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View Full Version : Gettin' Some Darn Sleep!


musicmanryann
02-20-2009, 11:23 AM
Me and my fledgling Q Team competed in our first competition last season and are looking forward to getting more in to it this year. After that first competition I found my greatest challenge was actually getting some sleep before things start to heat up before turn-ins. I didn't get one wink of sleep (admittedly, I am a person that needs/desires some shut-eye probably more than the next guy), and the next day I was in a complete daze when I should be bringing my A-game, and stayed that way until Monday morning.

Now this had a lot to do with nerves and the uncertainty of being in my first cook-off, but mostly I was afraid of something going terribly wrong with my briskets and butts while I was off countin' sheep. Namely, trying to keep that steady temp on the three WSMs we were using.

Now this might be a question more for the WSM contingent out there, but how do y'all cope with making sure your cookers are doing their job without you there checking every half-hour to make sure they are keeping a steady temp? I used the Minion Method, but found I still had to adjsut through the night to keep the temps where I wanted them.

Perhaps I simply need to "let do and let God" or learn to deal with sleepless nights, but any thoughts or bits of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

ique
02-20-2009, 11:35 AM
http://www.thebbqguru.com/

parrothead
02-20-2009, 11:38 AM
We took shifts. You can also get a thermometer that will alarm if temps drop below or rise above your predetermined points.

Jacked UP BBQ
02-20-2009, 11:57 AM
drink, stay up, and enjoy!

michiana mark
02-20-2009, 12:01 PM
I found that my WSM leaks air like a screen door. Where the bottom and middle meet and also the door. Anything you can do to keep these air tight will smooth out your temp variations. That being said I love my UDS.
Sleeping in shifts would be an excellent idea also.

Finney
02-20-2009, 12:10 PM
Find you WSM's 'sweet spot' I've got one that loves 250* , one that likes to be a little lower, and one that likes to be higher.
Figure yours out and don't try and force them far from 'their' temp. Right before you go to sleep, either jiggle the WSM or wack the legs a couple of times to make the ash drop. As was already mentioned, get a digital thermometer with high and low alarm set points. Give yourself a plus and minus 10* range (a little more if you want) and forget it.

Jacked UP BBQ
02-20-2009, 12:13 PM
good solution is a spicewine

watg?
02-20-2009, 12:22 PM
http://www.thebbqguru.com/




I second this motion....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (thank you guru):-P

YankeeBBQ
02-20-2009, 12:33 PM
People sleep at competitions ?

Stoke&Smoke
02-20-2009, 12:34 PM
The guru or stoker are both awesome, but kind of pricey.

We just use maverik ET-73 wireless thermometers, mostly as a safety. I've found my WSM's hold pretty well until about 5:60-6 AM, when I'm usually getting up anyway. I just add more lump then to finish.

We got no sleep either the first time out, but our last comp we got 4 or 5 hours, no problem

Brew-B-Q
02-20-2009, 01:45 PM
If you want to do the atc thing and have 3 WSM, I would recommend the stoker over the guru. I use it to control 3 smokers and it works great. I just need to figure out how to force myself to stop boozing and go to sleep. That's a point of emphasis for me this year...

I've found my WSM's hold pretty well until about 5:60-6 AM

So getting up at 5:60 is the key to your award winning pork? :biggrin:

Alexa RnQ
02-20-2009, 01:58 PM
We use a bank of 4 WSMs, all driven by a Stoker.
It's used as a failsafe more than anything else -- VQ can function well on a couple of 90-minute sleep chunks. We also have to take into account that we usually had a VERY long overnight drive before we got there on Friday. So he's had to learn to be very disciplined about taking a nap after camp setup is complete, and taking an early sleep shift after meat prep is complete instead of wandering around and socializing as much as he'd like.

I totally hear you about being too wound up in your first few outings, but soon you'll fall into a comfortable routine with your cook and getting those critical naps in will be easier!

Harbormaster
02-20-2009, 01:59 PM
I did my first comp last year using 4 naturally aspirated WSMs.
The only thing that prevented me from sleeping was the mosquitoes.
Practice on your WSMs every chance you get.
Know your WSMs inside and out, and let them go.

