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HawgHeaven
08-29-2008, 11:49 AM
I am about to embark on my first journey into the world of BBQ competition, and I am very excited! The event is the Diamond State BBQ Championship, being held in the infield at Dover Downs International Speedway on October 17-18. I am hooking up with a buddy of mine, who is also an avid Q'er.

A couple of questions...

Does anyone use fresh shoulders rather than butts?
Are thighs the preferred chicken parts to submit?
How do you go about serving sauces with your submissions?

I am sure there will be tons more questions...

Any advice/critique will be gladly accepted

Thanks!

Big Ugly's BBQ
08-29-2008, 11:58 AM
Enjoy the contest, it will become very addicting, very quickly! Be sure and have something available to secure your canopies, last year many of them were destroyed because of the wind.

You can use shoulder, but be sure its big enough IAW KCBS rules (I think its min 5lbs). Most of the time its not a problem. Chicken is whole different story, you can use any piece of chicken as long as you have 6 discernable pieces for the judges. Most use thighs, as the darker meat will not dry out as quickly. Some have been using legs, as they are the fastest to cook. Some use half's and breast meat, its just personal preference more than anything else.

Sauces cannot be pooled in the turn-in containers, that's a DQ immediately. If you are going to use sauce, put it on the meat first.

Hope this helps a bit, I'm by no means an expert. Ask tons of questions and practice a couple of times in the backyard. Measure your perimeters of the site, set up just as you would for the contest, and time yourself, trying to follow the turn-in times as much as possible. That way you have a general idea of how its going to be, and what you need to plan for.

butts a fire
08-29-2008, 11:59 AM
Does anyone use fresh shoulders rather than butts? Correct me if we are not on the same wave length but isn't a Butt just part of the shoulder? I am sure there are teams out there that do cook whole shoulders but for most of us they cost too much or we don't have the equipment to handle one.

Are thighs the preferred chicken parts to submit? As far as I can tell yes.

How do you go about serving sauces with your submissions? If you are using sauce which I would advise it has to be on the submission and cannot be served on the side.

HawgHeaven
08-29-2008, 12:15 PM
Does anyone use fresh shoulders rather than butts? Correct me if we are not on the same wave length but isn't a Butt just part of the shoulder? I am sure there are teams out there that do cook whole shoulders but for most of us they cost too much or we don't have the equipment to handle one...
The fresh shoulders I am talking about are also known as fresh hams, bone in. It is not uncommon around here to get them in the 8 to 12 pound range at 89 to 99 cents a pound. The Boston butts are harder to find (here anyway) and are usually twice the price. I've done both, and I personally think the shoulders have a better flavor...

Trainwreck
08-29-2008, 12:20 PM
I am a butt man and that is what I see most teams doing. I am a thigh man and that is what I see most teams doing. Sauce but don't over sauce and as the others have said make sure it does not pool on the bottom. I am a new team myself so take that into consideration. Best advice I can think of is listen to what your neighbors will tell you as everyone is out there to help each other. Get your self a counter top travel alarm clock. You can set this to the official clock at the cooks meeting and you can set alarms to help keep you on track. Have fun and watch out for the bug, it bites hard.

ique
08-29-2008, 12:20 PM
The fresh shoulders I am talking about are also known as fresh hams, bone in. It is not uncommon around here to get them in the 8 to 12 pound range at 89 to 99 cents a pound. The Boston butts are harder to find (here anyway) and are usually twice the price. I've done both, and I personally think the shoulders have a better flavor...

I think what you are describing here is a Picnic shoulder (not a ham). Picnic shoulder being the lower part of the shoulder. And yes picnic shoulder is allowed (fresh hams are not).

Divemaster
08-29-2008, 12:33 PM
I think what you are describing here is a Picnic shoulder (not a ham). Picnic shoulder being the lower part of the shoulder. And yes picnic shoulder is allowed (fresh hams are not).
I agree, but if I recall they must still be sure that they are a minimum of 5 pounds.

