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WineMaster
01-09-2008, 09:31 AM
Never competed before and am considering it this year. There is 2 comps about 30 miles away and I was thinking of entering 1 of them.

How do you pick the comp to get your feet wet.
Do you recruit a team
Do you have people in charge of certain meats
Do you have 1 Chief and alot of Indians
All Freaked out

How was your first

Tell some stories

Dan

jbrink01
01-09-2008, 09:40 AM
1st was a big one in KC (Cabela's, 2005). Never been to one, no clue at all what to expect, drank way too much Ketel 1, had 1 other team member and was really hung over. Ended up like 50th out of 70+, but, won 4th in the wild game category so I was hooked.

Lessons learned - Ask questions b4 you get drunk so you remember the answers, be nice and have fun. Recruit a team? No, just friends. I am in charge of cooking, someone else does presentation. I cooked with Todd from Plowboy's last year and liked having to only tend to 2 meats though.

Ford
01-09-2008, 09:41 AM
Our first was just the wife and I. Eventually recruited helpers and now I cook solo. Of course I have a pretty easy to sue setup now.

Solo or helpers all comes down to are youy a type A control freak or do you want partners and each does theri own meat? I want control.

Minn in May is supposed to be a great contest. A little far for me so I'm just going on what I hear. You will be welcomed with open arms by all.

At the first contest I was disorganized, got no sleep at all (klose stick burner then) and was dead tired at awards. No calls but finished 9th overall out of around 40 teams so was hooked.

Just don't panic, people will lend you waht you forget. Don't get fancy KISS is the best to start. Garnish - a little lettuce base with a bit of parsley if you have time. Appearance is important but is just 1/7 of the total score.

Most important have fun and bring lots of beer and booze for the nieghbors.

Diva
01-09-2008, 09:42 AM
Don't be freaked out. Everybody had to start somewhere at some point. Also, don't forget that everybody puts their pants on one leg at a time.....

I'd suggest going and hanging out at one first and perhaps wash dishes for someone or run their boxes, etc. That way you can see what to expect at a competition.

If you're just gonna "GO FOR IT" just do it! Get some of your buddies that like to hang out around the grill and drink beer, that have money.

The way you handle the team is the way you handle it. You can go either way. I find that the best dynamic with the team that I'm part of is that there's one pitmaster, he stays up all night and gets the big meats. He also does the ribs, but, that's in the morning and I do the chicken. We do presentation on all of it together.

We set it up together, clean it up together, etc. He can stay up all night, I can't. I have a pretty good eye and can come up with presentation stuff on the quick (if needed), he's been up all night.... We each have the things that we excel in and we try to use them to the best of our abilities.

Good luck!!!

Sawdustguy
01-09-2008, 11:15 AM
We are a team of six members. We segregate our responsibilities. My wife and I do butt and ribs, my brother and his wife do brisket and chicken. My friend Gus and my nephew do all the grilling. We had no clue what we were doing in our first comp. I lurked here and got as much info as I could.
We had a great time. Because it was our 1st contest our expectations were not set very high. Becasue of that there was no stress and we had a barrel of fun. About 30 seconds after we arrived at the contest my brother and I looked at each other and agreed this is us and this was not the last the competition circuit would see of the Polocks.

butts a fire
01-09-2008, 12:05 PM
For the most part me and my Wife are the team I am the head cook and do all the cooking and 90% of the food prep she takes care of the presentation and getting things turned in on time. She also keeps me focused and on task so I don't forget something. Sometimes we have more people there who want to help but they normally just get in my way and irritate me more than help me.

You can do it by yourself but in my experience it would not be very easy or a lot of fun doing it by yourself.

As far as the two contests near you I am not much help there but I say since they are both close why don't you go to both of them. You will be hooked once you do your first one.

And as has been said many times relax have fun and don't sweat it if you forget something just ask another contestant and at least 90% of them would be more than happy to help you.

Podge
01-09-2008, 01:49 PM
"How do you pick the comp to get your feet wet."

I'd pick out the closest one to home, or one that you would not mind the drive to.

"Do you recruit a team"

Not unless you want to. I prefer to make all the decisions, so a helper is really all you'd need. But you need to be in charge.


"How was your first"

My first contest was in Madison, In. 2004. I was scared to death ! I wanted to do well, badly !!.. I didn't expect to win, i just didn't want to fall flat on my face. I didn't sleep well, but luckily i had my timings down from practice cooks, so nothing got far behind or ahead. i finished 16th overall.. i was thrilled !!.. biggest advice i have for you is practice all 4 meats a few times, and get a schedule together, and stick to it.

Looking back on it, I should've tried to enjoy it more and mingle more. you can learn a lot from others, and other teams are glad to help ! Just take the first few contests as learning experiences and don't expect too much, and if you get a call, live in the moment for sure. I've done 22 contests total now, and it took up to the last 8 before i really felt like i was confident in what i was doing. It's all been fun !

