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View Full Version : How To Handle "The Public"


QansasjayhawQ
04-15-2007, 05:08 PM
I saw the query by Curt (cmcadams) regarding educating the public as to the protocol for BBQ sampling at competitions (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showpost.php?p=380319&postcount=2) and I immediately thought 'That was exactly a question of mine' this past weekend. Because I didn't want to hijack that thread, I thought I should start a new one.

Because of the adverse weather this weekend in Osage City, KS I think we had exactly three members of the general public who stopped by to chat with Todd and myself . . . and none of them asked for a sample . . . but I thought maybe perhaps we should have offered a sample, but I didn't know if that was proper or not.

I personally am of the 'Feed the Hungry, Shelter the Homeless, Cloth the Naked' persuasion, but I didn't know what was proper at a competition.

What is the generally accepted method for dealing with the public regarding samples, etc. at a competition?

Thanks in advance for any guidance, thoughts, etc. on this.

/Brother Dave

ole'e
04-15-2007, 05:13 PM
It kind of depends on the persons attitude. If they come up and just ask for a sample I say NO! If they come up and talk me up about the cooker where we are from etc. I will usually offer if I have something.

QansasjayhawQ
04-15-2007, 05:34 PM
It kind of depends on the persons attitude. If they come up and just ask for a sample I say NO! If they come up and talk me up about the cooker where we are from etc. I will usually offer if I have something.

And that's the way all three were . . . just asking about methods, cookers, fuel, etc.

I would have been proud to fish out some of the delicious morsels that Todd was throwing away(!) and hand them out to folks . . . :wink:

Bigdog
04-15-2007, 05:46 PM
And that's the way all three were . . . just asking about methods, cookers, fuel, etc.

I would have been proud to fish out some of the delicious morsels that Todd was throwing away(!) and hand them out to folks . . . :wink:

Todd was throwing away good food? Bad boy!! Yes, I agree with ole'e. Another reason for handing out samples would be if you were trying to sell them a rub or sauce.

QansasjayhawQ
04-15-2007, 05:59 PM
Todd was throwing away good food? Bad boy!! Yes, I agree with ole'e. Another reason for handing out samples would be if you were trying to sell them a rub or sauce.

Thanks for that thought, Bigdog.

Yep - he sliced off the fat cap (at least that's what I think you call it - the top layer on an entire brisket) and pitched it into the trash can and I danged near dove in after it!

I'm the kinda guy who meticulously picks all the morsels of meat from out between all the fat. I KNOW there was lotsa good meat in there . . . it just would've taken a little effort to go diggin' for it.

But yeah - giving out samples trying to sell our rub or sauce - that's a reasonable reason. Thanks!

ole'e
04-15-2007, 06:01 PM
Usually if we traveled along ways and do not want to deal with the left overs I will put the pan out. I also do not have a problem brining the food home and vacum packing it.

HoDeDo
04-15-2007, 06:04 PM
I'll typically rope the public into anything I have going if they ask. And, I always have alot of food left after the contests. Sometimes I will freeze for leftovers, etc. And sometimes I will set it out to get it eaten up so I don't have to transport it. As long as they are not solely trolling for free food, I am usually happy to share whatever I have.

Another point ( which may not matter to some) - is you never know who you will be walking up to you. I spent about 30 min talking with a couple of guys about pros/cons of venues, what you tie contests too (festivals, etc). He also had alot of questions about the process. I figured if we were talking shop now about process, he'd better start with a Bloody mary.... At any rate, The gentleman he was with came back by my site to snag him and mentioned a new contest this year and asked if I was planning on attending. I mentioned I like to try to find local sponsors for some contests that are out of town - to help defray my costs. Turns out the original gentleman I was talking with owns a grocery store where this event is going to be, and said he would love to be my local sponsor!!

I'm lucky I guess, I have not had anyone open my cooker, or just grab food out of a tray ect. without first asking.

They only time I don't typically share anything - is if folks are vending. If there are teams vending, it really isn't fair to give away food and take thier bucks...

