View Full Version : 1st Comp this summer
12-14-2013, 09:26 PM
I will be competing for the first time this year. I have been smoking for many years but just never had desire to comp. I visited the comp last year and sampled the food and the quality is what drove me to want to compete. Is there any advice for a rookie like myself? Thanks in advance
12-14-2013, 09:52 PM
Do a complete practice comp at home in the yard, learn your timing and what you need/ don't need.
12-14-2013, 11:10 PM
Thanks for advice that's a great idea
12-15-2013, 05:56 AM
I just started competing this year, so I was in your position not that long ago. Here are a few tips from a fellow new competitor:
1. I'd +1 doing a full-on practice run at home in your yard or driveway as if you were at a competition. Check out this link:http://howtobbqright.com/competitionbbq.html for a checklist of stuff you might need. I used that list as a starting point and added/subtracted from there. I'd haul all the stuff you think you'll need out to your practice site and set up as if you were really at a comp, including tents, tables, etc. Even better if you know the site size (10x20, 20x20 are common ones) mark it off and stay within it.
2. +1 again on a timeline. Look at the timeline the Killer Hogs have put together at the link above and work out one similar for yourself and whatever rules/meats you will be following. I write my schedule out in a very detailed way and post it so I can keep up with it. I practiced my timing quite a few times before my first competition and between comps as well without the whole site setup.
Take notes whenever you cook and note what worked/didn't work, etc.
3. Read, read, read, and practice what you read. This forum is a gold mine of information; use the Google bar at the bottom and search for techniques, flavor profiles, and try it out. There are a ton of other resources on the 'net if you just look. I can point you to some more info if you PM me.
4. Most importantly have fun! Being organized and having a plan makes competition day less stressful and allows me to have fun without having to sweat figuring out all the details on the spot.
12-15-2013, 07:35 AM
Set realistic goals for yourself for your first competition, like not finishing last in any category, or finishing top half, maybe a call for 1 meat. So many think they will just come out and dominate and it doesn't happen like that very often, if at all. Most of all, have fun.
We just started last year as well.
Timing is everything. Practice and know how long things take to cook.
Practice building your blind boxes, take pictures... share and get feedback from others. In my honest opinion, unless you have totally destroyed your cook, there is no reason to not get 9's, or even 8's on your appearance. Easy points to take advantage off.
Be prepared to function on no sleep at all.
As others have said, do a practice cook. The important thing is to learn to cook everything at once and hit all of the turn in times. You may be able to cook anything and have it come out great in the backyard, but timing everything so you can turn in 4 meats 30 minutes apart takes some practice.
12-15-2013, 11:40 AM
Do a lot of practice, I mean a lot. I've been competing for 4 years and I practice almost every weekend in the off season and on non competition weekends in season.
12-15-2013, 12:52 PM
PM' me and I will send you a timeline we use. Practice and have fun!
12-15-2013, 02:16 PM
Take a class from a reputable team. $ well spent.
12-15-2013, 03:01 PM
Pretty much +1 all the advice here! Have a good time doing it, that's the main goal when I compete.
12-18-2013, 11:28 PM
Realize that competition cooking is far more about timelines and organizational skills than it is about recipes or tricks. It is the process, and the consistency of that process. What you will find is that IT pros are among the best BBQ teams, as they understand processes and organization.
Go to a cooking class. I know the classes sound high priced, but you will spend far more murdering meat than you will on a class that gives you a foundation in the processes.
When you practice, do so without using a kitchen sink or running water. Use only the equipment you will be hauling to the competition. Use a 5 gallon water jug as your only source of water (but you can fill it as many times as you want). Cooking with limited water will be the biggest challenge you will face in the cooking process.
Best of luck.
12-19-2013, 10:54 AM
I have read it somewhere on here before... I think from Alexa from Rhythm and Que... "Don't practice until you get it right, practice until you can't get it wrong"
Towards the end of our season this year our timeline had become almost automatic, sure we made little tweaks here and there but it was almost second nature.
12-19-2013, 07:24 PM
Take a judging class. It will help you understand what the judges are looking for, and how to critically assess your own meat.
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