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View Full Version : QUESTION: how can you get started in a competition?


aHughJassDude
06-09-2013, 12:40 AM
I'm very interested in participating or at least going to a few BBQ competitions, but I had some questions about participating.

If your traveling out of state for a competition, how do you pick your meat? Are suppliers with great meat easy to find just about everywhere? Or do you have to find a way to refrigerate all your own meat for the journey?

Also, is there a beginners division for most contests?

Greatly appreciated! Thanks!

themidniteryder
06-09-2013, 01:38 AM
As far as a beginners division, that would be a "back yard comp". Occasionally the CBBQA (California BBQ Association) will put one on. Getting involved with them will lead you to some good friends and advice. There is a comp coming up June 22 at pechanga that would be a good opportunity for you to come out and get a feel for a comp. Visit http://www.kcbs.us/events.php to find dates and locations of comps that are close enough for you to attend. I do catering and vending, working my way toward comp, and the best advice I can give is get involved with the BBQ organizations, take a cooking class, maybe a judges class, and meet some of the folks already involved in competition.

Sawdustguy
06-09-2013, 04:45 AM
If your traveling out of state for a competition, how do you pick your meat? Are suppliers with great meat easy to find just about everywhere? Or do you have to find a way to refrigerate all your own meat for the journey?

Most teams travel and a cooler for your meat packed with ice works very well. There is no reason to buy your meat where you compete.

Ron_L
06-09-2013, 07:45 AM
Look for a competition in your area and see if there is a Brethren team cooking who will let you hang out or even help out. There is a Brethren Mentoring section of the forum where you may be able to hook up with a team. At the very least go to a comp and walk around and talk to the teams. At a typical Friday-Saturday KCBS competition most teams have time to visit on Friday evening.

Alsom pick up a copy of the book Startin' The Fire by Brethren member George Hensler (http://amzn.com/1890689149). It is a great guide to getting started in BBQ Competitions.

There are also classes offered all around the country if you want to go that route. Harry Soo of Slap yo' Daddy holds classes in Souther California. A lot of classes are listed here in the comp section.

As far as meat, there are lots of places to get meat. Local butchers or meat markets, Walmart, Sam's Club, Costco, Restaurant Depot. You don't have to spend $150 on a Wagyu brisket or $75 on a heritage pork butt to do well in a competition. As Guy said, most of us buy locally and bring our meat with us to a comp. A couple of years ago we had a competition the weekend after a family vacation to se took our trailer with us on the vacation and left it at a Brethren member's house, but I took a cooler with my briskets in it and kept it full of ice during the vacation. Then on the way back from the vacation we stopped at a Restaurant Depot to pick up ribs and butts and bought chicken at a local grocery store.

Good luck!

Alexa RnQ
06-09-2013, 08:30 AM
Yes, a five-day cooler from WalMart packed with ice has taken our meat everywhere, including on multiday trips, with no problem (the longer trips did require replenishment of the ice).

The recommendation to take a judging class is a good one, and if I'm not mistaken, there is a contest in Temecula on the 21st/22nd (Pechanga) that you could hit to look at the many, many different ways teams set up for contests. You'll see a ton of different cookers and camp layouts, and get plenty of ideas of how to work with the equipment you have.

Fornia
06-09-2013, 09:08 AM
Take a judging class, read George's book (Startin the Fire), reach out to lend a hand/observe....then take the addictive splash. :)

Funtimebbq
06-09-2013, 09:24 AM
Come by and visit with teams at the Pechanga Casino contest on the 21st/22nd. There is also a contest in Vista the 1st weekend in Aug. Funtime BBQ will be at both. You're welcome to stop by either day, preferably Friday, to see our set up.
Another group to look at is the SoCal Meat Up. They have held backyard contests where a mentor assigned to each of the contestants.

Hozman
06-09-2013, 09:25 AM
I agree with everything plus a lot of $$. This is our first year and between equipment non including the smokers, fees, meat, travel.....way more than we estimated. But then like yesterday you hear your team name called and it was all worth it.

Ron_L
06-09-2013, 09:29 AM
I agree with everything plus a lot of $$. This is our first year and between equipment non including the smokers, fees, meat, travel.....way more than we estimated. But then like yesterday you hear your team name called and it was all worth it.

Yeah, it does tend to be a money pit :-D

hedge
06-09-2013, 09:48 AM
My dad and I have started by doing smaller events and slowly build up our "wishlist". It's a hobby, so of course it's expensive.