PDA

View Full Version : Offseason competition prep tips?


triplezip
12-21-2012, 10:30 PM
Hey all,

I've been BBQing for years, but am new to KCBS competition and plan on giving it a first shot in 2013. Upgraded from a gasser to two UDS's this past summer, and my BWS Competitor was just delivered last week (thanks, Kevin!)... There's plenty to cover in terms of competition in general, and I'll be doing my homework, but I was hoping to get some feedback on what I could / should be doing specifically at this time of year in preparation for the spring / summer competition season here in the northeast. Any tips for the greenhorn would be appreciated. Thanks in advance, and looking forward to meeting some of you then!

BigBellyBBQ
12-22-2012, 01:14 AM
practice..take notes of your timeline...must know your cookers..use several temp probes inside your cooker..repeat KNOW YOUR COOKERS...remember to get you meat done early..let it rest..repeat know your cookers...practice you time lines..do an actual simulated comp...practice overnight...

Pappy Q
12-22-2012, 04:59 AM
practice..take notes of your timeline...must know your cookers..use several temp probes inside your cooker..repeat KNOW YOUR COOKERS...remember to get you meat done early..let it rest..repeat know your cookers...practice you time lines..do an actual simulated comp...practice overnight...

This is it. Do as many full comp practice cooks as possible.

Untraceable
12-22-2012, 06:21 AM
consistency is the key. anyone here can make killer stuff. in a comp, it doesnt matter how good your ribs last were or the best brisket you ever did in practice, its all about the turn in.

also, I think it helps to temper your expectations. Do it because its fun and have fun and be ready to be criticized.

cmohr74
12-22-2012, 07:47 AM
One thing that I would recommend as well is find a fellow Brethren who is a competitor or who has judged a KCBS competition. Coordinate with him/her a weekend where you can do a practice run with exact timelines and get his/her critical feedback. Family and friends will never be as critical as a real KCBS judge. Have a cooler stocked with their choice of drink and give it your all. This to me is a big help. You get pre first competition jitters out of the way, make a friend in the BBQ world, and can learn a lot. Find your flavors and like Untraceable said, "consistency is key." If you can produce the same results everytime, you should do well.

Ford
12-22-2012, 08:37 AM
Try to get together with a local brethren and offer to buy him dinner in return for talking BBQ. Some pretty good cooks in your area. Amazing what you can learn. Or take a winter break here in fl and team up with a cook team. We do FBA contests most weekends. Timing is a little different but you can adjust.

didisea
12-22-2012, 08:38 AM
You should develop a packing checklist with everything you need to take to the competition.
You should also develop a cooking plan or timeline, so that you know what you should be doing during the cook. I have seen everything from minute by minute to hour blocks. You'll figure out what level of detail you need.
Both of these items are developed from doing several practice cooks of all 4 meats. Anything you use during the practice that you need for the competition should be put on the list. If you want to get really serious, set up your site in the yard/driveway like you would at a comp. This helps you get a feel for how to layout your gear.
Practice making boxes and take photos of your "turn ins" and compare them to what people have posted on the interwebs. Read the KCBS rules found on their site, so that you can practice with those rules in mind. If you don't understand what they mean by a certain rule, ask us on here and we are happy to explain.

Rub
12-22-2012, 09:28 AM
This would be an excellent way to spend a weekend in March prepping you for 2013: Swamp Boys Q School (http://www.swampboys.com/wordpress/?p=799)
Just sayin... :wink:

indianagriller
12-22-2012, 03:41 PM
COOK!... every week since the end of October I have had my pit fired up cooking one of the meat categories using comp timeline... and as Rub said a high quality class isn't a bad thing...

JS-TX
12-22-2012, 04:41 PM
If you have a lot of comps nearby I would suggest judging one before you compete. No better way to find out what others are turning in. I agree with the others as well... practice, practice. You really don't want any surprises when you are at a comp. You will be hooked after your 1st one... just a warning. :biggrin1:

triplezip
12-22-2012, 04:44 PM
Guys, thank you. Some great advice here. This definitely helps.

Smokin Mike
12-22-2012, 06:28 PM
This would be an excellent way to spend a weekend in March prepping you for 2013: Swamp Boys Q School (http://www.swampboys.com/wordpress/?p=799)
Just sayin... :wink:

I agree, taking a comp class will help with the learning curve, and cheaper, then doing a couple comps, and doing o.k. Then figure out a comp class is probably needed.

White Dog BBQ
12-22-2012, 08:08 PM
I agree, taking a comp class will help with the learning curve, and cheaper, then doing a couple comps, and doing o.k. Then figure out a comp class is probably needed.

I have to disagree here -- taking a comp class before you've done a comp, at least in my opinion, is a bit of a waste. It's like trying to give someone advanced instruction in baseball if they've never played a game. I really think you need to get a few under your belt to truly appreciate and benefit from a class.

