PDA

View Full Version : Some general contest questions for a rookie team


MilitantSquatter
11-13-2005, 07:39 PM
My teammates and I began the initial planning for our first year of competition in 2006 and some general questions came up as we begin preparing. We're going to start with NY Grill Kings contest as it's closest to home for our first contest.

1) Is there a standard site size for most contests ? In re-reading Sawdustguy's question/post a few weeks back on canopy recommendations, it was helpful but did not know if there is a standard space allowance. Our consensus is to ensure we get something that goes up somewhat easily and does not take up a ton a space when traveling. We'll go with a 10 x10 or 10 x20.

2) What source of lights are some of the teams using in the evening hours if you don't have a trailer set up ? Are you using generator power ? Lanterns ? Flashlights ? or do the majority of contests provide electricity ? For the guys on Long Island- what did Grill Kings provide last year ?

3) Water - what's the general availability of water to clean and prep with at most contests? For the guys on Long Island- what did Grill Kings provide last year ?

4) Do most teams show up on Friday night just for the comraderie and more time to get settled rather than very early on Sat ? Do some teams show up that morning on Sat ? I just want to be able to ensure one of my team members can commit to a full weekend if we go outside of NY somewhere down the road for a competition.

P.S. - We definitely do plan to go see a contest in action prior to out first contest to see whats going on. Watching on the Food Network and reading online is great but we agree we need to see the real deal in person.


I have some more questions but I think these were some of the biggest questions for now.

Thanks

nmayeux
11-13-2005, 08:19 PM
Vinny, I don't know where to start, but Jeff had several threads that covered much of the same info just a few months ago. As for getting there on Friday, you have to have your meat inspected as early as possible so that you can begin to prep. This means that if you did not arrive on Thursday, Friday will be devoted to setting up, inspections, food prep, locating forgotten, lost, or last minute supplies, cooking dinner, and beginning your cook for Saturday turn ins. I am in the same boat, and will pass on what I can.

Also, there are some competition checklists in the archives that are invaluable for figuring out what you need. Some of them even have places to tally expenses and winnings.

The_Kapn
11-13-2005, 08:23 PM
Without looking back--is GrillKings one of the cook Saturday night--awards on Sunday type event? Possible cooking day confusion here if we are not careful and that is true.

Where is PooBah? He is the Grill Kings expert along with DRBBQ and ArliQue if I remember correctly. May be confusing my events in New Yawk http://bbq-brethren.com/forum/images/smilies/redface.gif

TIM

MilitantSquatter
11-13-2005, 08:25 PM
Thanks.. I'll try and dig back for the old posts. I'm still on dial-up service and my computer is kind of slow so I admittedly took the lazy route on this one......

I did save one of the checklists that was given a few months back. It had the criteria you mentioned...

Hmm... I was under the impression that most contests were Sat. check-ins, meat inspection etc and turn in's on Sunday. I was on vacation when NY Grill Kings took place this year so I missed it, but I am about 90% sure that it was a Sat/Sunday event as I hoping to get home fast enough to stop in to check it out.

The_Kapn
11-13-2005, 08:32 PM
Thanks.. I'll try and dig back for the old posts. I'm still on dial-up service and my computer is kind of slow so I admittedly took the lazy route on this one......
Vinnie,
The vast majority of the events are cook Fri night--awards on Sat.
There are many reasons to change that to cook Sat night--awards on Sunday. Much more supportive of the spectators, for one. Pros and Cons both ways.
But, for now most are "awards on Sat events".

I know DRBBQ has some excellent thoughts on this, but they would belong in a seperate thread and are not anything we can do anything about anyway. Theory for now.

We will try to keep this thread on your basic questions.

TIM

MilitantSquatter
11-13-2005, 08:42 PM
Thanks Tim...

So.. in the Sat. Turn in scenario.. that means most teams are showing up on Thursday....

P.S. - For any guys skipping over the other questions I have, please feel free to chime in on those if you wish or if you know what the old thread title is that would be great too and I'll go check it out.