Smokin' Gnome BBQ
01-09-2008, 02:28 PM
Me, I am gonna go solo this year. crazy huh?

G$
01-09-2008, 02:32 PM
Never competed before and am considering it this year. There is 2 comps about 30 miles away and I was thinking of entering 1 of them.

How do you pick the comp to get your feet wet.
Do you recruit a team
Do you have people in charge of certain meats
Do you have 1 Chief and alot of Indians
All Freaked out

How was your first

Tell some stories

Dan

If you have TWO within 30 miles of you, you NEED to do both! What I would give for a comp that was 30 miles from me!!!! Please do them both!!!! :icon_devil

Given the above, do not be afraid of course, but understand you will be LEARNING for a while. This is a good thing.

As others said, YOU need to decide how to organize your team, but in my opinion, yes, you want help, and more than anything everyone needs to know their roles up front, whatever they are. Friends and Family who love to Q make a great team, at least to start with. In fact, that is pretty much the reason we compete - to have fun and hang out. The "various members own different meats" is a great way to go, in my opinion. And hey, its your first time, you can always change it up.

Our first sanctioned comp as a full team was a great experience. We had fun, learned a little, enjoyed one anothers company, and could not believe our ears when we got a 4th place ribs walk(~50 teams), 47" trophy, and cash that more than covered dinner and brews that night.

tntitan
01-09-2008, 03:19 PM
i have done two . one in nov. and one this month with a friend next time going solo it is not in me to just help out like a dishwasher working for min wage do it on your own or with a family member that is it

watg?
01-09-2008, 05:37 PM
I am writing a Blog about starting a BBQ team. Last season was our first competition season. Please feel free to check it out. The best advice I will offer is HAVE FUN!

http://thenewguys.blogspot.com/

be sure to start on part 1

good luck!

Dale P
01-10-2008, 06:56 AM
I agree that if you have 2 contests that close to home, do both of them. You will have a blast. Go for it but be ready to get hooked.

Ford
01-10-2008, 08:00 AM
If this link works it's to the BBQ Forum Blog for Newbies. It's a great read for anybody considering doing their first contest. Also on the BBQ Forum is the checklist from Smokin' Guns on what to take to a contest. It's probably the best list for s first time competitor. You may need to search for it or ask somebody to post a link to it.

Looks like the link goes to the main blog page so you need to click on the right side for Guide for Newbies


http://bbqblog.com/?cat=6

Roo-B-Q'N
01-10-2008, 08:04 AM
Dan, like others have said, if you can do both do them. What two contests and whena re they? If you have time before the two, go check a few out help if possible.

Our first contest was last year and Char and I (hubby and Wife team) were both scared and excited. We didn't expect to win but promised each other to work hard enough not to come in D.A.L. Well I we took 3rd in chicken and ended up in the middle of the pack overall. Yes we were hooked.

Just remember to have fun, the seasoned veterans are more than willing to help you with questions and all.

watg?
01-10-2008, 08:24 AM
If this link works it's to the BBQ Forum Blog for Newbies. It's a great read for anybody considering doing their first contest. Also on the BBQ Forum is the checklist from Smokin' Guns on what to take to a contest. It's probably the best list for s first time competitor. You may need to search for it or ask somebody to post a link to it.

Looks like the link goes to the main blog page so you need to click on the right side for Guide for Newbies


http://bbqblog.com/?cat=6


When I click on this link, I get to the blog, the first entry reads OK. All of the following posts are littered with computer jiberish and hard to read. Does anyone else see this or is the problem on my end? I see the same thing when I go in through the link from the forum.

WineMaster
01-10-2008, 10:29 AM
Contacted the event organizer.
Here we go

Having him send info on MN in May
Other event is sending info on the event Smoking in Steele

Would it be best to go with the event with less teams?

Better chances BUT

Less oportunity to learn from other teams

Dan

Dale P
01-10-2008, 11:04 AM
If you cook only 1, I bet you are going to wish you did both. We have to drive at least 2 1/2 - 6 hrs to compete. Take advantage of how close you are to the 2 comps you mentioned. Get some help from somebody you trust. That will make things easier.

Podge
01-10-2008, 12:24 PM
Contacted the event organizer.
Here we go

Having him send info on MN in May
Other event is sending info on the event Smoking in Steele

Would it be best to go with the event with less teams?

Better chances BUT

Less oportunity to learn from other teams

Dan

but, look at it this way, less teams means less chances they're mingling with others. Just go for it.

Scottie
01-10-2008, 12:52 PM
Minnesota in May is one of the best organized events out there. It's run by Grandpa Chesse (Mark Born), who is also a top cooker out there and knows how to take care of the cooks. I finally made it up last year and I will be back again this year.