River City Smokehouse
04-15-2007, 06:24 PM
I will give samples, but usually I like to visit with them for a bit first. I had a lady last year in St. Louis come up just after I finished slicing my brisket for turn-in andstart grabbing right off of my cutting boad. I had just put away the meat to hold it and sent the box with my runner so there wasn't anything on there but fat for the most part. She was pickin as fast as she could and when it was all gone she just stood there. I guess she was waiting for me to ask if she wanted anymore. I could only stare, I was a bit took by it.

Oh yeah, I won't give out samples unless you are a Mizzou or Cheifs fan! No samples for Cornhusker fans!:mrgreen:

beam boys bbq
04-15-2007, 06:36 PM
the health dept slaped my hand for giving out samples in st louis last year

so we stoped ( besides from team to team)

we vac pack and pre sale it before we leave now
the meat we bring back with us is sold or going to be sold soon or we freazer it

york

QansasjayhawQ
04-15-2007, 06:46 PM
The only time I don't typically share anything - is if folks are vending. If there are teams vending, it really isn't fair to give away food and take thier bucks...

Wow! All excellent thoughts, HoDeDo - thank you!

But especially if it's a fund raiser (like there was in Osage City this past weekend) then, yeah - I definitely do NOT want to interfere with that!

Thanks for the thoughts!

The_Kapn
04-15-2007, 06:47 PM
"Roger" to almost everything said so far.
If they are just "trolling", we ain't feeding.

Also, if there are BBQ vendors (especially other teams), we give out nothing for free.
Well, maybe a tiny (and I mean really teeny tiny) taste of pork bark or something like that. Nothing to satisfy a hunger! That is the purview of the vendors.

Also, we are not caterers with all the proper licensing and all of that. So, anything we give out has to have a "feel good" feeling attached or we just say "sorry--not licensed to serve the public" :lol:

Lots to think about on this subject.

TIM

QansasjayhawQ
04-15-2007, 06:54 PM
"Roger" to almost everything said so far.
If they are just "trolling", we ain't feeding.

Also, if there are BBQ vendors (especially other teams), we give out nothing for free.
Well, maybe a tiny (and I mean really teeny tiny) taste of pork bark or something like that. Nothing to satisfy a hunger! That is the purview of the vendors.

Also, we are not caterers with all the proper licensing and all of that. So, anything we give out has to have a "feel good" feeling attached or we just say "sorry--not licensed to serve the public" :lol:

Lots to think about on this subject.

TIM


Yes, there is . . . and you bring up yet another good idea . . . not licensed to serve the public. That's another one of my questions. How do competition events get 'OK'd' to operate. I assume that there's an assumption that no food will get served to "The Public".

But what if you have some kinda 'guests'?

The_Kapn
04-15-2007, 09:15 PM
Moderator's Note.
Small scrub done.
This is a good topic--let's keep it focused.

Thanks,

TIM

Hawgsnheifers
04-15-2007, 10:47 PM
[quote=QansasjayhawQ;380377]Thanks for that thought, Bigdog.
Yep - he sliced off the fat cap (at least that's what I think you call it - the top layer on an entire brisket) and pitched it into the trash can and I danged near dove in after it!

Dave, the fat cap is just that. a big glob of fat and nothing else. May be a few strands of meat but nothing to pick through. I would be gald to save you the fat cap but I donlt thin you would find it very good to eat. It's just for pitchin....:eusa_clap

Plowboy
04-15-2007, 10:54 PM
I have nothing more to contribute to this fine topic other than a short story. Three years ago we were getting brisket ready for turn in at the MO state fair and this lady and her school aged kids come up and start eating brisket right off of our slicer while our back was turned. They totally thought this was okay.

MilitantSquatter
04-15-2007, 11:05 PM
I know some teams have signs and ropes etc.. but I don't think it would be such a bad idea if the contest organizers had a somewhat visible warning sign posted either just beyond the entry gate (if there is one) or somewhere along the start of the team rows etc.

cmcadams
04-16-2007, 05:26 AM
I've heard of comps that advertise on the radio that there will be free barbecue. How do you think the public approaches that comp?