These links may help.
http://www.kcbs.us/pdf/2008RulesAndRegulations.pdf
http://www.kcbs.us/pdf/KCBSMeatInspectionGuide08.pdf
http://www.kcbs.us/pdf/YourFirstCookoff.pdf

HawgHeaven
08-29-2008, 12:47 PM
I think what you are describing here is a Picnic shoulder (not a ham). Picnic shoulder being the lower part of the shoulder. And yes picnic shoulder is allowed (fresh hams are not).
I think you are right, picnic shoulder is it. Where I grew up, we used to call them fresh hams and I never got away from that... sorry for the cornfusion... :redface:

Anyway, thanks for the help everyone!

Tinybud
08-29-2008, 01:49 PM
practice, practice, practice,, and read up on all the kcbs rules. Make sure you got your timing down,, and enjoy youself and have a good time,, and don't be afraid to ask other teams any questions you may have,,, we'll see ya there.

Jacked UP BBQ
08-29-2008, 03:13 PM
We will see you there, don't sweat and let nerves take over task at hand. Keep your eye on the clock and make sure you give yourself enough time. It is better to get it in even the box is not garnished or looking like what you think it is. Don't over think it, it's just what you do in your backyard with a time clock. As far as the meat go, I'm also a butt man and chicken thigh guy. I use to try different cuts of chicken but never got hte same results. As far as it all goes, stick to what you know and turn in your best product. Good luck, if you have any questions stop by and see the ocean county pig assassins, we don't hide behind our tents, we share everything. (maybe that is why we suck)!!!!!!

CivilWarBBQ
08-29-2008, 03:57 PM
You've got some time before your event. Do yourself a huge favor and get to another contest sanctioned by the same body BEFORE this one.

Show up early Friday and make the rounds with the teams, introduce yourself and explain you are a complete novice who wants to learn and you're willing to do dishes, take the night shift etc. Emphasize that you don't expect to learn any secrets, but that you simply want to learn what to expect as far as rules, timing of turn-ins, etc.

I guarantee you'll find more than one team that is willing to let you hang out with them and watch (especially if you sweeten the deal by providing some quality beer). You'll learn more in that 18 hour period than you'll ever glean online or reading books. Some of it you will eventually discard as you develop your own style and routine, but if a picture is worth a thousand words, actually being at a competition is worth a million forum posts.

Pig Headed
08-29-2008, 04:11 PM
Welcome neighbor. You migh want to go to the Bridgeton,NJ comp in September. It's only about 45-60 minutes away. If you have any questions, pm me, I live in Middletown and would be happy to help. See you at Dover.

backporchbbq
08-29-2008, 04:26 PM
We do butts and thighs. I think the thighs are a little juicer. As far as the sauce I just lightly coat the meats I want sauce on.

I will be at Diamond State also. It is a great venue, hopefully the wind leaves us alone this time. One tornado was enough. Stop by and see us, Back Porch BBQ.

HawgHeaven
08-29-2008, 10:20 PM
Thanks again everyone for the info and support!!

I attended Dover last year as a specticaltater... when did all this wind carnage happen? I was there on Saturday from late morning to late afternoon... didn't hear (or see) anything about it until now...?

It wasn't Tony Stewart practicing was it? :-P

backporchbbq
08-30-2008, 04:27 PM
Thanks again everyone for the info and support!!

I attended Dover last year as a specticaltater... when did all this wind carnage happen? I was there on Saturday from late morning to late afternoon... didn't hear (or see) anything about it until now...?

It wasn't Tony Stewart practicing was it? :-P


The wind came Friday night sometime around midnight I think. My friend said that a tornado came right near the track, and I have heard that from others two that a tornado was a mile or two away. The teams without canopies, most likely had them in the beginning. We had two brand new easy ups and after the wind it was distroyed. Kinda looked like they were playing the game twister lol. From what I have heard that was two years in a row with horrible winds. Lets pray to the BBQ Gods that the wind and rain stays away.

HawgHeaven
08-30-2008, 06:27 PM
Ohhh boy... so this event has a bad weather rep already... Dang!

One of my other vices is antique cars and the Hershey car show every year in October. I have been going to that show since 1972, and it seems that the weather there has been deemed to be windy, rainy, snowing, hailing, all of the above at once, or maybe every 5 years, maybe some sunshine.

My guess is it is due to the time of year...? :-P