Scottie

G$
01-10-2008, 02:55 PM
If you cook only 1, I bet you are going to wish you did both. We have to drive at least 2 1/2 - 6 hrs to compete. Take advantage of how close you are to the 2 comps you mentioned. Get some help from somebody you trust. That will make things easier.

I know I already said this, but, YES I AGREE!

Do both. Plan on doing both.

I know they are expensive, and if that is the case in not being able to do both, I understand, but the flip side is, you will not have a shot at a cheaper contest, simply because they are so close. Fuel is a major factor for those of us that compete long distance.

Given the above, if you are still stuck on only doing one, do the FIRST one, so you can wise up in time and do the second also. :icon_devil

acorette
01-10-2008, 03:34 PM
I've only been in 1 comp so far. I wanted to chime in on experience.

I was dead tired at the awards. I hadn't slept in weeks beforehand from excitement, I didn't sleep during the comp, so I was propped up with teammates at the awards.

I took 16th overall out of 50 (I was thrilled) and 2nd in dessert. We threw it all in the truck and headed home. For the next two or three days, I was convinced that I'd never do another contest. It took too much out of me. Shortly after that, my attitude turned around and now I can't wait to get back in it this year. I'm planning 2-3 contests this year. I'd do more, but schedule won't permit it.

So, my advice - sign up for both as long as they aren't one right after the other. If there are a few weeks at least between them you'll be glad you signed up for the second one.

Just my $0.02.

CajunSmoker
01-10-2008, 04:41 PM
I did my first one this last year. Me and my two sons did a contest that was close to home. My oldest son is wanting to do more this next year but my youngest isn't really interested in it. So we will probably just go with the two of us for a couple of contests this upcoming season and see how things go.

Edit - I forgot to say it, but GOOD LUCK!!!

big brother smoke
01-10-2008, 04:47 PM
I competed in 2 this year. Both were in the fall within a month of each other. I took the liberty to visit one comp first and then I cooked the next two. I learned a lot from visiting the first comp and hanging out with the teams of BigCountry and Four Q.

I liked the fact also that my first two contests were IBCA. No green stuff to worry about!

WineMaster
01-10-2008, 06:59 PM
Doing both isnt really an option because of how close the contests are to each other. With our business, I cant really be gone that much.

Im thinking Mn in May

Ribs are a wow
Butts the same
Chicken ah well um I have a lot to learn
Brisket well ah what the Fark is that?

Ive cooked a few Briskets , but none that I would consider awsome.

Then I question the smoker. Is it big enough.

Lots to think about.

Bigmista
01-10-2008, 07:39 PM
We broke all of the rule and just jumped in. We were 4 bloggers who would comment on each other's blogs. We were all in the general area so I contacted bbqjunkie and said, "Hey there is a contest coming up in a couple of months. Let's do it." He said, "No."

So after a month of calling him every kind of cream puff and marshmellow I could think of, he agreed to do it if we got some help. So we contacted Sylvie and Professor Salt and talked them into it.

2 weeks before the contest, we met in person for the first time and had a practice cook at Sylvie's house (which is really nice, by the way).

We showed up at the Autry with enough charcoal for all of the teams there and enough food to feed us, our families, our friends and all of our neighbors. Twice. I guess that's where our Friday night potluck started. All of our neighbors were cracking up laughing at us but they were also very helpful. We had a ball, finished 5th in ribs and middle of the pack overall.

Each of us will buy and cook only one meat. Everyone helps with presentation, setup and clean up. We split the entry fee and the prize money 4 ways.

Our motto starting out was, "Have fun, don't come in last." We've always done the first and never done the second.

If you can afford both contests, do them both.

Good Luck!

Just Smokin' Around
01-10-2008, 09:19 PM
Doing both isnt really an option because of how close the contests are to each other. With our business, I cant really be gone that much.


Maybe you can help out a team at the first and compete in the second. I was able to help someone out who needed assistance and see how it was done. After that, just jump in. I do it with a friend and we just kind of share the cooking, expenses, etc. Having two chiefs and no indians isn't always the best, but it works for us most of the time. The primary goal is going out and having fun and we manage that okay.

butts a fire
01-11-2008, 07:54 AM
Then I question the smoker. Is it big enough.

Lots to think about.


You should be fine with your smoker if I remember right the inside is about the same size of a backwoods party? The only thing you might want is a weber or something like that to cook the chicken on. You can definitely get away with only having the one smoker though as long as you time everything right you will have plenty of room.

Also remember that you don't have to cook a ton of meat we normally cook two butts, a brisket packer, three slabs of ribs, and one large package of thighs I think normally around pieces 16 or so.

2Fat
01-11-2008, 05:34 PM
Me, I am gonna go solo this year. crazy huh?

with just a little forethought it isn't really too big a deal---remember they make big garbage bags to bring dirty stuff home--when ya wake up in the middle of the nite--it is a perfect time to make your boxes---with planning even running your own boxes is no prob

buzz