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View Full Version : Looking for a team to mentor with - practical?


bmonkman
08-25-2012, 12:20 PM
Looking at the threads over the past year there doesn't appear to me to be a lot of interest by established teams to take on noobs. And after talking to a couple of guys at New Holland on Friday I can understand why. Lack of time on Saturday, not knowing who the new folks are, disruption of established routines, etc.

Thoughts or comments anyone?

- Brian

smoke-n-my-i's
09-03-2012, 11:04 AM
pretty much sums it up.... however, every once in a while you will run across someone that will take someone under their wing so to speak.

I was fortunate enough to have someone to help out.... been doing it now for abt 4 or 5 yrs... I do had cooked some on my own before that, and he knew it, but he needed some help and asked if I would. Since I was unable to cook but one or two a yr, it was a win win situation.... I got to go to more comps, he got some free help, and I was able to pick up a few pointers....

Another thing to remember is, some teams spent a huge amount of money to go to a "Q" school to learn the "tricks".... and are unwilling to share that for free.

Just keep asking and looking, and you will most likely find someone to help out.

Theresa B
09-03-2012, 08:20 PM
Brian- I've found the same to be true. I've posted several times looking for a mentor in the Mid Atlantic region. I've had a couple people say sure contact us. But when I do it just doesn't come together. We WILL be doing our first cook at Lexington VA in April '13. If we get to cook with a mentoring team that will be great, if not we're doing it anyway.
Theresa

Wampus
09-05-2012, 01:00 PM
Yeah I know what you mean.

A couple of years ago, I actually posted in this forum and had a team invite me to come and hang with them for a comp, which was awesome!

I have definitely found many competitors to hold things close to the vest, which is completely understandable. If you walk into our camp, we'll show/tell you pretty much anything you want to know. We've shared rubs, sauces, etc. with anyone who asks. It's just who we are I guess. Bottom line, we can lay it all out for you and it doesn't mean that you can produce the same result we do. There's a lot more to scoring well than just recipes.

The other thing I've learned is the time that it takes to properly mentor someone or a whole team can be taxing. At the cooks meeting at every comp I've been to they always ask if there are new teams and then they ask if there are any teams willing to mentor the new teams. I asked my partner why we didn't offer that up and he told me that he did last year (before I joined the team) and it ended up being a real PIA. There were several guys hanging out asking a bazzillion questions and just kind of hovering. It ended up being a BIG distraction to his cook. Especially with smaller teams like ours (we're two people and last year he was solo quite a bit) you have a lot less down time to answer questions. It sure seems like it can be taxing. We try and take advantage of every extra minute we have to just sit and CHILL, especially during turn in morning/day.

Keep on trying. I'd say come and hang with us but we're not near you. We only compete in Indiana, with a few comps in neighboring states just over the border.

Bourbon Barrel BBQ
09-05-2012, 01:32 PM
To me it's fun to help new teams up to a certain point. You can't expect teams that have heavily invested lots of time and money to simply welcome a stranger into their camp and teach them everything they know. Now helping them with details on how a comp works, helping them understand flavor profiles judges look for, showing them how some PVC pipes under your tables save your back, those are the kinds of things most teams are more than willing to help out with. Asking for basically a free BBQ school is most certainly out of the question and honestly rude IMO.

Theresa B
09-05-2012, 07:59 PM
Hi guys- We're NOT looking for recipes or secrets.I have my own recipes and pay for BBQ schools/classes. We are looking for the actual experience of doing a cook...from load in to pack out. I guess I'm a little disappointed. I can certainly recognize that it could be a real PIA to mentor a team, but then I have to ask the question (to nobody in particuliar) did someone take you under their wing? Wouldn't you like to pay it forward? I look forward to the point in time that I can take a team or two under my wing to help them get started!
Theresa

