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bjordan
06-08-2009, 10:53 PM
I'm in a little need of some guidance. Started competitive BBQ 5 years ago, have always been middle of the pack. My family did MIM events groing up and that was what I started with and currently do a couple of MIM/MBN events a year with a couple of KCBS and 1 or 2 nonsanctioned events a year.
I think I will concentrate on KCBS from now on and will still do MIM every year but am having a problem with help. I have gone through 6 or 7 team mates over the last 5 years and just haven't found anyone with the correct passion to put it mildly. We are getting better. Scores are improving greatly but my problem has been help and entering only the very large contests. What are my options, join another team or continue until I can find the right partners? Just this last weekend my partner that was going to do the chicken never showed up and I rushed through it late for a 40th out of 67 that really hurt. I can do a KCBS by myself with the wife and have lots of fun but really need financial help with team members to keep doing enough to keep going. I'm sure every team has gone through this and has some help for me. I am one of the hardest working BBQers there is and do Memphis In May every year by myself and even had a 15th place showing in ribs in 08 out of 160 or so and fed 80 people every night 4 days in a row.

Help Please,

Brad

71-South
06-09-2009, 09:53 PM
I don't compete, so take this with a grain of salt.

I'd concentrate on the smaller contests for a while - just you and your wife. Do as many as your budget allows and enjoy that for a while as you further hone your skills.

Let a partner (or partners) come along naturally. You'll probably meet more like minded folks (open to partnerships) at the smaller comps than you will at the larger comps.

Anyway, good luck with it all. Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy it.

PatioDaddio
06-09-2009, 11:14 PM
Compete on your own. That's what I have done since day one, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Win, lose, or draw, it's all my fault. Sure, it's more work, but look at the hassle you're eliminating.

John

bbq ron
06-10-2009, 06:09 AM
well to be honest, i have not competed yet for the same reason.
still looking for the right people that have the same passion as i have to put a team together so good luck and hang in there. :-P:-P

Divemaster
06-10-2009, 10:38 AM
Don't get me wrong, I love my team, but I also know that I can do it by my self if I had to...

When we did our first comp last year, only one of my helpers (it's me and 3 helpers) had ever seen a cooker, let alone a Lang... I showed them how to check the temps and feed the belly of the beast. That was all I asked of them so I could get a couple of hours sleep during the night. That weekend we ended up with a 2nd in Ribs, 3rd in Chicken and a 3rd overall...

The team has evolved over the last year. Lori does the box preparation, Angelo is my right hand man while we are cooking, and Numda is there to make sure I have every thing when it's time for turn in... Every now and then we have new people who join us... Their job is to keep every one out of the site during the prep for turn in and make sure that the beer cooler is always stocked.... The thing that works for us is that there is a definite organization hierarchy to our team. Every one knows their place and job but they also know that they can do the others jobs as well (except mine... LOL).

Just to make sure that I still 'had it', Lori and I did a practice comp up in Michigan this spring... She wasn't able to get there until after 11 Friday night so I was on my own for a good part. Preparation is the key! I had all of my meats trimmed before I left and had my recipes handy.... Lori prepared the boxes on Saturday morning while I took care of the rest... We ended up with a 1st in Ribs, 3rd in Pork, and 4th in Chicken (don't ask about the brisket, you don't want to know)...

I guess what I'm saying is that I would try it alone with your wife (I don't think that came out right... LOL) and maybe use our mentoring program (BBQ Brethren Team Mentoring (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=49) ) to find another helper or at least some help that does have at least some of the passion we all do...

Good Luck!!!!

Alexa RnQ
06-10-2009, 10:49 AM
We compete KCBS with just the two of us, and can't imagine adding more. Don't turn yourself inside out feeding crowds just for the sake of attending large contests -- put your hard work into at-home practice honing your product, and go to the not-mega contests for judging feedback. Strip your expenses and packing down to be as cost-efficient as possible, and see how that works for a while.

We're the Beverly Hillbillies of our competition circuit -- towing a borrowed trailer with a passenger car, using backyard cookers. Hell, some of the big winners out here do it from a mini-van!!! Two-man teams, both of them.

Scottie
06-10-2009, 11:00 AM
I compete on my own the majority of contests. I've also won competiting on my own. So I know it can be done...

musicmanryann
06-10-2009, 11:06 AM
I completely understand the desire to have some other friends, family etc. around you to share the experience with and get a little help. I also share a similar frustration to find a few other people to get passionate about it other than me, at least to help me not feel so crazy.:wink:

I also agree with the many comments above about the benefits to having only one or none helpers to get the job done. It just makes it simpler--sometimes it takes longer to ask someone to get something for you or tend the cookers or whatever than it would take to do it yourself. I know for a fact that this past weekend two living legends of bbq cooked the Great PorkBarbeQlossal all by themselves, and typically all the help they get are from their wives.

Find a process that works for you and stick with it as well. Good luck!

Brew-B-Q
06-10-2009, 11:12 AM
Having cooked with anywhere from 1 to 3 other team members, I can say that having only one helper works best. Others tend to get in the way and complicate things.

