480x480/548359_10150705672064582_42524214581_9360256_28801 143_n.jpg

What a sharp looking background photo :becky:

There is something to be said for using a cooker you already know, so moving your Egg is certainly something to consider.

There are a lot of nice options if your budget is 2K. Backwoods (Party or Fatboy are big enough for a KCBS comp), or a fleet of Weber Smokey Mountains would be my recommendation.

Fat Freddy
08-13-2012, 08:55 AM
Start up costs never stop lol. You gotta have more, bigger or better.

I started last year with unsanctioned contests and at first one had a basic 93 Dakota truck. A Big steel keg and an 18 WSM. I bought a canopy(no lights) and a table and the biggest ice chest I could find. I also made sure I had 3 wash bins. Then my next unsanctioned. I added another cooler, lights,table, pellet grill.

Then this year I have done 3 KCBS and 1 unsanctioned. I had to get a bigger truck another WSM(22) 2 BBQ Guru Party Q another cooler and another table and a 2nd canopy.

I still have 1 more unsanctioned contest this year but then I am done this year because I think I am just starting out and I know I have to buy more things starting out. A camper or trailer, decent knives, cambro,and a good class, etc etc etc......i dont think it ever stops.

Balls Casten
08-13-2012, 09:21 AM
How many contests are you planning on doing?
To us ... That's where the costs come in.

GreenDrake
08-13-2012, 09:43 AM
Start up costs never stop lol. You gotta have more, bigger or better.

I started last year with unsanctioned contests and at first one had a basic 93 Dakota truck. A Big steel keg and an 18 WSM. I bought a canopy(no lights) and a table and the biggest ice chest I could find. I also made sure I had 3 wash bins. Then my next unsanctioned. I added another cooler, lights,table, pellet grill.

Then this year I have done 3 KCBS and 1 unsanctioned. I had to get a bigger truck another WSM(22) 2 BBQ Guru Party Q another cooler and another table and a 2nd canopy.

I still have 1 more unsanctioned contest this year but then I am done this year because I think I am just starting out and I know I have to buy more things starting out. A camper or trailer, decent knives, cambro,and a good class, etc etc etc......i dont think it ever stops.


Bingo. It never stops. I have four pits out in my "meat manger" now and am looking hard at a R&O Fat Girl or Pitmaker. You always find more stuff you need but our comp kitchen is pared down to the essentials now, which is nice. I am trying to get it down even more, makes packin easier. I have an old dual door truck pickup box I can get most everything into now, plus ez up, coolers, banners, lights and all the other paraphernalia we tend to bring along for comps.

Candy Sue
08-13-2012, 10:11 AM
In 2004, I started out with a Tucker behind pickup with shell over the bed. A couple of tables, a Carlisle and a LaFuma recliner. Moved to a FEC100, which I laid on it's back in the pickup and loaded stuff around it. Got a trailer, another FEC100, a Fatboy, a bigger truck. Biggest advantage to the trailer is it made setup/take down much easier and faster. Disadvantages -- fuel consumption and you can carry more stuff you don't need. When I got the Geer Pit converted to burn pellets (not Jambo one of the first 20 something pits that Jamie made), I went back to cooking out of the back of the pickup truck. Got lucky in 2009 and won a GC, took my prize money and made a down payment on a class B van. I love traveling and cooking out of this setup, but I think I sleep too well based on my results. Point is, you can cook contests and do well as simple or as complex as you can afford. That's the beauty of blind judging! If your food is worthly, what you use to get it there can be anything legal from an UDS to a WSM to a Jambo.