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Que'inKC
01-18-2008, 11:01 AM
OK fellow Brothers (I guess I can say that, I know I'm still pretty new)...

I've finally talked my buddy into doing a couple contests this year and we are both soooo stoked...

My questions is....

What is the single best piece of advice you can give me? (Besides bring plenty of beer, cause I already got that one down...:grin: )

Fatback Joe
01-18-2008, 11:04 AM
Have fun........it ain't life and death should be rule #1.

When is your first contest? Do you have time to do a full blown practice cook prior. I learned more doing that than anything else. Make sure you can do all 4 meats and get them done on time...........it doesn't matter how good it is if it never makes it to the judges.

Que'inKC
01-18-2008, 11:09 AM
Thank you...I think the first one won't be until April..so we've planned on doing a couple practice cooks between now and then...

Fatback Joe
01-18-2008, 11:14 AM
Thank you...I think the first one won't be until April..so we've planned on doing a couple practice cooks between now and then...

Cool. Good luck. I found in my first practice cook that I would mess with my chicken so much that I kept letting heat out and my other meats suffered, they were still good, but not as good as if I kept the damn door shut............and as I told my wife......"I have to get another smoker just for chicken" LOL

KC_Bobby
01-18-2008, 11:14 AM
When you do the practice cook - take good notes including timing, weather, cooking, and food temps and what items you NEEDED to run into the house to get. If you NEEDED to get something from inside that you didn't have ready to go when you started, you'll likely need it at the comp.

At the same token, if you didn't use something you had ready to go ask yourself if you need it at a comp. It's a fine line of packing too much and not enough. Something everyone goes through about 3:00 in the afternoon as they are packing up to go.

And post pictures of what you would have turned in. Don't be afraid to practice the greens too.

cmcadams
01-18-2008, 11:32 AM
I like doing my practice cooks somewhat backward... Start with only the bare necessities, and each time you go inside to get something you find you need, add it to your list. Then you know what it is you need to do what you're doing.

Have fun and don't get too nervous... guys will help you there. If you know how to cook and you have your timing down, you're set.

jbrink01
01-18-2008, 11:44 AM
Don't make a list and take "household" items. Buy plastic storage bins and keep them packed with your bbq stuff (so you've got a couple doubles of stuff, who cares. Never have to make another list). The danger being you end up eventually with an aluminum box that has wheels under it!

paydabill
01-18-2008, 12:01 PM
Like Jbrink01 - try to seperate competition stuff from household. It will save from a lot of fights latter.
My 2 favortie piece of advice our

1. bring double what you think you need as far as paper towels, drinks, ice, foil and baggies.

2. Something will go wrong - you will forget something - charcoal will be wet - forgot the needle to the injector - DO NOT QUIT, just ask around everyone is willing to help out new teams.

VA BBQ PIRATES
01-18-2008, 12:02 PM
I agree - have fun is # 1
# 2 should be remember the morning comes early - don't drink so much that you can't function at your best.
# 3 Ask questions

Good luck!

Tom

butts a fire
01-18-2008, 12:12 PM
Since it looks like everyone has covered the practice cook thing. I think the biggest thing for us to to take notes at the comp of what you did time you put the meat on, sauce you used ect.. That way you can see what you want to change in the future and know if something worked or didn't work.

We didn't do this our first year of comps and are kicking ourselves becasue We would forget what we did at the last contest. Now that we have started recording everything we have a basis of what we are going to do and want to change and focus on the next time.

ggriffi
01-18-2008, 12:21 PM
If you haven't read this thread yet it will help a lot

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13677

Transformer BBQ
01-18-2008, 12:23 PM
Go meet people, tell them you are new... relax, it's just BBQ.

When doing a practice cook... make your "turn in" times at night. No idea why I thought I needed to lose sleep for a fictional contest I was putting on. But I did.

Wizards of 'Que
01-18-2008, 12:30 PM
The practice cooks are vital as everyone has said. be sure to take it through building the boxes. Let them set for about 20 minutes after turn in time, you will taste what the judges are tasting. Second, start cooking earlier than you think you need to. Way better to hold than not get done. As you grain experience at contest, you can fine tune your schedule.

Smokin Gator
01-18-2008, 12:40 PM
First of all I am NOT a well seasoned pro or anything. I think I have done 5 comps in all. That being said...I can't give you a single one... so how about three:

Use a checklist (I think I got mine off of the KCBS stie) of items you are going to take and pack them well in advance in plastic tubs.

Make a timeline for your cook based on your practice runs and have it with you so you can check things off (it will keep you sane and focused)

Have fun... your first one should be all about that!!!

watg?
01-18-2008, 01:03 PM
practice, practic, practice,....get to the comp early...relax and have fun!

Sawdustguy
01-18-2008, 01:08 PM
Having fun is priority #1. Don't set your expectations too high on you first contest. If you do, chances are you won't have any fun. If something great happens, cherish it, and come back and cook another contest.