Dan and I have it down pretty good, process-wise. If one of the other guys wants to come, they'll know right away that they are there to help clean up, socialize, and that's about it.

But, most of my team has no clue how to bbq. So you're experiences may differ if you have people that are q-ing on a regular basis.

To quote Mike Mills - "you've got to have your Indians and you've got to have your chief. And it's real important for all of the Indians to know who the chief is."

Jeff_in_KC
06-10-2009, 11:31 AM
You've gotten some good advice so far and I would mostly give a second to most of it. Cook smaller events with just you and the wife. I bet you enjoy it more. I found it easier and more rewarding to cook with my wife as my "team" rather than building a team of different people, each responsible for a category. I know it works for many folks and in fact, that's how it was supposed to start for me but my team mate (only one) decided he was going to focus on his real estate career and my wife stepped in and that has been the team from almost the beginning. In our third year, Stan came aboard to help out. He does whatever is needed, although in most cases, Tammy and I do all categories. We don't ask Stan to pay for any of the comp unless there's something he wants to do. He did brisket once and won it. Stan is the calming influence, the glass half full guy, problem solver (cheesecake balls! LOL!) and helps with his opinion of what to turn in and how it should look. I wouldn't want to lose Stan's assistance but I know he could go out on his own with a team and do damned well!

Here's my thought on husband/wife teams: There's never any question about money or prizes... we take 'em all home! We don't have to split anything. It all goes back into the BBQ account for future events. We don't have to purchase second trophies, etc. so everyone will have one. Who is paying for what is never a question.

Having said all that, my only Grand so far came with me and Sloppy teaming up. That's a whole other deal though. It works for us because we just seem to work well together and cook a lot alike, plus we have our "system" all ironed out when we cook as Sloppy Creek.

early mornin' smokin'
06-10-2009, 12:00 PM
we only started competing last year, first contest, I signed up, offered it up to anyone who wanted to come and lend a hand. All said and done, i had one extra set of hands. Our second year, this current one, its me and 2 good friends. Id say stick with the KCBS events, go with your wife, heck, maybe even another couple who can help and have fun.

Scottie
06-10-2009, 12:33 PM
I know for a fact that this past weekend two living legends of bbq cooked the Great PorkBarbeQlossal all by themselves, and typically all the help they get are from their wives.



Those wives of those "living legends" could probably win a contest on their own if they ever decided to go out and cook... I know my sister has saved my butt a couple of times. I also know I probably should of listened to her more often than I do... Like last weekend and scaring the judges with anything other than pulled pork or slices of brisket... But I am pig-headed and didn't listen... Next time I will...

Brew-B-Q
06-10-2009, 12:45 PM
Like last weekend and scaring the judges with anything other than pulled pork or slices of brisket

I cursed my burnt ends the whole ride home. I think they confused the judges.

Divemaster
06-10-2009, 12:59 PM
To quote Mike Mills - "you've got to have your Indians and you've got to have your chief. And it's real important for all of the Indians to know who the chief is."

This isn't a question with my team... We all have jobs, but mine is the only one that no one else can do.

monty3777
06-10-2009, 01:04 PM
This may be a regional bias but I can't imagine why anyone would put themselves through all the hassle of doing an MIM contest. The few KCBS contests I have been to provide plenty of excitement and contact with crowds without burdening the teams with a lot of BS costs. Take this from a guy who has NEVER been to an MIM contest - just shooting my mouth off :) I guess I'm saying that at a KCBS you and your wife can easily do all the work!

Scottie
06-10-2009, 01:08 PM
I cursed my burnt ends the whole ride home. I think they confused the judges.


I did too. Mine were like buttah though and were very flavorful... But my sis told me not to put them in, as they were inexperienced judges with no knowledge of what burnt ends or slices of pork are... I told her they were beyond just being "good", they were excellent... Next time, I will listen to her..

musicmanryann
06-10-2009, 01:08 PM
Those wives of those "living legends" could probably win a contest on their own if they ever decided to go out and cook... I know my sister has saved my butt a couple of times. I also know I probably should of listened to her more often than I do... Like last weekend and scaring the judges with anything other than pulled pork or slices of brisket... But I am pig-headed and didn't listen... Next time I will...

You're right! Additionally I know I could not do it without the help and support of my better half as well.

musicmanryann
06-10-2009, 01:15 PM
I did too. Mine were like buttah though and were very flavorful... But my sis told me not to put them in, as they were inexperienced judges with no knowledge of what burnt ends or slices of pork are... I told her they were beyond just being "good", they were excellent... Next time, I will listen to her..

This is interesting that there are KCBS judges out there that don't know or comprehend the sublimity that are burnt ends and slices of MM. I know these were talked about during my judging class, although that was taught by the President of KCBS.

Scottie
06-10-2009, 01:22 PM
This is interesting that there are KCBS judges out there that don't know or comprehend the sublimity that are burnt ends and slices of MM. I know these were talked about during my judging class, although that was taught by the President of KCBS.

