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View Full Version : 1st comp coming up, feeling the pressure


jketron
01-13-2013, 06:28 PM
I'm going jump into the comp BBQ circuit this year. I've read, I've studied, I've taken classes, I've judged, I've practiced.... I am excited!!!!!


I'd love to hear any advice you have, dos donts...

Videos... I'll tak anything when it comes to learning

Teamfour
01-13-2013, 06:36 PM
Read Starting the Fire by George Hensler.

jketron
01-13-2013, 06:38 PM
I've read that and loved it, I second the vote for that reading.

"Bone to Bark" BBQ
01-13-2013, 06:45 PM
1. Don't kill your self "over-preparing"
2. Do take your cooking seriously
3. Do ENJOY the experience
4. Don't finish DAL

Those and a few other common sense things will make for a great time!

Meat Man
01-13-2013, 07:09 PM
When and where is your first comp?

jketron
01-13-2013, 07:29 PM
High Desert BBQ Showdown, Victorville CA

Ive got Johnny's class and a few judgings before then to take in more knowledge

Meat Man
01-13-2013, 08:13 PM
I don't know if you have yet, but one thing that really helped me prepare for my first contest was actually doing a four meat cook. I only did one practice four meat cook, but it really helped me.

kenthanson
01-13-2013, 09:10 PM
DO NOT GET SH*TTY DRUNK ON FRIDAY NIGHT!!!
That is all.

JerryA
01-13-2013, 09:24 PM
Lots of time before your fist comp.. Practice your timing. Make sure you're happy with your 4 meats and then it's all about executing it at the comp.
Most importantly make all your turn ins and have fun!

jketron
01-13-2013, 09:26 PM
What are you folks using for hot water? Clean up water

nucornhusker
01-13-2013, 09:33 PM
I ran a full practice comp the week before to get my timing down and get one out of the way so to speak. I was more nervous when I did that, than when I actually competed. Being at a comp and the fun atmosphere, BBQ camaraderie and all that goes along with it, just made it so fun I didn't feel nervous, and I did well.

But again, a full practice cook is a good idea.

Ron_L
01-13-2013, 09:36 PM
I don't know if you have yet, but one thing that really helped me prepare for my first contest was actually doing a four meat cook. I only did one practice four meat cook, but it really helped me.

Do this! Set up in your yard just as you will at the comp and run a mock competition. Every time you have to go into the house for something, write it down!

For hot water lots of guys use an igloo drink cooler and boil water with a turkey fryer and put it in the drink cooler. It will stay hot for hours.

JerryA
01-14-2013, 12:19 AM
What are you folks using for hot water? Clean up water

I use a Coleman Hot Water On Demand that I bought used on eBay

altomari8868
01-14-2013, 12:41 AM
Three things:
* Have a time line written down from when you arrive till when you leave. It was a huge help when I first started...
* Stick with what you practiced. Do not get caught up changing because you heard or may have seen another team doing something. Write things down as you go and make changes when and if you need to when it is practice time.
* Have fun and really take in the entire experience, call it a win for yourself if you do not finish D-A-L.
Good luck and let us know how you did... :eusa_clap

Hawg Father of Seoul
01-14-2013, 06:36 AM
Lots of good advice here, pay attention to the not getting drunk part.

You are plenty prepared. If you can not pull it off now (with all that money spent) you never will. Good luck.

NRA4Life
01-14-2013, 06:39 AM
Keep your expectations moderate, and have fun.

Tack
01-14-2013, 08:02 AM
I wholeheartedly agree with doing a complete practice cook and following a timeline.
For the practice cook set up just like you will be doing at the comp including any sleeping arraingments. The more you make it like the actual comp the better you will be prepared.

New Pal Frank
01-14-2013, 10:31 AM
Before our 1st comp, we did 2 overnight 4 meat practice cook all the way down to the Mrs. doing parsley boxes and having ALL turn-ins done on the KCBS turn-in schedule.

It helped a great deal.

As said above, make a list of everything you use in your practice cooks and when you find out you need a simi to haul it all, trim down to what you NEED and not All the stuff you think you need.