Maybe to keep the other topic alive and get some discussion going... I'll start a thread on turn in days Sat. vs. Sun...

nmayeux
11-13-2005, 08:59 PM
If I knew how, I would create a sticky thread for this forum just for new competitors. I think I stepped on a few toes when I tried to get several seperate threads condensed into one thread. However, I was just trying to make things easier to research, as I have to keep going back to answer questions that I have. Don't get me wrong though, this is the best resource and friendliest place to get info on competing that I have found so far. The usuals that haunt this forum are pretty accurate with their tips.

The_Kapn
11-13-2005, 09:18 PM
This is new material, so I will try one perspective.

Do most teams show up on Friday night just for the comraderie and more time to get settled rather than very early on Sat ? Do some teams show up that morning on Sat ? I just want to be able to ensure one of my team members can commit to a full weekend if we go outside of NY somewhere down the road for a competition.

Using the more common cook Sat night event--it is all a matter of mileage and travel time. Logistics.

For Dave and I, If it is less than about 2 hours travel from "base camp"--we go on Fri AM. Get set up, meat inspection/prep done, socialize, and then nap/cook as needed. We then try to clean up/pack before awards. Travel back home Sat evening.
Big problem here is safety on the return trip since we are dog-assed tired and should not be driving. And, that is without the aid of libations on the short schedule.
We scared ourselves to death coming out of Sebring last Jan for a 2.5 to 3 hour trip home. DAMN Lucky when it was over.

We have settled into the "arrive Thursday", "leave Sunday" mode since most of our comps down here involve huge driving distances. And, we can now relax, enjoy the company of other teams, have a bunch of libations (as desired), and that is what it is all about.

The goal for us is to be awake, alert, and focused during meat prep time and the cooking/turnin process.
Whatever it takes to make that happen!


FWIW


TIM

BrooklynQ
11-13-2005, 09:20 PM
My teammates and I began the initial planning for our first year of competition in 2006 and some general questions came up as we begin preparing. We're going to start with NY Grill Kings contest as it's closest to home for our first contest.

1) Is there a standard site size for most contests ? In re-reading Sawdustguy's question/post a few weeks back on canopy recommendations, it was helpful but did not know if there is a standard space allowance. Our consensus is to ensure we get something that goes up somewhat easily and does not take up a ton a space when traveling. We'll go with a 10 x10 or 10 x20.

2) What source of lights are some of the teams using in the evening hours if you don't have a trailer set up ? Are you using generator power ? Lanterns ? Flashlights ? or do the majority of contests provide electricity ? For the guys on Long Island- what did Grill Kings provide last year ?

3) Water - what's the general availability of water to clean and prep with at most contests? For the guys on Long Island- what did Grill Kings provide last year ?

4) Do most teams show up on Friday night just for the comraderie and more time to get settled rather than very early on Sat ? Do some teams show up that morning on Sat ? I just want to be able to ensure one of my team members can commit to a full weekend if we go outside of NY somewhere down the road for a competition.

P.S. - We definitely do plan to go see a contest in action prior to out first contest to see whats going on. Watching on the Food Network and reading online is great but we agree we need to see the real deal in person.


I have some more questions but I think these were some of the biggest questions for now.

Thanks

Well, since I've cooked with Phil at almost all his contests, I'll pipe in here. Now I'm not the most seasoned and have only cooked in the north, but I can help you out.

1. Most contests up here give you a site of 10 x 20 but in reality, you can take a lot more. Grill Kings, Guitarbeque - I think gave 20 x 20, and Highland, all had lots of room to spread out.

2. Electricity. All the northeast contests gave you electric power. You need to bring extention cords.

3. Water. Well that depends on the event. Grill Kings last year SUCKED big time. Water was limited to a long walk to the bathrooms and a standard bathroom sink. Highland was great with hoses nearby. Guitarbeque was the same. CT, SUCKED big time as well. Long walks to the bathrooms for water.

4. Most teams show up the night before the event, get setup, get inspected, inject, rub and marinate, and then socialize a bit. Some folks get into big parties, but they're not usually the teams that walk.

You ask an interesting question about people showing up just on judgement day. Riddle me this. How can you cook a brisket for a 2:00pm turn in if you just show up on the day of judgement? If team members have different roles, ie: only creating the presentation boxes, then that team member could be absent from part of the weekend.

