View Full Version : Tips needed for 1st comp

grill 'em all
01-21-2013, 07:23 PM
I've been a backyard chef for the last 10 yrs of my life.My best friend & I have decided to give the "Dont Be Cruel" BBQ comp a try.Since Tupelo is a short drive we figure theres nothin but time & entry fees to lose.The worst that can happen is we eat good & down a few cold ones.While we are entering to have a good time,I would like to gain some inside knowledge about the ins & outs of a comp.Any thing you guys have learned over the years yall wouldnt mind sharing would be a big help..KCBS rules I believe.


01-21-2013, 07:24 PM
Above ALL ELSE ....... Have FuN!!!!

01-21-2013, 07:26 PM
Read "Starting the fire" by George Hensler (I think that's spelled right)
Attend a judge class, and read some of the stickies in the comp section for starters. Start with KC queers guide

01-21-2013, 08:00 PM
Make a plan well ahead of time including every detail, and I mean EVERY detail, of your cook from prep through turnins. Write it down and distribute it to every member of your team. Follow it religiously throughout the cook. Take extra care to make your boxes pretty and fill em up with your best meat available.

01-21-2013, 08:10 PM
Use this checklist provided by Smoking Guns BBQ. You may not need everything on the list but it will help you not forget the important stuff.


And remember, according to Myron Mixon, you can't win the party on Friday night and then win the contest on Saturday. Have fun and have a good cook.

Hawg Father of Seoul
01-21-2013, 08:28 PM
Don't get TOO drunk on Friday night. Some of these guys are pros (AKA Habitual Smokers) and can BBQ drunker than heck, but YOU can not at your first comp.

Save getting real drunk till Saturday. Drunk is better than hung over any day.

Our first comp (only done 4 now) we could not find up. Took two years for our second one. Our goal was to finish in the top half and we did that.

Yeah, realistic goals are good too.

rib runners
01-21-2013, 09:44 PM
GO FOR IT! :thumb:

A little over done meat is better than under done.

Your timing of the entries is all important. Try to not get behind on your process.
You will get more confortable every time you do one.

Good Luck, Ron

01-21-2013, 10:01 PM
Start practicing, get your timing down cooking the meats.

01-21-2013, 10:27 PM
Take a camper and cook lots of food between now and then

01-22-2013, 09:44 AM
If possible do a full practice on a competition time line with your full setup in your yard. Cook all the meats, and make boxes and do turn ins on your sanctioning bodies timeline.
Have one person be the recorder, make a packing list, supply list, cooking times, and take pictures of your boxes and setup. Most of all have fun.

01-22-2013, 09:46 AM
Have a good game plan, practice what you plan to do on contest day. Enjoy what you're doing.

01-22-2013, 09:51 AM
I think the best tip I got from the members here before I started was to do a full practice cook at home. Everything from setup to breakdown. Shoot for the typical turn-in times just as you will for the comp and document the entire cook to ensure you know what time you did everything so that you can then build a plan for the real comp cook. This will allow you to make adjustments to your cook schedule in case things are over or undercooked. You will also want to do your turn in boxes. Go get some boxes, I get mine from a local restuarant that we eat in alot, and build your boxes so that you can see how long that will take and how it will figure into your schedule as well. Also, keep a list of everything you go into the house for, this becomes your packing list. Above all else, have a good time and heed the warnings of too much booze on friday night. You're going to be tired on Saturday and having a hangover on top of that will just make the day suck.

grill 'em all
01-22-2013, 10:26 AM
my local grocer doesnt stock parsley that I will need for building boxes.is there a suitable substitute I can use?

Also I am planning on using 2 UDS's in the comp.I'll only be entering chicken,pulled pork & ribs as I not very happy with my brisket.I have the parts to put another drum together if needed & enough time to get it seasoned.I can get an easy 12 hrs cooking time on either of the 2 drums I have.

I see a lot of pros(on TV) use chicken thighs.I mainly cook bone in breasts & wings at home.Do yall think the judges will dislike any chicken turn ins that arent thighs?

Another yardbird question:
I am fond of Mr.Trumps Death Dust.It hits my taste buds just right(HOT).
would it be to risky to use said dust at the comp? I could easily light a judge with sensitive taste buds mouth on fire.worth the risk?

I view this comp as gaining experince.Its just like going to the casino,would love to win but not disappointed if I dont.

Full Draw BBQ
01-22-2013, 10:43 AM
I would go into the comp with a basic goal: Get all 4 categories turned in ON time.

From there you can start to improve and change your timing and strategy. At your first comp the times come fast, I mean REALLY fast. Just trying to get everything out of the camper and to the table is an issue. Looking at basic turn in boxes online, and having a plan going into each 30 minute segment will help. Figure out what your rough times are from the time your meat hits the pit, until it's ready to be boxed (including rest times), and work backwards to what time you need to start cooking. There is no such thing as being TOO organized.

and most important........have fun!!!!!!!!!

01-22-2013, 10:44 AM
If it is a kcbs event you should also do brisket. Even if you are not happy with it, you need a score in it to be eligible for grand and reserve.

As for your first contest practice at least once, write down the times that you need to each step in your cook, make a packing list, realize before you even go that you are probably going to forget something, pack foil and duct tape, together you can use them for almost anything. Finally have fun and get to know the cooks around you.

01-22-2013, 11:09 AM
Another yardbird question:
I am fond of Mr.Trumps Death Dust.It hits my taste buds just right(HOT).
would it be to risky to use said dust at the comp? I could easily light a judge with sensitive taste buds mouth on fire.worth the risk?


Hawg Father of Seoul
01-22-2013, 11:32 AM
You can do it on two UDS. As long as 1 has two racks. I would take a third as back up.

mr dirts bbq
01-22-2013, 12:09 PM
i agree with what a previous comment said about the 4 categories, even if your brisket sucks still do it get some points in that category who cares that its not 180

01-22-2013, 07:02 PM
Two drums should bo no problem. You could do a Brisket on one rack and pork butts on the other. Just plan it wo they're all done 4-5 hours before turn in. That will free that drum up to be used for chicken in the morning. But more drums is always better for convience.
DEFINITELY cook all the catergories. If you're weak on one, cook it more than the others.

01-22-2013, 07:24 PM
Cook your best, but dont't get p-o'd about your scores, too much. Then be prepared to be hooked. By Sunday you'll be planning your next comp.

Mr. D
01-22-2013, 07:30 PM
good luck "grill 'em all", I see your from Houston Ms. I have a lot of family in Houston and the surrounding area. I thought about trying out Tupelo myself. Just cook like you always cook and get it turned in on time. Have lots of fun and learn a lot so you will be even more prepared for your next comp.