I would spend the majority of your time this off season getting to know that new cooker. You need to know how it cooks, no matter how crummy the weather and how unique the circumstances. In the last couple of years more than half of our contests have had some sort of adverse weather condition (heavy rain and/or heavy wind). Last thing you want to do is get in a situation where you can't figure out your cooker!

Erik

txschutte
12-22-2012, 09:31 PM
A few of the things these guys got me to do was set reachable goals. We went in just to have fun. We said no DQ's, and no DAL's.

We achieved our goals and even walked!

After a few under my belt, we decided that education was a big thing this year. We went ahead and signed up for CBJ classes, and got enrolled into a comp cooking class.

arrowhead
12-22-2012, 09:45 PM
A few of the things these guys got me to do was set reachable goals. We went in just to have fun. We said no DQ's, and no DAL's.

We achieved our goals and even walked!

After a few under my belt, we decided that education was a big thing this year. We went ahead and signed up for CBJ classes, and got enrolled into a comp cooking class.

hey, (if you haven't been to the classes yet) gothenburg is having a cbj class on april 24th and kelly wertz (4 legs up) is having a class in gothenburg on march 1st and 2nd.

txschutte
12-22-2012, 09:48 PM
Thanks for the heads up!

arrowhead
12-22-2012, 09:54 PM
Thanks for the heads up!

are you going to be around the shop in cozad next thursday? i'll bring some flyers by.

txschutte
12-22-2012, 10:01 PM
Nope. I'll be in Jamaica. I'll PM you my number, and I'll get hooked up with you when I get back in the new year.

arrowhead
12-22-2012, 10:03 PM
Nope. I'll be in Jamaica. I'll PM you my number, and I'll get hooked up with you when I get back in the new year.

if i had the chance, i'd prefer jamaica to cozad/gothenburg also. lol. have a great trip, talk to ya when you get back.

Smokin Mike
12-22-2012, 11:18 PM
I have to disagree here -- taking a comp class before you've done a comp, at least in my opinion, is a bit of a waste. It's like trying to give someone advanced instruction in baseball if they've never played a game. I really think you need to get a few under your belt to truly appreciate and benefit from a class.

I would spend the majority of your time this off season getting to know that new cooker. You need to know how it cooks, no matter how crummy the weather and how unique the circumstances. In the last couple of years more than half of our contests have had some sort of adverse weather condition (heavy rain and/or heavy wind). Last thing you want to do is get in a situation where you can't figure out your cooker!

Erik


My own experience only.

I never cooked at any bbq comp, ever. I had no clue what to do, went to a couple bbq competitions around my area, and looked like something I wanted to do.

I took a comp class, practiced what they taught, and went in all green to my first comp in NKC. I was in the middle of the pack, with a no brisket turn in. Next comp, I won a rib trophy, and never looked back.

Erik is right, you got to know your smoker. I bought new Yoder's for next year just for the trill of cooking on something new to me.

CBQ
12-23-2012, 01:01 AM
Since you live on Long Island, start practicing adding sugar to your BBQ. Lots and lots of sugar. Sweet sells on Long Island.

Also, your competitors are easily distracted. Here is Long Island's own Stubborn Bull during the turn ins at the Sam's Club National BBQ tour finals.

What are they doing with the 150k prize pool on the line? Checking recipes? Reading the rules? No, they are...refinancing their house.

I hear it's even easier to distract that BBQ Brethren team with a few adult beverages. :becky:

BABYGOTBUTT
12-23-2012, 06:29 PM
I have to disagree here -- taking a comp class before you've done a comp, at least in my opinion, is a bit of a waste. It's like trying to give someone advanced instruction in baseball if they've never played a game. I really think you need to get a few under your belt to truly appreciate and benefit from a class.

I would spend the majority of your time this off season getting to know that new cooker. You need to know how it cooks, no matter how crummy the weather and how unique the circumstances. In the last couple of years more than half of our contests have had some sort of adverse weather condition (heavy rain and/or heavy wind). Last thing you want to do is get in a situation where you can't figure out your cooker!

Erik
I absoultly agree!

DawgPhan
12-23-2012, 08:38 PM
to be honest the best way to prep for a competition season is to save every single penny you can before you start. This is an expensive hobby and there are shiny new toys at every turn.

The second thing to do would be to make sure you nail down every bit of brownie points you can put together as well. The week leading up to a contest and the week after a contest become bbq weeks.

As you get into a routine you can reduce the strain on doing contests, but at first it is a lot to handle, even with a teammate, especially if that teammate is also in experienced.

But it is a lot of fun, super rewarding, and you will meet lots of really great people. Most everyone will give you a straight answer to any question.

Good luck.

BigBellyBBQ
12-24-2012, 06:24 AM
This would be an excellent way to spend a weekend in March prepping you for 2013: Swamp Boys Q School (http://www.swampboys.com/wordpress/?p=799)
Just sayin... :wink:
this type of school will be money well spent, lots of good teams offer a class..search them out and go to where thier style might be simular to yours..and when you get back home...practice..