Take some time and count backwards. If I have to turn in my brisket at 2:00 pm, then it has to be put in the presentation boxes by 1:45, it has to be off the cooker and sliced by 1:30, it has to be in the smoker at 6:00pm the night before, it has to be rubbed by 4:00pm the day before. etc etc etc. Who on the team has to be at every critcial point to creat the final product needs to be determined before you decide who gets to sleep late saturday.

It's just my 2 cents here. Feel free to disagree and I'm sure Phil will chime in later.

MilitantSquatter
11-13-2005, 09:33 PM
Thanks Brooklyn Q for the NE contest feedback !!. Very helpful.


I agree on the timeframes. My intentions (if turn in was on Sunday) was to arrive early Sat for set up (not knowing how long that takes) and then prep the meats and have in the smoker later that day or early evening for the brisket to come off in time on the next day.

It turn in's are on Sat, then I agee that you need to arrive early on Friday.

Originally, the whole idea of getting there the night before that (ex. Thurs for a Sat turn in) just seemed unneccesary at first thought. But I can understand people wanting to really have ample time to rest and hang out.

I'm definitely OK with that stuff, I just need to make sure my teammates understand the time committments if and when the time comes that we look to travel travel a little for a contest. We have a long way to go as I just want to get the first one under our belts before making long term plans.

wsm
11-13-2005, 09:36 PM
Teams that arrive on Saturday morning.


Take some time and count backwards. If I have to turn in my brisket at 2:00 pm, then it has to be put in the presentation boxes by 1:45, it has to be off the cooker and sliced by 1:30, it has to be in the smoker at 6:00pm the night before, it has to be rubbed by 4:00pm the day before. etc etc etc. Who on the team has to be at every critcial point to creat the final product needs to be determined before you decide who gets to sleep late saturday.

It's just my 2 cents here. Feel free to disagree and I'm sure Phil will chime in later.
Please bear in mind that I have cooked at a WHOLE ONE FARKEN comp - and I didn't really cook - I just hung out for my Master CBJ requirement.

Nonetheless, our friends in Texas like to cook brisket high (temp) and short (time) - and they turn out a good product. Also if you start with a 5 pound flat it cooks a bit faster than a 17 pound packer. I don't want to say anything bad about our friends who show up Saturday AM- but do they walk?

BrooklynQ
11-13-2005, 09:40 PM
Teams that arrive on Saturday morning.


Please bear in mind that I have cooked at a WHOLE ONE FARKEN comp - and I didn't really cook - I just hung out for my Master CBJ requirement.

Nonetheless, our friends in Texas like to cook brisket high (temp) and short (time) - and they turn out a good product. Also if you start with a 5 pound flat it cooks a bit faster than a 17 pound packer. I don't want to say anything bad about our friends who show up Saturday AM- but do they walk?

I'm not saying anything bad about them at all. IF that WORKS for them great. I'm saying is that you need to plan who needs to be where when and adjust your schedules accordingly.

The_Kapn
11-13-2005, 09:50 PM
Teams that arrive on Saturday morning.


Please bear in mind that I have cooked at a WHOLE ONE FARKEN comp - and I didn't really cook - I just hung out for my Master CBJ requirement.

Nonetheless, our friends in Texas like to cook brisket high (temp) and short (time) - and they turn out a good product. Also if you start with a 5 pound flat it cooks a bit faster than a 17 pound packer. I don't want to say anything bad about our friends who show up Saturday AM- but do they walk?
Help us out here--
Was the event "cook sat night" or "cook Fri night"?

TIM

BBQchef33
11-13-2005, 09:56 PM
My teammates and I began the initial planning for our first year of competition in 2006 and some general questions came up as we begin preparing. We're going to start with NY Grill Kings contest as it's closest to home for our first contest.

1) Is there a standard site size for most contests ? In re-reading Sawdustguy's question/post a few weeks back on canopy recommendations, it was helpful but did not know if there is a standard space allowance. Our consensus is to ensure we get something that goes up somewhat easily and does not take up a ton a space when traveling. We'll go with a 10 x10 or 10 x20.

10x20 is the minimum, some give 20x30. They differ based on event.