Que'inKC
01-18-2008, 01:21 PM
You guys are awesome...Thank so much for taking the time to help...You are what the hobby is all about!!!

Jeff

Dale P
01-18-2008, 01:23 PM
You need to be organized. That has been our biggest problem, just finding stuff. The plastic tubs dont work very well for us. One more thing, use lots of cayenne & nutmeg.

Pig Headed
01-18-2008, 01:46 PM
If you haven't been to a comp yet, try to go to one first to get some idea of what goes on.

Que'inKC
01-18-2008, 02:25 PM
I've been to a few, but never had anyone that I've known in the contest to hang out with and learn from...Maybe one of my KC Brothers would let me "volunteer"...:-)

Wizards of 'Que
01-18-2008, 03:49 PM
One more thing, go to a class if you can. We went to DrBBQ's class when we first started in KCBS, and I believe it gave us a great headstart. Since then I've attended Fast Eddy, Rod Gray, and Paul Kirk. They were all well worth the time and money.

MoKanMeathead
01-18-2008, 03:49 PM
Que'inKC - you are welcome to come out and help us. Our first sanctioned contest will probably be in Pleasant Hill (if the organizer will hold us a spot) and the second will be in Osage City, KS (both the first 2 weeks in April). We'd be glad to have you...and you probably would at least learn what NOT to do.

Que'inKC
01-18-2008, 03:53 PM
One more thing, go to a class if you can. We went to DrBBQ's class when we first started in KCBS, and I believe it gave us a great headstart. Since then I've attended Fast Eddy, Rod Gray, and Paul Kirk. They were all well worth the time and money.

I thought the same thing...I've been searching on the KCBS website for classes being held...and I think you are right, a Class would be a VERY good thing...Thanks alot

VA BBQ PIRATES
01-18-2008, 05:01 PM
First of all I am NOT a well seasoned pro or anything. I think I have done 5 comps in all. That being said...I can't give you a single one... so how about three:

Use a checklist (I think I got mine off of the KCBS stie) of items you are going to take and pack them well in advance in plastic tubs.

Make a timeline for your cook based on your practice runs and have it with you so you can check things off (it will keep you sane and focused)

Have fun... your first one should be all about that!!!

A timeline is very important. I find it helpful to work backwards. Start with Brisket turn in and work back. Before you even pack know when you are going to rub your meat (and who does it) all the way up to who carries the boxes. We write ours on a 2X3 white board and prop it where we can see it. Also don't get freaked when it doesn't go as planned. Make that part of the plan.

rookiedad
01-19-2008, 07:32 AM
your first comp will be pretty expensive, so budget it out and collect your kit over time. i prepared (buying/packing) for our first contest in three days and it was comparable to doing christmas shopping and moving to another state all at the same time. most of all though, have fun!

phil

Knothead
01-19-2008, 07:44 AM
Search google for a BBQ Contest Check list I think Smokin Guns has one, it will take alot of the hassle out of what to pack. Been doing contest for six years and still use one. Relax and have a good time it just Q.

Bigdog
01-19-2008, 08:50 AM
Lots of good advice here Jeff. I recommend hooking up with Wayne and the Meatheads. They are great guys, good cooks and they know how to party. The margarita machine is a legend on the circuit.

Que'inKC
01-19-2008, 09:10 AM
I definitely will hook up with Wayne and the meatheads...(if they'll have me...)

I can't wait until April!!!!

Thanks alot guys for all the good advice...

Puppyboy
01-20-2008, 04:22 AM
Thank you...I think the first one won't be until April..so we've planned on doing a couple practice cooks between now and then...
Where you cooking at? Our first is the Smoke in the Spring in Osage City, KS. Last year quite a few Brethren showed up to cook and a few to just to hang out. Big Dog drove a few hours just to be social.

Ford
01-20-2008, 10:03 AM
I plan to cook the Great American on Memorial Day weekend. I usually am looking for a runner at a contest but love to have help. That's especially true of this one as I cook the Invitational Thursday night then the Open Friday night. You're very welcome to hang out, help whatever.

bcis93
01-20-2008, 11:24 AM
Practice, take notes, plan the work, & work the plan. Don't experiment at a contest. That is why you practice. Don't forget the adult beverages!

Bigdog
01-20-2008, 02:59 PM
Where you cooking at? Our first is the Smoke in the Spring in Osage City, KS. Last year quite a few Brethren showed up to cook and a few to just to hang out. Big Dog drove a few hours just to be social.

You bet. Always great to go out to the contests and shoot the breeze with my brothers. Puppyboy can teach you how to get-er-done on a budget or Wayne, Todd and Andy and some of the others can show you how to do it with style. Still others like QansasjayhawQ will show you how to use a BBQ Guru. The really cool thing is that everyone is so friendly and willing to share.8-)