Good luck and hope you hear your name called. ( then you will be hooked ):razz:

Candy Sue
01-14-2013, 10:44 AM
What are you folks using for hot water? Clean up water

I go the disposable route. Disposable cutting boards, pan liners for full size pans, a box of gloves, lots of knives each with a purpose. Trim as much as possible at home. Whatever needs washing goes home in the dirty cooker -- all of which gets washed at home!

SlugBug
01-14-2013, 10:48 AM
And another vote for at least one (and maybe 2) full run practices at home. The closer to contest conditions the better. Like Candy Sue, I also trim all meats at home and use as much disposable stuff as possible. It makes the comp so much easier. Welcome to the deep end of the pool - you will be hooked. Regards.

K-Train
01-14-2013, 10:53 AM
DO NOT GET SH*TTY DRUNK ON FRIDAY NIGHT!!!
That is all.
Or Saturday morning:grin:

Meat Meets Meat
01-14-2013, 11:05 AM
A couple rubber floor mats in your cook area will save your feet. And a table raised up to the right height will save your back. We learned those lessons the hard way.

timzcardz
01-14-2013, 11:19 AM
I'll make it simple for you.

You're not going to win. So simply enjoy yourself, meet as many other competitors as you can, and take it all in. You'll learn a lot that way, have a great experience and will not risk disappointment.

Derrick D
01-14-2013, 12:27 PM
A couple rubber floor mats in your cook area will save your feet. And a table raised up to the right height will save your back. We learned those lessons the hard way.
He said a mouthful here!

HawgNationBBQ
01-14-2013, 12:41 PM
1. Have a timeline written
2. Strive to not come in last
3. And, have fun!

K-Train
01-14-2013, 01:04 PM
Take good notes on everything. I usually write them on my score sheets afterward and on my phone during.

Pole D
01-14-2013, 02:39 PM
I go the disposable route. Disposable cutting boards, pan liners for full size pans, a box of gloves, lots of knives each with a purpose. Trim as much as possible at home. Whatever needs washing goes home in the dirty cooker -- all of which gets washed at home!


This is what we do.

sweetracks
01-14-2013, 02:51 PM
This is what we do.

We started doing this last year and it was really nice not worrying about dishes. Ours usually set until Sunday morning though....It's straight to the bed for me when I get home

Sawdustguy
01-14-2013, 03:31 PM
I'll make it simple for you.

You're not going to win. So simply enjoy yourself, meet as many other competitors as you can, and take it all in. You'll learn a lot that way, have a great experience and will not risk disappointment.

What he said. Look, your first comp is a learning experience. We do this to have fun or at least the Polocks do. Go easy on yourself, enjoy your experience and most of all enjoy yourself.

John Bowen
01-14-2013, 05:31 PM
I would suggest practicing cooking during the late night hours – like starting your smoker up at 10 pm or at 2 am. There is a difference to starting up a smoker on a cool / chilly night and starting one up on a sunny warm day. On our first comp we lost over an hour getting up to temp starting the fire the way we did. Plus it was a little difficult for us working at night – we have adequate lights now but we learned the hard way.
We also learned a lot from the first comp we did where it stormed on us – Lord have mercy did we learn a lot.

sdbbq1234
01-14-2013, 05:56 PM
I ran a full practice comp the week before to get my timing down and get one out of the way so to speak. I was more nervous when I did that, than when I actually competed. Being at a comp and the fun atmosphere, BBQ camaraderie and all that goes along with it, just made it so fun I didn't feel nervous, and I did well.

But again, a full practice cook is a good idea.

+1.

Once you get there and get set-up, get meat inspected, have a beer or 2, you'll find it much more relaxing, until Saturday morning around 9:00. Then reality sets in! This is the fun part of "anxiety"!

Enjoy it as time will fly by!

wallace

The_Kapn
01-14-2013, 06:56 PM
Do not "over-think" this!!

You have done a ton of prep work!

Put it to use---Just go cook, use what you have learned, and have a great time!!!