2) What source of lights are some of the teams using in the evening hours if you don't have a trailer set up ? Are you using generator power ? Lanterns ? Flashlights ? or do the majority of contests provide electricity ? For the guys on Long Island- what did Grill Kings provide last year ?

Most have electricty. Podunk didnt and we needed lanterns. Some rope lights or christmas lights run along the tents work well.

3) Water - what's the general availability of water to clean and prep with at most contests? For the guys on Long Island- what did Grill Kings provide last year ?

all have water available. How ya get it is a guess. Always bring buckets, Y connectors and hoses.

4) Do most teams show up on Friday night just for the comraderie and more time to get settled rather than very early on Sat ? Do some teams show up that morning on Sat ? I just want to be able to ensure one of my team members can commit to a full weekend if we go outside of NY somewhere down the road for a competition.

i have never run across anyone to show up saturday morning. It may be possible if ya have a full trailer setup, but ya miss all the fun. Saturday is the fun part of the event. Hang out, relax and promote what we do, talk to people who come with the curiousity of a 3 year old and meet up with friends ya havent seen since the previous competition.

P.S. - We definitely do plan to go see a contest in action prior to out first contest to see whats going on. Watching on the Food Network and reading online is great but we agree we need to see the real deal in person.

Check out the NEBS revents. They have a few starting up in New england in march.

I have some more questions but I think these were some of the biggest questions for now.

Thanks

See answers above in RED.

Sawdustguy
11-13-2005, 10:58 PM
MilitantSquatter,

I was in the exact position you are last year. Grill Kings was our first contest. We had a blast. It looks like most of your questions were answered. All I can add is go to the event with your expectations set properly. Expect to have alot of fun, expect to learn alot, expect to meet alot of great people and lastly, expect this to become addicting. Last year we set the following goals for ourself for the competition:


1. We meet all the turn in times
2. We don't get disqualified.
3. We have lots of fun
4. We don't come in dead last
5. Nobody dies from our Q


I think we came in 20th overall with a 6th in brisket (our ribs sucked badly and really dragged our overall down alot). We met all of our goals and surprised ourselves. We got to meet Bobby from Big Island BBQ, the whole Philly Pigs Crew, the Crew at Daisy Mays and many more great people. I was going to introduce myself to Phil and the Brethren but they looked like they their hands full. We hope to meet alot more people this year. Overall, it was the best weekend we had the whole summer and can't wait to cook multiple contests this year. We are still keeping our expectations low because we have much to learn and we never loose site of the fact that this is a hobby that we do to enjoy ourselves. If by the grace of God we get lucky and win a ribbon or trophy there will be nobody more surprised than us. We hope somewhere along the line to go to a BBQ cooking class. If you want any other info from a new teams perspective just PM me. There are alot a great BBQ chefs here on the forum. I have learned alot and you will too.

Sawdustguy
11-13-2005, 11:24 PM
MilitantSquatter,

Sorry, almost forgot. Here is a checklist for you. Modify it to you hearts content. When the Meat Inspector comes around he will check to see your meat has not been pre-prepared and is properly being stored in an ice filled cooler. He will check to see you have a fire extinguisher, three tubs for cleaning, sanitizing and rinse, two cutting boards and that your prep area is under shade.

Sawdustguy
11-13-2005, 11:52 PM
Grill Kings is a Saturday Night Cook with Sunday turn-in. There is also a Saturday Grilling Event which is optional.

wsm
11-14-2005, 06:01 PM
Help us out here--
Was the event "cook sat night" or "cook Fri night"?

TIM
Saturday turn in.

I assume that for a Sunday turnin, most arrive on Saturday (cook Sat night)

MilitantSquatter
11-14-2005, 07:55 PM
Thanks Sawdustguy....Your feedback too is much appreciated. I saved your checklist too in addition to the another that was posted here. Yours appears to be even more detailed.

I agree, our first few times out will soley be to get the hang of things, meet good people and not place last !!!

Thanks to all who contributed to answering my question....

lunchlady
01-12-2006, 08:24 PM
1) Is there a standard site size for most contests ?

as stated by others...20x20 seems to be the norm, but it should say it in the cook's packet for each event.

