PDA

View Full Version : Competing with a dash of hesitation


DirtyDeedz
07-15-2013, 09:49 AM
I got in to smoking a short while ago. I've always appreciated good BBQ, and thought it was time to start doing it myself since the options are limited in my town. I built a UDS and haven't looked back.

I never intended to jump into the competition side of BBQ (unless you count competing with the Father-in-law at family gatherings), but a friend needed some help and has asked me to help him in a local competition. I like to think I'm a good sport and will always help a friend in need, so I agreed. He then asked me to cook my chicken and pork... *gulp* things. just. got. real.

I love my chicken. My wife loves my chicken. My Grandma, brother-in-law, parents, friends, and neighbors love my chicken. William Hung's Grandma probably like his singing(?). In other words, I know there's probably a big difference between Backyard Chicken and Competition Chicken. Singing "She bangs" for Grandma is awkward, but you know she would give you a ticket to Hollywood if she could.

I guess, my question is...will a slaughterhouse brine and simple injection get the job done in a competition, or am I going to be the William Hung of this competition? I hear thighs, and a "bite through" skin are the common practice... I am going to start experimenting on crisping the skin.

Bonus Question for those that compete: Did you get into smoking with competing in mind, or did you just happen upon it? Is it a lot of fun, or is it cutthroat? Just curious.

wrenfro12
07-15-2013, 10:07 AM
Don't sweat it! go and have fun...If it's a KCBS style event it will be blind judging so nobody will know it's yours anyway. The judges will only know a box number they are judging and not a team name. If it's good Q there is nothing to be worried about.

I got into competitions just so I could get better at cooking BBQ. I always work harder when I have a goal ahead of me and the competitions were great motivation.

WARNING!!!!!!! Competition BBQ is addictive and expensive hobby.

DirtyDeedz
07-15-2013, 10:10 AM
Thanks for the reply, Wrenfro! I have a feeling I'm going to get hooked on competing. Not sure I need another hobby, but if it gets me better at cooking BBQ, I'm probably going to love it.

nucornhusker
07-15-2013, 10:51 AM
I've been cooking BBQ for a while, and got into competing after about a year. Comps are an absolute blast and one of my favorite places in the world to be. I'm doing my favorite hobby near a lot of great people.

It is not cutthroat at all. Most teams will share any equipment or tools if you forgot or one broke. Everyone is pretty willing to help everyone, but not at the expense of their own cook, they are there to win too.

If you are wanting to just do it for the experience, go for it. If you are wanting to be serious and really compete, make sure you do a practice run of the cook with a comp timetable. Practice turn in boxes and make it a competition in your back yard with just yourself. Invite over family and friends to eat because you will have a ton of food.

It is also a good idea to go along with another established team and have them mentor you. Help them wash dishes and whatever else they want you to do. You will pick up a lot of needed tips and really get the feel if a comp in action.

However, as said above, it is very addictive and it is expensive. I don't compete nearly as much as I want to due to the expense, so it's an addiction I can't regularly get my fix for.

DirtyDeedz
07-15-2013, 12:39 PM
Awesome! Thank you, Nucornhusker!

I'm guessing most competitions will send out a version of their timetable or is there a commonly used universal? The guy I'm helping might have access to it too...I can ask him.

Glad to hear it's a tight community. It makes it much more fun and easier to participate when everyone is having a good time.

I'll go into this first one taking it seriously. That way I can set a good benchmark.

Thanks again!

nucornhusker
07-15-2013, 12:50 PM
In KCBS, turn-ins a usually 12:00 noon chicken, 12:30 ribs, 1:00 pork, 1:30 brisket. Although that is subject to change depending on the organizer. But these are the most standard turn-in times.

Podge
07-15-2013, 12:59 PM
Bonus Question for those that compete: Did you get into smoking with competing in mind, or did you just happen upon it?

This is a very good question!!.. never thought of it. I can say, I got into BBQ because of competition. I wasn't good at it at all, but when I decided I wanted to get good enough at it to compete, that's what drove me. I guess I can say I had a bbq competition frame of mind ever since I took the art of BBQ seriously. On the other hand, I can see why there's people out there who have BBQ'ed for years and are great at it, then decide to compete and most of the time they do not finish as well as they thought they should.. then, they start dog-cussing competitions.

DirtyDeedz
07-15-2013, 01:56 PM
Yeah, Podge...I didn't think I'd have anything to do with competitions for a long time. Mainly because I'm not exposed to it much. I just started smoking because I loved grilling, and wanted to take my personal grilling to the next level. I'm getting pretty excited for this competition, and if it's half as fun as I think it's going to be, I imagine this won't be my last.

DirtyDeedz
07-15-2013, 01:58 PM
Thanks again Nucornhusker! P.S. How are those bug-eaters going to do this year in Football? :) I truly miss our rivalry, but now I can wish you the best.

CBQ
07-15-2013, 02:20 PM
Just go, have fun.

