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View Full Version : Tips for Backwoods Party in Competition


CivilWarBBQ
12-29-2008, 09:56 PM
I just bought a Backwoods Party from Steve Ownby that he needed to clear out to make room for his new Southern Pride. My idea was to use it for contests far away that are cost prohibitive for our full catering truck/mobile kitchen rig.

Any tips for using this cooker in KCBS competition from those who own one? It wasn't particularly easy getting the Party into the back of my Explorer with the two of us. I could use some ideas on loading as well as cooking setup.

Countryhb
12-29-2008, 10:04 PM
Get yourself a guru for it. I run a guru with 4 river rocks in the water pan and a bit of water. I can cook the entire contest cook on one load of charcoal

WMI
12-29-2008, 10:31 PM
Any tips for using this cooker in KCBS competition from those who own one? It wasn't particularly easy getting the Party into the back of my Explorer with the two of us. I could use some ideas on loading as well as cooking setup.

BBQ Guru either a DIgiQ II or PitMinder is a great add on but I would suggest you try the cooker w/o the Guru, it runs great on it's own.
As far as transporting goes you can have a removable stand/hitch rack made for the Party.
Here is a link to some pics of a Fatboy model that I had made several months ago.
http://www.backwoods-smoker.com/forums.htm/viewtopic.php?t=1644

watertowerbbq
12-30-2008, 05:32 AM
I just bought a Backwoods Party from Steve Ownby that he needed to clear out to make room for his new Southern Pride. My idea was to use it for contests far away that are cost prohibitive for our full catering truck/mobile kitchen rig.

Any tips for using this cooker in KCBS competition from those who own one? It wasn't particularly easy getting the Party into the back of my Explorer with the two of us. I could use some ideas on loading as well as cooking setup.

PM KC Bobby. He has a lot of BWS Party experience.

Spydermike72
12-30-2008, 05:47 AM
As the others have said, I used to use a Party for comps and loved it. It was easy to transport, and it was basically set it and forget it for about 5-6 hours. Mine was stock and I did not use a guru or anything like that.

Like Matt says, KC Bobby has lots of info on the Party.

Congrats on getting one of the best cookers on the market!!

TN_BBQ
12-30-2008, 08:47 AM
Did it fit nicely in the truck, or was your difficulty in picking it up and placing it in the truck?

I transport mine on it's back in my van.

I have found that a scrap piece of plywood helps the BWS slide in and protects it (sorta like a shoe horn). Place (or strap) the plywood to the back of the smoker & tilt it on to the tailgate. Then just lift and slide it in.

You'll obviously want to empty your waterpan (and probably your ashes).

Does your ash pan slide in and out nicely, or do you have to lift it over a lip before removing? I have (had) to lift my ash pan over a lip. I ended up using a couple pieces of angle iron to make some rails to rest my ash pan on. Now, the ash pan slides in and out much easier (no lifting).

KC_Bobby
12-30-2008, 11:23 AM
Any tips for using this cooker in KCBS competition from those who own one? It wasn't particularly easy getting the Party into the back of my Explorer with the two of us. I could use some ideas on loading as well as cooking setup.

When we had a Party, we also had a Gator. So we had two Backwoods going. Many people with Party's say an entire KCBS comp can be cooked on one - but I don't fit into that segment. It's not that I doubt those people - I'm sure it can be done but it's gonna limit the amount of food to cook.

First thing is to increase useable space, if the Party only came with 6 sliders add in some more. Easy to do with some basic U brackets and sheet metal screws. Add them above the second slider and the fith sider. This will allow the use of 4 racks at 6" apart (plenty of space for butts and packers) instead of the 4" factory spacing - giving you one more rack when cooking those items. See our website and picture section to get an idea then feel free to ask questions if needed.

As far as loading it in the back of an Explorer, I don't know. But I was able to load it into my pick up no problem by myself just by standing it up about 3-4" away from the tailgate, leaning it on the tailgate and lifting the bottom up so it would slide on it's back. The Party weighs about 140 lbs, so by using a pivot point on the back it's easily managable. But if you have back problems, this might not be your best option. Are you able to get all your gear in the Explorer or will you be taking a trailer? If it doesn't have casters, I highly advise getting a 2 wheel pneumatic dolly to move the Party around, it makes it a breeze in grass, rock, stairs, mogels, etc.

Lion Bout The Q
12-30-2008, 11:57 AM
Get yourself a guru for it. I run a guru with 4 river rocks in the water pan and a bit of water. I can cook the entire contest cook on one load of charcoal
__________________

__________________
Country HB Tell me more on the river rocks..They just as added heat sink? Peter

butts a fire
12-30-2008, 12:34 PM
Bobby pretty much said it all but I will throw in a couple of things I cooked comps last year with a party and a weber which was just for the chicken so it definitely can be done. I have Bobby's old party with the additional rail and it does help and is a cheap addition that I would recommend. As far as loading I use a piece of carpet on my tailgate and just lean the party up against it and lift no problem loading it by myself.