Bourbon Barrel BBQ
09-05-2012, 08:06 PM
Hi guys- We're NOT looking for recipes or secrets.I have my own recipes and pay for BBQ schools/classes. We are looking for the actual experience of doing a cook...from load in to pack out. I guess I'm a little disappointed. I can certainly recognize that it could be a real PIA to mentor a team, but then I have to ask the question (to nobody in particuliar) did someone take you under their wing? Wouldn't you like to pay it forward? I look forward to the point in time that I can take a team or two under my wing to help them get started!
Theresa


I think those types of things are exactly what I would think most teams would help with. That being said I jumped in feet first and just went and signed up for a comp. I would do a contest or two and ask teams tips on ways to make the event go smoother while at those comps. You would be surprised the info you can get.

Sticks-n-chicks
09-05-2012, 08:21 PM
Guy, I know there are many teams on here that would be more than happy to have people at their site to learn. I think I speak for most that I don't know if what I know is worth learning but I am more than happy to share. PM me if your in the KC area.

smoke-n-my-i's
09-26-2012, 05:35 PM
Theresa,

If you remember right, not long ago, I did offer, and have received another person to "take under my wing"... and he did great.

Like I have mentioned, I only do a couple a year, and will give the offer again when I can. My "helper" is now "hooked" and can't wait until I do it again.... so, when I do, he will be under the wing again... not sure if he will start his own team or not, but it sure is fun watching someone willing to help and learn.

I have done my two this year, and unfortunately, he couldn't make the one last week, but I did and was able to pick up another helper at the last minute.... looking forward to maybe cooking a couple of extra next year.

Theresa B
09-26-2012, 07:01 PM
Smoke (I don't know your name),
I am so glad you got to bring a new convert to BBQ! Sounds like everything went well, so happy to hear that. Are you a MABA (Mid Atlantic BBQ Assoc) member? I'll look for you at any comps we judge or cook. Look forward to meeting you.
Theresa

Smokin' Gnome BBQ
09-27-2012, 03:09 PM
this may seem backwords but I think that if you want to hang with a team then you kinda need to make friends with them before asking to hang out at a comp. I personally have about 5-6 judges that want to come out and cook with me for their masters. Im cool with that because they generally stop over after judging say hello and offer well wishes. Underneath my tent in my comfort zone kinda like my living room, Im just not gonna let anyone one off the street sit down and chill for a while. make sense? Im just your average middle of the road cook but still I have a ton of time and $$$ in it and like to think that one day Ill do something special and thats when I want my "friends" around to celebrate with me.

gettinbasted
09-27-2012, 03:37 PM
I wouldn't hesitate to mentor if asked. The first contest I cooked was the first one I had ever even been to. It can be intimidating. Lowering the barriers to entry is one thing we can all do to grow competition bbq.

smoke-n-my-i's
09-30-2012, 05:19 PM
KCBS... although I was a member of FBA for a while and did compete in FL once...

We will be table captains at Rocky Mount, NC in a couple of weeks, and that will be the end for this year. We are looking at possibly 3-4 next year... will see as time progresses.

We started out cold turkey and did one by ourselves with no knowledge what so ever, and it was a blast... came in DAL... we have met a BUNCH of great people on the circuit so far, and love to do them just for the fellowship and fun.

Offer your help to teams as you visit, you just never know one might just say, yeah, I can use some help.....

Bill

Smoke (I don't know your name),
I am so glad you got to bring a new convert to BBQ! Sounds like everything went well, so happy to hear that. Are you a MABA (Mid Atlantic BBQ Assoc) member? I'll look for you at any comps we judge or cook. Look forward to meeting you.
Theresa

Porcine Perfection
10-01-2012, 04:06 PM
Hi guys- We're NOT looking for recipes or secrets.I have my own recipes and pay for BBQ schools/classes. We are looking for the actual experience of doing a cook...from load in to pack out. I guess I'm a little disappointed. I can certainly recognize that it could be a real PIA to mentor a team, but then I have to ask the question (to nobody in particular) did someone take you under their wing? Wouldn't you like to pay it forward? I look forward to the point in time that I can take a team or two under my wing to help them get started!
Theresa

I am right beside you. I want to learn of the process and etiquette of a contest rather than the cooking. The only questions I would ask a team in regards to the actual cook would be around the cooking times and how to time things correctly for turn in.

smoke-n-my-i's
10-02-2012, 05:39 PM
this may seem backwords but I think that if you want to hang with a team then you kinda need to make friends with them before asking to hang out at a comp.