There were only 5 CBJ's this contest (16 teams).... Then you have to ask yourself how many times have they judged? Just because you have a CBJ does not mean you know how to properly judge BBQ... But let's face it. How many folks have ever eaten sliced BBQ pork? The vast majority of folks have tried pulled pork though... So my sisters whole point was to dumb it down for them. I figured awesome burnt ends and pork slices could stand on their own. But if these folks don't know what they are or how to compare them it's sorta a moot point of they were good or not. Because they don't have a starting point...

musicmanryann
06-10-2009, 01:47 PM
There were only 5 CBJ's this contest (16 teams).... Then you have to ask yourself how many times have they judged? Just because you have a CBJ does not mean you know how to properly judge BBQ... But let's face it. How many folks have ever eaten sliced BBQ pork? The vast majority of folks have tried pulled pork though... So my sisters whole point was to dumb it down for them. I figured awesome burnt ends and pork slices could stand on their own. But if these folks don't know what they are or how to compare them it's sorta a moot point of they were good or not. Because they don't have a starting point...

I suppose you are right. So would you then advocate strategizing your turn-ins based on the make-up of your judges based on their experience, just as some change their approach based on the region they are competing in? How did you or your sister know the judges lacked the experience to appreciate excellent burnt ends? Any wisdom you could lend would be appreciated. Thanks!

Sorry if I am hijacking this thread. I will shut up now.:icon_shy

Scottie
06-10-2009, 02:28 PM
She just figured that they would of only of had pulled pork or sliced brisket... Figuring that burnt ends were a KC staple and unless you are a die hard BBQ guy, probably have never heard or tasted them...

Divemaster
06-10-2009, 02:32 PM
She just figured that they would of only of had pulled pork or sliced brisket... Figuring that burnt ends were a KC staple and unless you are a die hard BBQ guy, probably have never heard or tasted them...
I can see how you would want to adjust what is presented based on the CBJ percentage... My question is where did you come up with that percentage?

Scottie
06-10-2009, 02:49 PM
The organizer told us that he had 5 CBJ's... As he was originally telling us he had 11...

Divemaster
06-10-2009, 02:52 PM
That sucks... Almost as bad as having a 100% CBJ that were just certified the day before....

Scottie
06-10-2009, 03:06 PM
If you see that a comp is having a CBJ class before a contest. I have found that the scores will be whacked the next day at a contest... Honestly, I would rather them pull judges off the street than have 100% new CBJ's...

Divemaster
06-10-2009, 03:09 PM
If you see that a comp is having a CBJ class before a contest. I have found that the scores will be whacked the next day at a contest... Honestly, I would rather them pull judges off the street than have 100% new CBJ's...
That's when I pull out my Famous Dave's recipes.....

Plowboy
06-10-2009, 03:21 PM
First decide if you want to cook or compete. If you just want to be out there and need the money to do it, then cooking for 80 people is fine. Nothing wrong with that. If you want good scores... dump the crowd as fast as you can. Streamline to just the things and activities you need to WIN the contest. This may actually save you some money that can turn into product or entry fees.

Sounds like you want to be more competitive, so I'd say dump the extracurriculars as fast as you can, enter as many contests as you can afford, look for ways afford more, and work by yourself if you can't find a worthy companion. I'm fortunate to have two great guys (Randy & Andy) who can step in at any time as a Plowboy. However, I go it completely alone several times a year.

Jeff_in_KC
06-10-2009, 03:34 PM
First decide if you want to cook or compete. If you just want to be out there and need the money to do it, then cooking for 80 people is fine. Nothing wrong with that. If you want good scores... dump the crowd as fast as you can. Streamline to just the things and activities you need to WIN the contest. This may actually save you some money that can turn into product or entry fees.

Sounds like you want to be more competitive, so I'd say dump the extracurriculars as fast as you can, enter as many contests as you can afford, look for ways afford more, and work by yourself if you can't find a worthy companion. I'm fortunate to have two great guys (Randy & Andy) who can step in at any time as a Plowboy. However, I go it completely alone several times a year.

The lesson to be learned here is that if you need a stand-in for a team member, look for someone who has a name that rhymes with "Randy". :lol:

Plowboy
06-10-2009, 03:37 PM
The lesson to be learned here is that if you need a stand-in for a team member, look for someone who has a name that rhymes with "Randy". :lol:

Like a stripper named Candy.

stlgreg
06-10-2009, 03:47 PM
She just figured that they would of only of had pulled pork or sliced brisket... Figuring that burnt ends were a KC staple and unless you are a die hard BBQ guy, probably have never heard or tasted them...

Don't forget to turn in overcooked ribs too. Non CBJs like falling off the bone ribs

stlgreg
06-10-2009, 03:49 PM
My wife and I are a team. I used to have a team of three cooks. Each of the three of us had a different level of dedication. My skill (or the way I see my skill) out paced theirs and I am having a lot more fun competing this way.

71-South
06-10-2009, 05:16 PM
Like a stripper named Candy.

How did you know my stage name?