Q Haven
12-30-2008, 12:40 PM
I have an Explorer and have been able to transport my Party in it, although I have a trailer for use in competition. I think for competition, it would be a stretch to bring the Party plus everything else you need in an Explorer. I would get a small trailer if possible.

I have used the Party in four contests so far. I have been able to do the entire contest, cooking ribs, pork and brisket in the Party and grilling the chicken. In these cases, I have done 2 butts, 1 packer brisket and four racks of spares. Plenty of room for this in the Party. Did 2 briskets at one of the contests.

I use the Guru DigiQ2, and it works great.

The only issue I have encountered is that the water pan runs dry pretty quickly, 5-6 hours. I plan on having some kind of water feeding system in place next year.

billm
12-30-2008, 01:24 PM
The only issue I have encountered is that the water pan runs dry pretty quickly, 5-6 hours. I plan on having some kind of water feeding system in place next year.

on my Party 5-6 hrs is usually when I have to replenush charcoal anyway so its no biggie to have to fill up water then as well

billm
12-30-2008, 01:26 PM
Get yourself a guru for it. I run a guru with 4 river rocks in the water pan and a bit of water. I can cook the entire contest cook on one load of charcoal
__________________

__________________
Country HB Tell me more on the river rocks..They just as added heat sink? Peter
the entire contest on one load of coal?? thats seems a bit of a stretch on a Party ..how long you cooking your butts and brisket for?

Lion Bout The Q
12-30-2008, 01:44 PM
yEAH , THAT WASN'T MY POST, BILL....I CAN'T GET ANYMORE THAN 5 OR 6 HOURS ON A LOAED PARTY. EITHER..I WAS JUST CURIOUS ABOUT THE ROCKS...

NotleyQue
12-30-2008, 02:38 PM
the entire contest on one load of coal?? thats seems a bit of a stretch on a Party ..how long you cooking your butts and brisket for?


I have seen him cook that long a few times now. Maybe by using the Guru it helps control the burn, therefore you get longer cooks on less coal. 5 or 6 hours is really really poor in my opinion. I will for sure not buy a BWS with those stats.

My gurued WSM can cook 12+ hours on 1 load of charcoal, with 2 briskets or 2-4 butts on it. 5 or 6 hours is a joke.

Countryhb
12-30-2008, 02:49 PM
I use 4 large river rocks and wrap them in foil (to keep them clean). They retain heat and seem to help reduce water loss. Since adding the DigiQ, I can load a full basket of charcoal, light my fire around 10 PM, cook 2 butts, a full packer, 4 racks of spare ribs, and then crank the heat up and cook 18 pieces of chicken at almost 300*...one one load of Rancher.

Q Haven
12-30-2008, 02:55 PM
on my Party 5-6 hrs is usually when I have to replenush charcoal anyway so its no biggie to have to fill up water then as well

Me too, but I would rather not have to open the cooker door to add water.

Countryhb
12-30-2008, 02:59 PM
I can't believe you guys with parties and Gurus are only getting 5-6 hours...are you using extended baskets?

Q Haven
12-30-2008, 03:34 PM
My basket is not extended. It does not hold a whole lot of charcoal. I am planning on adding a larger basket....

KC_Bobby
12-30-2008, 03:37 PM
My party would go about 6-7 hours on the first burn, then closer to 8-9 on the next load - which makes sense heating up the cooker - that was adding luke warm water when needed - generally a few quarts every few hours using a flexible copper tube through the exhaust.

Countryhb
12-30-2008, 03:43 PM
My basket is not extended. It does not hold a whole lot of charcoal. I am planning on adding a larger basket....
Well, there you have the delta! My basket is extended up to the point where it just clears the bottom of the heat diverter.

billm
12-30-2008, 05:02 PM
Notley Q
i can get over a 12 hr burn on my WSM without a guru but we are talking a Backwoods not a WSM so Im not sure what your point is ???.
From what I ive been told by other guru users they only get an addtional 2 hrs extra of a burn using it
i think the key is extending the basket as others say so it holds more..thats the only reason those wsm's burn longer IMO ..they hold a ton of charcoal..the stock backwoods party chacoal pan does not hold much

WMI
12-30-2008, 05:46 PM
A option on the Party model is a Commercial fire grate for $175.00.
This will add to your cook time considerably

BBQ_Mayor
12-30-2008, 06:37 PM
When we had a Party, we also had a Gator. So we had two Backwoods going. Many people with Party's say an entire KCBS comp can be cooked on one - but I don't fit into that segment. It's not that I doubt those people - I'm sure it can be done but it's gonna limit the amount of food to cook.