Only things to keep in mind:


You are cooking on a schedule with a 10 minute turn in window. THAT will be the biggest difference. Practice cooking on a timeline. Aim to have your pork done a couple of hours before the turn in. Resting pork in a cooler won't hurt it, and you will be much less stressed than trying to bring it in just under the wire. Comp teams tend to do "just in time" chicken, but do what you are comfortable with.
Use chicken thighs. The chicken skin should be bite through either by crisping it on the grill or softening it via braising. If you can bite the chicken and not have the whole skin pull off with your bite, you are there.
Braising is something you probably would not do at home, but most competition teams go this route because it's more reliable than crisping. Covering the chicken tightly in a pan for an hour with some sort of liquid (lots of people use Parkay) as part of the cook, but otherwise just do what you normally do, should get you there. Just factor that hour into your cooking time so you don't overcook the chicken.

nucornhusker
07-15-2013, 02:32 PM
Thanks again Nucornhusker! P.S. How are those bug-eaters going to do this year in Football? :) I truly miss our rivalry, but now I can wish you the best.We are setup for a good year, but I've seen that before. Our schedule is favorable, Sr. QB, good RB and a great receiving corps. However I'm still not sold on our O-line, that is where I'm nervous.

On defense we lost some good guys, but I know on both sides of the ball, Bo held (redshirted) a lot of really talented guys back and they now have their shot. I hope things come together for us this year.

It's really tough when you have a run like we had in the 90's where loosing just didn't happen and you put up 3 (should have been 4 due to the '93 season) National Championships. Those squads just made expectations so high it is nearly impossible to ever see that again.

I miss all of the Big 8/12 rivalries. The B1G is great and it's fun to play a lot of these teams year in and year out. A few new rivalries are starting to brew (NU/UW), but growing up with all of those Oklahoma, Colorado, Missouri, and then Texas games, it's tough to let them go. However, when the Big XII ruined the NU/OU rivalry, a lot of those good rivalry feelings just got washed down the drain. If he would have kept that one intact as he should have, and every other conference has protected is best rivalry, leaving would have been much harder.

DirtyDeedz
07-15-2013, 02:48 PM
I couldn't agree more with your assessment of the how the conference stuff played out. Losing our KS rivalry we're forced to try and rekindle and nurture a rivalry with the hogs to the South. I'll miss the all the Big 8/12 rivalries as well.

Since I am a Tiger fan, I wouldn't really know how it feels to have all those NC's under our belt. I've just become used to mediocrity with the occasional good/horrible season sprinkled in. :)

Take care!

DirtyDeedz
07-15-2013, 02:49 PM
CBQ, thanks for the awesome tips! I'm going to try my hand at braising on the next smoke.

mobow
07-15-2013, 05:35 PM
We are cooking Racing for the Que in Lee Summit on the 26th & 27th of July. You are welcome to come see how we do it if interested. Keith

K-Train
07-15-2013, 06:39 PM
Cook what you know, you might surprise yourself. Started BBQ with no intention of competing, but after a while curiosity of how I could do reared it's head. It is very fun, but can also be frustrating. Just gotta set your expectations how you want and stick to them.

fat heads bbq
07-15-2013, 07:25 PM
Deedz just go and have fun. Relax and do it how you do it at home. most important thing is to cross the finish line. the judges will work out the rest. you might even suprise yourself. i have only done 3 comps but have done well enough to keep trying. i started cooking in NCPC competitions (whole hogs) and just got beat up. i quit for a couple years. and decided to give kcbs a go since i had a dang lang sittin around. first time out got 1st in ribs and havent looked back since. be prepared to be addicted.

buttburnersbbq
07-15-2013, 07:52 PM
Do not worry about the Comp. There are great people and always willing to help. Just relax and cook the best BBQ you can. You will learn something new every comp you go to. I did not expect to get into BBQ comp until 5 years ago when our local town was having there first BBQ comp. I did not even think about entering but my neighbors all encouraged me and my wife actually signed me up. I was nervous and not ready . But overall it was a great experience and got hooked ever since. You get to meet some great people and how different everyone technique to cooking there BBQ. No two teams cook the same .

smokinrack
07-16-2013, 07:53 AM
I got into it last year and did one big comp with 60 teams for my first one, had no clue what I was doing and got my butt kicked.Checked out the score cards afterwards and seen a lot of it was based on appearance and I had misunderstood the rules on chicken at that comp and thought it had to be pulled :doh:

Spent a lot of time on here, did some research and entered my second one this year, got 3rd in chicken and 4th in ribs out of 28 teams.Now Im trying to figure out how to afford doing more of them:biggrin1:

Relax, have fun, and do whatever you do at your first one, then go from there, use it as a learning experience cuz the score cards will tell you a lot at the end of it.

Pappy Q
07-16-2013, 08:28 AM
I stumbled upon it and met Podge at that first comp. He lit a fire under my ass that has continued to burn out of control. It's an obession of the greatest kind with amazing highs and gut busting lows. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

DirtyDeedz
07-16-2013, 09:05 AM
Thanks for all the encouragement! I can tell the BBQ community is close by reading your comments, and I truly appreciate that. Camaraderie makes all the difference in the world.

Mobow, thank you for the invite! That's an extremely kind gesture. If I can get away from the house next weekend, I'll send you a message (and I definitely don't mind cleaning dishes or doing the grunt work).

mobow
07-16-2013, 10:57 AM
Thanks for all the encouragement! I can tell the BBQ community is close by reading your comments, and I truly appreciate that. Camaraderie makes all the difference in the world.

Mobow, thank you for the invite! That's an extremely kind gesture. If I can get away from the house next weekend, I'll send you a message (and I definitely don't mind cleaning dishes or doing the grunt work).

I will show you the art of disposable. No dishes. Keith

DirtyDeedz
07-16-2013, 11:22 AM
Haha, fair enough! Thanks Keith.

By the way, I know it's probably going to be quite different than the years past, but this competition I'm going to is the Rhythm N' Q BBQ Festival (Formerly part of the Roots Blues & BBQ Festival in Columbia MO). Anyone from this forum attending?