This is supposed to be fun--at least that is what they all tell me :oops:

TIM

kenthanson
01-14-2013, 08:02 PM
A couple rubber floor mats in your cook area will save your feet. And a table raised up to the right height will save your back. We learned those lessons the hard way.

I got a length of 1 1/2" pvc pipe and cut it into 8 inch chunks and put them over the legs to raise our tables up, works like a charm.

jketron
01-14-2013, 11:09 PM
I got a length of 1 1/2" pvc pipe and cut it into 8 inch chunks and put them over the legs to raise our tables up, works like a charm.

That sounds like a hot tip, thank you.

I don't really drink so we are safe to not eat drunk. Time for some full blown practice runs! The folks at work love when I bring in leftovers

CBQ
01-14-2013, 11:12 PM
Rookie mistake I made: make sure you have a canopy with WALLS. Rain splashes in about 3 feet from the edge...figure out how much of a dry area you have in a 10x10 without walls. :becky:

Meat Man
01-14-2013, 11:53 PM
With all the comps in CA it would be hard for me to wait till April. Best of luck, if you have any questions just ask, the Brethren are great and love to help.

jketron
02-12-2013, 12:55 PM
I've signed up for the end of March in Vegas..... woot!!

Pappy Q
02-12-2013, 04:28 PM
All the things already said and once there, don't worry about what everyone else is doing...stay on YOUR plan and focus on the details.

jketron
02-12-2013, 08:31 PM
That sounds like solid advice, I'm not too nervous. I'm more excited than anything. My plan is to have fun, meet the turn in's and just stay the course.

roksmith
02-13-2013, 06:13 AM
Best advice I can give is to shoot for the beginning of the turn in window and then still give yourself a few minutes of a buffer. Having it ready 5 minutes early never caused a DAL. 5 seconds late? almost always.

jketron
02-13-2013, 06:39 PM
New canopies arrived, woot!

Stoke&Smoke
02-13-2013, 06:42 PM
When and where?

MattCom
02-13-2013, 07:02 PM
Have a clock on the wall and your timeline written down and keep to it.
And for Christs sake, have fun!

jketron
02-13-2013, 07:59 PM
When and where?


When and where what?

Stoke&Smoke
02-14-2013, 06:35 PM
Sorry...missed the end of March in Vegas post - good luck! And have fun!

jketron
02-14-2013, 11:06 PM
I'm so glad I'm test running even single meats for timing and practice. I nailed it for ribs tonight except for taste, putting my judge hat on I think they were salty. Tenderness was real good in the mid section and the look was right on.


Practice, practice, practice

Atlasman
02-14-2013, 11:13 PM
My first contest ever was last year and you have some excellent advice here so far. I will add what I think ended up being most important to me.

Prep your chicken the night before (read the rules to know what not to do)

Don't let other cooks influence what you are doing. Have confidence in what you are doing and realize you are fully capable of turning in a fine product. I was watching and talking with the guy next to me and his big cuts were 30-40 degrees ahead of mine by 2 am. I thought I was doing something wrong and started to second guess my timelines. In the end his food was aweful and I was dead on where I wanted to be.

Practice making your turn in boxes........trust me it takes more effort then you think and sloppy scores on appearance will kill you.

I was nervous, and I felt intimidated like everyone knew all these secrets I could only hope to not come in last against. I looked at the list of team names and there were no less than four BBQ Pitmasters competitors and many other teams of local "fame".

We had a GREAT time........every person we met was friendly and we laughed so much all night it was like a huge party. Suddenly everyone got serious and the chit chat stopped.......it was Gametime. We focused on what we knew and what we do best and my wife and I finished 11th out of 42 teams and we took two trophies and a check home for 6th in ribs and 3rd in pork. When it was all said and done the Pitmasters teams were looking up at us.

I won't lie..........it was fun as hell to hear our names called at the awards ceremony. It's addictive and it's also funny how your mindset can quickly shift to actually believing you can win one of these things......LOL

I'm sure I have humbling experiences in my future too numerous to count but don't be afraid to be proud of your talents. You may just be surprised at how well you do!!!!