Yea, it can be done. Did it last year in Council Bluffs when I borrowed Roos party.

Pack of chicken, 3 ribs, 1 butt and 1 brisket. It'd be better to have more space if you can get it, but in a pinch.

BTW, got 1st in ribs and 3rd overall in that contest.

2LiveQ
12-30-2008, 08:21 PM
How does your BWS perform when it is windy?

butts a fire
12-30-2008, 08:49 PM
How does your BWS perform when it is windy?
mine is not effected by the wind at all the insulation helps a lot

KC_Bobby
12-30-2008, 09:00 PM
Wind, cold, rain, snow, hot, humid, cloudy, sunny, day, night - the Backwoods doesn't know the difference. It thinks it in San Diego.

TN_BBQ
12-30-2008, 09:49 PM
Well, there you have the delta! My basket is extended up to the point where it just clears the bottom of the heat diverter.

Can you post some pictures of that extended basket?

I typically just pile charcoal in there and let it go. I had over 10 pounds in there this past weekend and was able to smoke all night long (at least 9 hours). I woke up and dumped the ashes and reloaded so I could get started on some chicken and ribs. Could I have gotten more cook time? Probably, but 9 hours of sleep is about all I need. :-D

One thing I do is top off the water pan just before calling it a night.

billm
12-30-2008, 11:13 PM
Can you post some pictures of that extended basket?

I typically just pile charcoal in there and let it go. I had over 10 pounds in there this past weekend and was able to smoke all night long (at least 9 hours). I woke up and dumped the ashes and reloaded so I could get started on some chicken and ribs. Could I have gotten more cook time? Probably, but 9 hours of sleep is about all I need. :-D

One thing I do is top off the water pan just before calling it a night.
definately gotta get mine setup like that

Countryhb
12-31-2008, 10:44 AM
Rob, can you help these brothers out with soem pics? I bought my BWS from my neighbor, HB-BBQ. He has lots of photos...I have none. Perhaps he'll slide in here with some pron.

2LiveQ
12-31-2008, 11:44 AM
I am going to buy a Party this year....As soon as I recover from Uncle Sam having his way with my wallet in April.


Wind, cold, rain, snow, hot, humid, cloudy, sunny, day, night - the Backwoods doesn't know the difference. It thinks it in San Diego.

billm
12-31-2008, 11:46 AM
I am going to buy a Party this year....As soon as I recover from Uncle Sam having his way with my wallet in April.

great lousy weather cookers..had to cook some butts the other weekend when it was below zero here in Chi-Town..
cooked fine..

TN_BBQ
12-31-2008, 04:11 PM
definately gotta get mine setup like that

Like what? Mine is pretty much standard.

I think the charcoal grate measures 14"x14" and there's at least 6" clearance.
Maybe some math person wants to compute how many cubic feet that is and how many cubic feet are in a bag of charcoal? Any takers?

http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f260/diet069/Summer2008057-1-1.jpg

mjl
12-31-2008, 04:54 PM
I had a freind make me a extended charcoal basket for my party, out of expanded stainless. The dimensions were approx 13 x 13 x 7. That took the basket up to about 2 inches under the bottom of the water pan. I also had a metal plate cut to about 14 x 14 to go over the top of the basket and act as a heat divertor. I use a guru and can comfortably get around 10ish hours of burn time with the basket.
As for an entire contest on a Party, alot depends on how much meat you are looking to cook. I typically cook 2 briskets, 3 butts, 4-6 racks ribs, and 12-18 thighs. It can be done all on one Party, but can also be a little tight, especially if you get behind on your butts and briskets for whatever reason. For that reason, I picked up a used BWS Chubby, just for a little extra capacity, it eventually became our primary chicken cooker. I just purchased a BWS Fatboy, but that is certainly not a knock on the performance of the Party. I was very pleased with the Party.
As for transporting the Party, I just pick it up and put it in my van, on its side atop cardboard and some blankets. I remove the waterpan, grates, and charoal basket to make it easier for me to lift.
Feel free to PM f you have any other questions.

Good luck
Matt

watertowerbbq
12-31-2008, 05:00 PM
i'll take a crack at your volume calculation...........

(14" x 14" x 6") / (1728 cubic inch per cubic foot) = 0.6806 cubic feet

i went into the garage and checked out a 21.6 lb bag of Kingsford. if you roll down the top and measure the dimensions you get APPROXIMATELY 12" x 18" x 5", which equates to

(12" x 18" x 5" ) / 1728 = 0.625 cubic feet

my measurements might be off, but the math should be good.