YES, that helps... as a lot of people are a little reluctant about letting strangers come into their "home" and just hang out so to speak... making friends first does help. If you show up at several comps, and keep introducing yourself, asking question and general chit chat, it won't be long and you will have lots of friends....

If you all weren't so far, or was willing to travel, you can come and hang out with me any time...

bmonkman
10-07-2012, 11:20 AM
So it has been about a month and a half since I started this thread and I have learned a fair bit since then.

This wknd my wife and I volunteered at the Keystone Classic in Harrisburg and had a great time. Watching how hard the teams work and considering most of them are competing (and not just there to socialize) I get it now. As Smokin Gnome said it is like walking in to someone's living room. Or in other words - it's about comfort and trust.

My wife and I were fortunate enough to be invited to hang with Smokin Gnome for a bit on Friday. I learned a bit and, more importantly, got to meet some great folks. Hopefully we didn't over stay our welcome as I know they were getting down to some serious prep after we left.

As we were wandering around my wife and I talked and she said "You know - they put a lot of effort into getting ready for this and have their own ways of doing things. How would anyone know if you weren't just looking to shoulder surf and steal secrets." And you know - she is right. (I'm a lucky guy she puts up with me. :wink: )

My thanks to Sal of Smokin Gnome and Erik and Ken of White Dog for taking time to talk to this noob. My wife, Kathy, and I really enjoyed it.

smoke-n-my-i's
10-07-2012, 12:06 PM
well said.... and did you by chance go back by Saturday morning to watch at a "distance" to see the rest of the story.... CRUNCH TIME as the meats are finishing up, and boxes are prepped and ran to turn ins?

Yes, a "noobie" has to learn, and as a team takes the time to teach, it does put a little damper on the "schedule" and one can get out of sync in the clock is not watched real close. Than and some people just don't have the patience to take on someone that wants to help and learn.

Good luck in your search to be a helper and learn. If you are ever in the area, come on by any time.

bmonkman
10-07-2012, 12:31 PM
We volunteered both days. On Saturday I was a table runner and Kathy helped with the turn ins. We walked around a fair bit the hour or so before our work started. I used some common sense and just said hi and moved on. I was watching a couple of teams work.

I commented to Kath about the layout of Aporkalypse (sp?) work area and how the setup made for efficient movement. Was looking at the range of grills used and made mental notes for future questions.

Being a table runner put me in the position of being able to see how boxes looked and to hear some of the comments from the judges.

I was a fly on the wall for the Cooks' meeting on Friday and the Judges' meeting on Saturday. I also had the opportunity to judge two ancillary categories on Friday - though I had no clue what I was doing.

Saturday morning we met a fellow Brethren who is looking to start up a team and we agreed to talk more about this.

And finally got to know one of the KCBS judges and it turns out he is a fellow Canadian ex-pat. We will certianly keep in touch.

All in all it was a couple of days well spent. We are spending the day today recovering. At appears we are both rather out of shape or are just getting old. :oops:

And yes, we will definitely let you know next time we are coming down to your neck of the woods Smoke. I get down to RTP on a semi-regular basis.

smoke-n-my-i's
10-07-2012, 12:45 PM
Looks like the hook is set... LOL

I am, depending on what part of RTP, abt 30 minutes from there.... let me know and if it works out, we can meet up some where....

Glad you got to help out and learn a little abt the sport and love of BBQ...

And yes, it is a LOT of work... both physically, and mentally at times.