2) What source of lights are some of the teams using?

we always bring extensions now; at our first Podunk, we were told there would be NO electricity, and then there was. We made do with Coleman lanterns and flashlights, but if you are stocked for "roughing it"-type camping, you are all set no matter where you go...

3) Water - what's the general availability of water to clean and prep with at most contests?

i believe that water HAS to be available, the question would be how far away is it? To be safe, bring a water container, but hose(s) and y-connectors help too if the contest is running it out to the teams.

4) Do most teams show up on Friday night just for the comraderie and more time to get settled rather than very early on Sat ?

It is always best, IMO, to get there as soon as you can. More time to get your crap together and more time to schmooze with other bbq fanatics. Enjoy every minute, that's my motto, and it has also been my downfall. The cameraderie is a HUGE part of this.
Don't get me wrong, walking the walk is fantastic, but quite a few of the friends we have made are like family now, and I am so thankful. Who else but family can you call on at 4 a.m. when you run out of beer? I would think that you already get it, though, since you are a member of the "brethren".

P.S. - We definitely do plan to go see a contest in action prior to out first contest to see whats going on. Watching on the Food Network and reading online is great but we agree we need to see the real deal in person.

NEBS does have it's kick-off the season one-day Saturday Snowshoe Grilling Challenge coming up on March 18th, in Abington, MA. Check out the NEBS website for more information as it becomes available. Or you can ask me, my "boy wonder" -heheh- Gary Taft, is the organizer. Another GREAT event is the Pork In The Park in Salisbury, MD., the weekend of April 20th-ish. Great event to observe, and we will be sure to offer ya up a beverage if you come by.

thanks fer listening...michelle

Jeff_in_KC
01-12-2006, 09:55 PM
Vinny, you've made me recall all the questions I had last year. Thanks! It really is a blast and you'll be addicted very soon! I think I worried too much about the logistics of getting ready and too little about just cooking and taking in the experience of my first contest.

Most of your questions have gotten good answers but I'll chime in a couple of things about set-up since I don't know much about the New England contests. First off, I got a 10x20 canopy and never will regret it, even if it is a lot of work to set it up! My third contest was a spur of the moment deal in a brand new contest so to avoid the set up time, I went out and bought a knock off brand of Easy Up 10x10 at Wal Mart. First off it broke in two places just in the set up. Secondly, I was crowded as hell in only 10x10! Did not have the work space I had become accustomed to in my previous two contests. Unless I have to for some weird reason, I'll always have a 10x20 from now on!

Second, on the lighting, I have several options... for decoration and just "fun lighting" under my canopy, I have three 20 foot rope lights, red, white and blue in color with one each running the length of the canopy along the under side edges and one at the peak of the ceiling. I atach them every so often with cable ties (I think that's what you call them). I also have one of those cheapie paper lantern balls I hang from the center. For work lights, I use a headlamp on my hat for checking the smokers at night, one of those aluminum utility lights for general area and wash area lighting and a flourescent shop light style light over my prep table.

drbbq
01-13-2006, 07:38 AM
As this thread shows, there is no general answers to these questions. Every region seems to have different norms, and even every cookoff. If they had a cookoff in Tennessee with no power and water in the bathroom, nobody would go. On the other hand, folks in the NE don't seem to like the Saturday turn ins that require a day or two off work. 10X10 would be a joke in Florida, where almost everybody now has a trailer of some sort. The standard sites in Sebring were 20x40.
So the answer is read all the paperwork and don't hesitate to call the organizer with specific questions.

Couple things, get there as early as you can and is allowed. It will make your life much less stressful and leave more time for fun. Also, most organizers will work with you if you need a little (or a lot) extra space. They may charge you a few bucks but if you need it..........

Sledneck
05-26-2011, 10:02 PM
Thanks.. I'll try and dig back for the old posts. I'm still on dial-up service and my computer is kind of slow so I admittedly took the lazy route on this one......

I did save one of the checklists that was given a few months back. It had the criteria you mentioned...

Hmm... I was under the impression that most contests were Sat. check-ins, meat inspection etc and turn in's on Sunday. I was on vacation when NY Grill Kings took place this year so I missed it, but I am about 90% sure that it was a Sat/Sunday event as I hoping to get home fast enough to stop in to check it out.

dial up holy crap!!