View Full Version : Competition Practice report...

11-20-2005, 07:49 PM
This weekend we held a full practice cook. We prepared brisket, butt, ribs and chicken. It went well. We made some very good Q and some very poor Q. The bottom line is, what we learned from this practice is invaluable. Here is what we learned:

1. We have learned through many previous smokings how to control the temperature on the Lang to within +/- 7* throughout the whole 14 hour smoke. There was no magic here, it was pure trial and error and learning the smoker.

2. Our first smoke with the Lang used almost 150 lbs of wood. This weekend we smoked with a shade over 80 lbs. Again there is no magic here, it was trial and error and learning the smoker. We are happy also because this was accomplished during a night that hit a mean outdoor temp of 35* from 11PM to 7AM.

3. Our brisket was very, very tasty and was very tender. It was however, very dry. We discovered that using the warmer in the lang, dried out the meat. It would we better just to let the brisket rest in a dry cooler. We will try again without the warmer. We are happy with our rub, and injection recipes for brisket and they will not change unless our scores tell us to. Consistentcy is our goal here.

4. The pork butt was unbelievable! The best I have ever tasted. We tweaked our rub recipe a little and I think we hit paydirt. Only a competition will tell if the judges agree with our taste buds. Like our brisket recipe this this recipe is cast in concrete unless our scores tell us we need to tweek it.

5. The spare ribs are another story. They were tasty but much to hot and spicy. I think we went ape chit with the pepper and our fresh 3 chile grind. As I said, the flavor was what we were looking for but only the most bold of us could stand to put it in our mouth for more than a second. We were also not happy with the cooking time. They were juicy but they were a little tuff. We may need more cooking time. We need to readjust our rub and try again.

6. Everyone except me felt we hit a home run with the chicken. I was not happy with the color and felt the chicken was not flavorful enough. Maybe that was because my tastebuds were burned off by the ribs. I must say that brining really made the chicken juicy but I just felt that the only flavor I tasted was the sauce. We will work on this one also.

All in all, I have to say things are getting a little clearer. We have a long way to go but I think we are on the right path. We still have hundreds of questions but there is still time to get them answered. Everything we did was recorded down to the minute. Our next practice is in two weeks. If we learn as much as we learned this smoke, we will all have smiles on our face.

11-20-2005, 07:55 PM
Sounds like you had a great time and learned alot. Did you follow the KCBS schedule for turn ins? All 4 meats within the 2 hour window? And use the same order as KCBS - Chicken - Ribs - Pork - Brisket? From reading your post it sounds like you did Ribs before chicken.

Try to do it in order, because as a judge, IMHO by the time the brisket shows up you're pretty full and taking much smaller samples. The brisket really needs to shine.

11-20-2005, 08:00 PM
Keep the reports coming.....:wink:

11-20-2005, 08:13 PM
Great update !! .... The +/- 7 deg. variance is really impressive with the Long Island temps today... Your would useage tells the whole story.

We que'd from 10AM to 4 PM and while it was a little warmer than 35 deg at that point, our +/- temp.variances were almost double yours. With the weather today we we're satisfied that we never dropped under 200.

11-20-2005, 08:20 PM

We did follow the KCBS turnin format. The only thing we didn't do was present in the standard KCBS box. I am going to find them and our next practice will include presentation. I will post photos after next practice. The only other thing I can share is brrrrrrrrrrr......It was cold out there. Gary (brother and team mate) and I were sitting awful close to the firebox to stay warm. I think the only thing that kept the fire department from being called was the amount of fire places being fired up for the first time this season. :biggrin:

11-20-2005, 08:41 PM

U guys are serious. U should have other people(family and friends) try the food.

Hey Rob...

Sounds like the competition is heating up for next season.

11-20-2005, 08:44 PM
Its great how much you guys got out of a practice run - think how ready you will be after several!


11-20-2005, 08:49 PM
Sounds like you had a valuable wekend. Good job, with the temps, and the overall job. Who did the meat tasting, just your team? or did you have volunteers to give you an honest opinion.

11-20-2005, 10:14 PM
Good job on the practice run! Good lessons learned. And I even learned something... frickin' 80 to 150 lbs. of wood????? :shock: :shock: :shock: Wow, not sure I can afford the fuel if I purchased a Lang afterall! :roll:

11-21-2005, 04:01 AM

Had some relatives who were brutally honest. I was glad they didn't tell us what they thought we wanted to hear. I was happy they gave their honest opinion with no sugar coating.


No secrets here. We used charcoal to preheat the smoker so we didn't waste wood and in the past we added wood unecessarily. We figured it came down to about a stick and a half an hour. We also learned how to control the heat better. It was all in experimentation and learning the cooker.

11-21-2005, 07:08 AM
I have been practicing on my Lang since I got it in May. It does take some practice, but I am getting it down pretty good on holding temp and using mostly Oak for heat and smoke. Sounds like you guys are on the right path. Practice makes a comp much easier when you go.

11-21-2005, 09:19 AM

Did u ever think about using a Smokey Mountain to do your long cooks like the brisket and Boston butt? That would cut down the wood burned significantly. Many teams do it that way.