I've had someone reach in while doing turn ins, another man and his son get upset because we didn't offer them ribs while we were in the middle of turn ins, etc. But for the most part, we have given out samples after we're done, as much as anything just because (believe it or not) we're kind of tired of barbecue for a few days!

Sawdustguy
04-16-2007, 06:39 AM
Yes, there is . . . and you bring up yet another good idea . . . not licensed to serve the public. That's another one of my questions. How do competition events get 'OK'd' to operate. I assume that there's an assumption that no food will get served to "The Public".

But what if you have some kinda 'guests'?


Look, if someone gets sick it is really easy to point the finger at your team because you were giving out samples, it doesn't matter if your food was the cause or not. If there are vendors who paid to vend, I do not want to step on their toes by handing out free samples. Lastly I wouldn't want to get in a conflict with the local Board of Health. They do make inspections during contests. Many teams had inspections during the 2006 Grill Kings Competition. I don't think it is worth the trouble so I do not offer samples to the public.

QansasjayhawQ
04-16-2007, 06:48 AM
Look, if someone gets sick it is really easy to point the finger at your team because you were giving out samples, it doesn't matter if your food was the cause or not. If there are vendors who paid to vend, I do not want to step on their toes by handing out free samples. Lastly I wouldn't want to get in a conflict with the local Board of Health. They do make inspections during contests. Many teams had inspections during the 2006 Grill Kings Competition. I don't think it is worth the trouble so I do not offer samples to the public.

Thanks, Guy. Excellent thoughts.

I was at my first competition back in May of 2006 - not as a competitor but as the guest of a team that Hy-Vee was sponsoring. They fed us some really great food (which is what started me down this road in the first place) and I was wondering if serving those kinds of guests - sponsor's guests - could cause some problems.

Thanks to everyone for all your great thoughts and ideas!

tjus77
04-16-2007, 07:00 AM
at the contest I've attended at someone's invitation, i've always been fed well. I think it is understood as a guest, that it is just like going to someone's house for a party, if you get sick, oh well.

I agree with the sign thing, we have a variety of different cookoffs down here, some you get fed (advertised that there is free Q), some you don't. But I think it is kinda weird that you open a contest to the public and don't offer food.

At chuck wagon cook offs, visitors can buy a ticket to eat a plate from the wagon of their choice. All competitors have to cook at least enough food to feed 30 or so people. But I think all the food is provided to them (at a cost of course).

bbqbull
04-16-2007, 09:23 AM
Venue of the contest dictates yea or nay on giving out samples.

Last year at the only contest I cooked in I was cutting ribs for turn in and a guy stood and stared at me like a starving dog. I asked him to wait till we got our box loaded and shipped.
I then told him we couldnt give out samples and he said he new that.

I just sliced a few more bones up and turned around and he scarffed them right up. He said my ribs were great.

My teammates foiled the rest of the food and took it home w/them.
I too was sick of bbq after that.......For about a week I think.

Sawdustguy
04-16-2007, 09:36 AM
Thanks, Guy. Excellent thoughts.

I was at my first competition back in May of 2006 - not as a competitor but as the guest of a team that Hy-Vee was sponsoring. They fed us some really great food (which is what started me down this road in the first place) and I was wondering if serving those kinds of guests - sponsor's guests - could cause some problems.

Thanks to everyone for all your great thoughts and ideas!

In my eyes that is perfectly fine. I have friends and relatives visit while we are competing all the time. We allow them to visit after 12PM the first day and after 2PM the day of turn-in so they don't interfere with turn-in and we give them samples. We try to do it discretely so the public does not get the wrong idea. As BBQuers we are gentlemen and should treat our guests well. Again I do not like to give samples to the general public if I can help it.

Bigdog
04-16-2007, 12:32 PM
[QUOTE=tjus77;380602] But I think it is kinda weird that you open a contest to the public and don't offer food.