Balls Casten
02-20-2009, 02:31 PM
I second the practice sugestion. You really need to know your smoker. Add the same amount of coals each time. Practice with the same amount of meat that you will be cooking for a comp. Take notes of your practice and things will get pretty routine.

The remote thermometers will help you sleep better too. Its a lot easier to open one eye at a remote than it is to get up and walk over to the smoker.

Smokin' Joe
02-21-2009, 08:19 AM
I was in the same boat...get a stoker or guru:-D

I just need to figure out how to force myself to stop boozing and go to sleep. That's a point of emphasis for me this year...


With the crew you're cookin with you had just as well forget that notion:shock::lol:

butt head
02-21-2009, 08:34 AM
I set my phone alarm. when everything is holding good i set it for 1 1/2 then crash, get up when it go's off check my temps do what needs to be done then reset alarm. i wind up getting about 5 hr's sleep doing this. not alot but better then nothin

Sidw
02-21-2009, 08:52 AM
I set my phone alarm. when everything is holding good i set it for 1 1/2 then crash, get up when it go's off check my temps do what needs to be done then reset alarm. i wind up getting about 5 hr's sleep doing this. not alot but better then nothin

I do about the same with our stick burner -based on outdoor conditions I set my phone alarm anywhere from 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Get up and do whatever needs to be done. Usually start napping about 1:00 am till about 5:00 am. Get the wifey partner up around 5 am and she takes over. Try to get a little extra nap at that time. Works good for us!

NotleyQue
02-21-2009, 09:22 AM
The BBQ Guru is your answer. (I have given up on the Stoker dude)
Holds temps all night long. Lets you get a couple hours shut eye.

Dale P
02-21-2009, 09:37 AM
I do not sleep very much friday night at comps. Mike & Matt sleeps enough for everybody.:icon_sleepy
It sure isnt our smokers fault. Im just too fired up to sleep when the meat is on.

I remember Owensboro last year at midnight sitting at our table with Sid. Drinking a cold one trying to get some tips on brisket.
If you want someone who can hold a secret, Sid is THE man. :-P

There isnt a doubt in my mind that sleep is not overated at comps though.

White Dog BBQ
02-21-2009, 09:38 AM
I'll agree with what was posted above -- a BBQ Guru is your friend.

For our first 5 competitions we didn't have a Guru -- even then, we got a few hours shuteye. Fill the water pan, make sure there is plenty of fuel, and get a Maverick ET-73 ($40). The temp alarms will help.

I figure no matter what, you have to be up by 6 to put your ribs on.

JD McGee
02-21-2009, 10:30 AM
My biggest problem as well...so I found a great solution...partner up with a graveyard shift worker...:twisted:

Sidw
02-21-2009, 03:17 PM
I remember Owensboro last year at midnight sitting at our table with Sid. Drinking a cold one trying to get some tips on brisket.
If you want someone who can hold a secret, Sid is THE man. :-P



We could probably be cajoled into coming up with some brisket tips in exchange for being schooled in the fine art of Perry Brothers world renowned stuffed mushrooms.http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/images/icons/icon6.gif

Dale P
02-21-2009, 04:22 PM
We could probably be cajoled into coming up with some brisket tips in exchange for being schooled in the fine art of Perry Brothers world renowned stuffed mushrooms.http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/images/icons/icon6.gif

Ill sleep on it. lol

DEAL!:!:
Sid I will throw in some of my rub which is key. How about that!

Brew-B-Q
02-22-2009, 07:57 AM
With the crew you're cookin with you had just as well forget that notion:shock::lol:

True, and I need to request spots not next to you.:biggrin:

smokinit
02-22-2009, 08:36 AM
The new Guru coming out will run multiple pits now should be out soon. Pm me for discounts for Brethren

Smokin' Joe
02-22-2009, 08:41 AM
True, and I need to request spots not next to you.:biggrin:

I have no idea what you're talking about:mrgreen:

Sidw
02-25-2009, 12:12 PM
DEAL!:!:
Sid I will throw in some of my rub which is key. How about that!


Sounds great to me - you go 1st - then I will tell what I know.http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/images/icons/icon12.gif