HB-BBQ
01-01-2009, 11:03 AM
Rob, can you help these brothers out with soem pics? I bought my BWS from my neighbor, HB-BBQ. He has lots of photos...I have none. Perhaps he'll slide in here with some pron.I am glad I saved this link, theres some good info in there.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?p=488335#post488335

The standard burn time with 5lbs of brigs was only 4-6 hours hours before those mods. That changed and I was able to get 10-12hr cook times at 225F with some drops down to 200F occasionally later on in the cook. A little shake of the basket would cure that and bring her right back up. Keep in mind that this was all done without a Guru as I thought they were a joke (more below on that). I feel the heat divertor is primary reason for the change but the added fuel capacity had to be a benefit as well. I also found that mixing in some lump with the brigs seemed to extend those times.

I have since become a believer in the Guru's after cooking with CountryHB's at Viejas. We fired it up the Party at 8pm Friday night and she ran solid until Noon the next day all on one load of charcoal. We did add a few chunks of wood for flavor during that period but regardless I was quite impressed to see any cooker go for 16hrs straight other than a WSM or Drum. I am planning on getting a Fatboy soon, and will definitely invest in a guru for her. I know the Party is more than capable of doing an entire KCBS comp by itself as we have done it twice at the last two Viejas comps. It does get a bit crowded at times but we managed no problem.

TN_BBQ
01-01-2009, 01:13 PM
i'll take a crack at your volume calculation...........

(14" x 14" x 6") / (1728 cubic inch per cubic foot) = 0.6806 cubic feet

i went into the garage and checked out a 21.6 lb bag of Kingsford. if you roll down the top and measure the dimensions you get APPROXIMATELY 12" x 18" x 5", which equates to

(12" x 18" x 5" ) / 1728 = 0.625 cubic feet

my measurements might be off, but the math should be good.

Thanks. I knew somebody could crunch the numbers.

I'll do a less (or more) scientific calculation next time I pull an over-nighter by taking a full bag and dumping as much as I can in there. I'm betting my problem will be that I don't have any sidewalls to contain all the coal the way MJL does, it'll probably hold less (maybe 15lbs. or so). Even so, I routinely pull overnighters with my BWS Party.

If I did a full competition with just the BWS party, I'd dump the ash and reload first thing in the morning. No sense in trying to push the limits since dumping coals isn't that big of a deal (so long as you use leather gloves and some pliers).

billm
01-01-2009, 04:15 PM
Like what? Mine is pretty much standard.

I think the charcoal grate measures 14"x14" and there's at least 6" clearance.
Maybe some math person wants to compute how many cubic feet that is and how many cubic feet are in a bag of charcoal? Any takers?

http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f260/diet069/Summer2008057-1-1.jpg
not like yours..someone else mentioned having the sides extended on their charcoal pan to hold more charcoal

billm
01-01-2009, 04:16 PM
I am glad I saved this link, theres some good info in there.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?p=488335#post488335

The standard burn time with 5lbs of brigs was only 4-6 hours hours before those mods. That changed and I was able to get 10-12hr cook times at 225F with some drops down to 200F occasionally later on in the cook. A little shake of the basket would cure that and bring her right back up. Keep in mind that this was all done without a Guru as I thought they were a joke (more below on that). I feel the heat divertor is primary reason for the change but the added fuel capacity had to be a benefit as well. I also found that mixing in some lump with the brigs seemed to extend those times.

I have since become a believer in the Guru's after cooking with CountryHB's at Viejas. We fired it up the Party at 8pm Friday night and she ran solid until Noon the next day all on one load of charcoal. We did add a few chunks of wood for flavor during that period but regardless I was quite impressed to see any cooker go for 16hrs straight other than a WSM or Drum. I am planning on getting a Fatboy soon, and will definitely invest in a guru for her. I know the Party is more than capable of doing an entire KCBS comp by itself as we have done it twice at the last two Viejas comps. It does get a bit crowded at times but we managed no problem.
how big a of a load of charcoal ?

CivilWarBBQ
01-03-2009, 03:24 PM
Thanks to all who chimed in with ideas. I'll definitely be looking in to extending the firebox. Though I own a Stoker, we prefer not to rely on electrics at competitions, so it's good to know folks have no problem maintaining temps with a normally aspirated Party. I purchased this smoker primarily as a rib cooker and may try it out at an MBN show this season.

Unfortunately the timing has been poor for trying the BWS out since we just opened a new restaurant this week, but I'm planning to do a test cook with a few short ribs tomorrow just to get a feel for the beastie.

Thanks again for helping a brother out!
-Gowan

WineMaster
01-03-2009, 03:56 PM
Backwoods smokers Rock

HB-BBQ
01-03-2009, 03:58 PM
how big a of a load of charcoal ? I used a half of a bag of brigs (10lbs) after the mods when I had the Party. We used about the same amount of Rancher at the comp with the Guru. The outdoor temps were around 60F at night and 85F during the day...