QUOTE]

This is true unless you have food vendors. Visiting the comp. and smelling all the good food serves as the stimulus for your buying BBQ. Where comps. fall short is not making it clear as to where and how to buy food or get free samples.:sad:

cmcadams
04-16-2007, 02:20 PM
But I think it is kinda weird that you open a contest to the public and don't offer food.

I don't go to a car show and expect to drive the cars, or a swim meet and expect to get in the pool. I've gone to the fair and seen foods judged, but I don't expect to sample them, either.

Bigmista
04-16-2007, 03:05 PM
The Autry actually gave us signs to post in our area saying that due to Dept. of health standards we are not allowed to give out samples to the public. And we had our area roped off (Thanks Norco!)

That being said, I was sitting in my chair after the brisket turn in and I see a guy fixing a plate that I don't recognize. We had about 25 people visiting so I didn't want to assume anything. I asked Professor Salt if the guy was a freind of his. He said no. I asked BBQ Junkie and Sylvie and they bothe said they didn't know him either. The guy just stepped over the rope fixed a plate and left.

I told my teammates to give me a knife. I guess they know me to well because they wouldn't. I still went and hunted this guy down and told him off. I asked what made him think he could just take our food. He said that everyone else was eating it so he thought it was ok. I said they were all invited! It took every bit of restraint I had to keep from tossing this guy across the park.

Plowboy
04-16-2007, 03:08 PM
I think I'll just get a sign to hang out that says, "Yes, it does look good. No, you may not have a sample."

cmcadams
04-16-2007, 03:25 PM
I think I'll just get a sign to hang out that says, "Yes, it does look good. No, you may not have a sample."

How about "It's even better than it looks, and, no, you may not have a sample!"

Plowboy
04-16-2007, 03:34 PM
How about "It's even better than it looks, and, no, you may not have a sample!"

That I couldn't garuntee.

Bigmista
04-16-2007, 07:19 PM
I need this picture

http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f172/barbecuejoe/DSC01027.jpg

And a sign that says, "Sample at your own risk!"

BigBarry
04-16-2007, 09:10 PM
PERFECT! Get it printed at 2' x 2' and hang it from your canopy!

HoDeDo
04-16-2007, 09:56 PM
On the free samples topic. The easiest way for the comps to give samples - is to request that the competitors also cook for a "people's choice" catagory. They usually provide pork, or sausages, etc. -- then pick them up and serve them by number in a large tent or building. Either for "free" - with paid entry into the event.... or by the plate. The event gets to serve food that was cooked for free - and usually earn donations for whatever cause they are supporting: rotary, kiwanis, Sertoma, etc. I'm all for helping them and giving the public access to the BBQ.

Norcoredneck
04-17-2007, 01:37 AM
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k296/norcoredneck/Neil-1.jpg

Bigmista
04-17-2007, 11:03 AM
That's great!!!

Bigmista
04-17-2007, 11:19 AM
A lot of times, the California BBQ Association will open a vending booth and competitors will donate samples to selll to the public and the CBBQA will donate the proceeds to charity.

At Silent Valley this year, all of the competitors will cook three extra racks of ribs and give them to the SV Volunteer Fire department to sell at the contest.

ModelMaker
04-17-2007, 12:06 PM
As a member of the human race I apologize for some of my kind.
I can't believe people really do that!! Wasa mater ain't they had no fetchin up???
ModelMaker

BigBarry
04-17-2007, 09:45 PM
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k296/norcoredneck/Neil-1.jpg

THAT'S DAMN FUNNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I LOVE IT!!

Make the letters red or black for contrast.

crackerjack BBQ
04-17-2007, 10:11 PM
We were doing whole hog at a comp that was being judged MIM style. When the judges were at our pit asking questions this guy comes up and starts asking for a sample. I tell him sure but let me finish with the judges and he starts the "come on, just a slice" routine. To shut him up I slice a piece off and give it to him and his reply is "not from that part, I want that part". I don't think he realized how lucky he was that there were judges there!