Funniest of all is I was SURE if we got lucky enough to get a call it would be in chicken ........thought we nailed it spot on. Still don't know what we did wrong but it was our worst score of the contest LOL!!!!


Good luck!

bmonkman
02-15-2013, 05:32 AM
Now I have not yet done a competition, but I read the following on here.

Do a practice run that will simulate the competition. Before you do that put out everything you think you will need to take with you in a staging area. Make a list of everything in the staging area. Check the items off the list as you use them. If you have to go get something that wasn't in the staging area add it to the list. Anything you don't end up using you probably don't need. The items checked off on the list will make up our packing list for the competition.

When I read this it made total sense to me and I will follow this advice when I manage to compete for the first time.

Good luck and let us know how things are going periodically.

Brian

jketron
02-15-2013, 10:54 AM
For Pre prep of chicken I think I can do all the knife trimming I want to do abd that's it, correct? Absolutely nothing else(brine, seasoning it whatever..)

I'd like to Pre trim all my meats (knife only) is there any reason to not Pre trim?

Again I only mean knife trim and nothing more.

boogiesnap
02-15-2013, 11:09 AM
definitely pre-trim if possible.

jketron
02-15-2013, 12:36 PM
Pre trim is the plan

JD McGee
02-15-2013, 01:35 PM
You can pre-trim all your meats...just can't season or inject them. You can even pre-make your boxes then transfer them to your comp boxes. Have your gameplan handy and an accurate clock that you verify with the judges official one. Know your pit and how it cooks in different weather situations. Have an idea how you want to arrange the mets in your turn in boxes and ONLY put in the best meat...do not worry if your money muscle is mush...go with chunks and pulled. If your flat is poppin' and your cubed point is not...go with the slices. Be DAMN sure your chicken is cooked...and above all...RELAX...it ain't rocket science...:cool:

Sent from my DROID3 using Tapatalk 2

jketron
02-15-2013, 11:22 PM
Is there a minimum equipment list that the contest requires beyond a fire extinguisher? As for the extinguisher, I would imagine an ABC would be fine, any particular size?

Mr C
02-16-2013, 06:53 AM
Don't change your meats. I did my first competition last year and went with a different source for brisket. The meat turned out tough and cost me points so stay with a source your happy with if the meats bad to start it will cost more in the end. good luck and enjoy your self.:becky:

jketron
02-16-2013, 10:20 PM
I'm looking over my equipment and my Ford Explorer... Anyone got a shoe-horn?

This may be an excuse to by a new truck:)

gettinbasted
02-16-2013, 10:37 PM
I'm looking over my equipment and my Ford Explorer... Anyone got a shoe-horn?

This may be an excuse to by a new truck:)

Ohhhh, you will buy a new truck, and then a better smoker because the truck can pull it, then you will want an enclosed trailer, now that old new truck is just a touch too small for your new fancy trailer... So you buy another new truck. The circle of competition barbecue life!

jketron
02-16-2013, 10:45 PM
I'd like a trailer now, wife wants a dual purpose trailer like a toy hauler.

jketron
02-16-2013, 10:49 PM
Seriously I'm just going to pull a rented trailer the first few events. See how it all starts to pan out for me. The first event I'm in is at a casino and I have room. Wife will crash there and come give me a brake so I can grab a couple hours.

jketron
02-17-2013, 03:41 PM
I've changed what will be my first comp, I'm going to do the Silverton Casino BBQ in Vegas first, then Victorville, then Laughlin

bwsy2k
02-17-2013, 03:57 PM
I love my enclosed trailer. Its also Multi purposed. Deff nice to be able to get out of the elements for prep and all

jketron
02-17-2013, 04:19 PM
whats the common trailer route? Toy Hauler?, they seem cheap used. The Wells Cargo route seems like a nice one too but you have to build it out internally the way you want. The BBQ Extreme route looks great but you can get a used toy hauler for less and its already got the nice amenities in it for less.

I'd love to do a class a motor home so I have the belly storage for all my stuff $$$$$

oh the decisions....

for now I'll rent an open trailer