The Pigman
04-18-2007, 12:01 AM
This is great.....love it



THAT'S DAMN FUNNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I LOVE IT!!

Make the letters red or black for contrast.

beam boys bbq
04-18-2007, 04:18 PM
We were doing whole hog at a comp that was being judged MIM style. When the judges were at our pit asking questions this guy comes up and starts asking for a sample. I tell him sure but let me finish with the judges and he starts the "come on, just a slice" routine. To shut him up I slice a piece off and give it to him and his reply is "not from that part, I want that part". I don't think he realized how lucky he was that there were judges there!


and he is still alive I think i would have to hunt him down latter and have a little talk:twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

york

swamprb
04-20-2007, 11:06 PM
http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/100_1630.jpg

Brian

tunnelengineer
05-15-2007, 06:47 AM
I am really new at this thing, but most events are not advertised correctly. The general public is led to believe that they will be able to sample BBQ from the competitors. All these Food Network shows don't help either. The hosts walk around and sample from anyone out there.

It shouldn't be up to the teams to enforce the "no sample" rules. It should be clearly posted every where and have clear signs directing people to the vendors.

The organizers spend big money talking it up to the public then make the teams fight them off.

Sawdustguy
05-15-2007, 11:01 AM
I couldn't agree more....

butt head
05-15-2007, 04:31 PM
saw an artical in the local paper last week for the yardley comp and tom had them say at the end of the story that due to health dept. rules teams are not alowed to distribute sampels to the public. thought that was a great idea on toms part.

Sawdustguy
05-15-2007, 09:13 PM
saw an artical in the local paper last week for the yardley comp and tom had them say at the end of the story that due to health dept. rules teams are not alowed to distribute sampels to the public. thought that was a great idea on toms part.

Tom has been around for a while as a promoter and as a competition BBQ chef with his team Smokin Dudes. He knows the right thing to do and a he is a really great guy to boot.

bbqneo
05-15-2007, 09:44 PM
Question about the quasi-public. If you have friends and family come out to a competition, do you plan on letting them eat the leftovers?? Is that OK with the rest of the teams?

Dale P
05-16-2007, 04:26 AM
I had people begging for samples and it so happens that I bought these watermelon flavored donuts which are not any good at all. Laid them out and that is when I learned that the general public will eat anything, as long as it is free.

We like doing the peoples choice thing but it takes some extra help handing out samples which I really dont mind doing, but there is always some azzhole to deal with. If it helps promote our sport, I am for it. Yes I said sport! lol

LostNation
05-16-2007, 05:54 AM
I've given samples an every contest I've ever cooked. As a cook I think it's our responsibility to promote comp cooking. We've never worried about the public getting sick from our food, we're eating the same food. Small samples given to the public gives them a taste and helps the vender's when they want more. I've never had a problem with anyone being disrespectful at a contest.

I also don't have a problem with guests coming any time during a contest. We often give them a tee shirt and make them part of our team. One of my regular teammates will mention that we need a few minutes before turn in's to get the box together and to leave us alone then they can eat the extra meat.

Here is some of my "team" from Wildwood in 2005
http://www.lostnationvt.com/images/wildwood05_01.jpg

I know everybody except the guy on the far right, I think he jumped in the pick.

Sawdustguy
05-16-2007, 09:20 AM
Let me tell you first hand that Lost Nation has some of the most hospitable people on the face of the earth. When Gary and I visit them during a comp they make us feel right at home. Word!

Sir Smoke A Lot
05-16-2007, 11:26 AM
Hi Everyone - excellent thread - if anything, it just helps me understand that my philosophy is basically the same as everyone else's. I have yet to have a "bad" experience but I guess when people have an "expectation" of free food, I am not a cordial as I might be when someone just wants to talk 'q.

Q Haven
05-16-2007, 06:33 PM
We gave samples at the Jack and had huge lines until we ran out of food. Was a lot of fun.

I enjoy giving samples to the public. All their praise serves to stroke my massive ego. :-P