View Full Version : First full practice cook

07-27-2009, 08:22 PM
Did my first practice cook this weekend. Learned so much. First rain is not your friend but nothing you can do about it. Poured during the night. I was so focused on not being late that I ended up having all the turn ins done way to early. Need to sort that out better. I'm very happy with the taste of the product but I need to work on the presentation. All in all it was a great experience. Much to learn but that is the fun part.


07-27-2009, 08:26 PM
Here is a shot of the ghetto kookers.


Uncle Buds BBQ
07-27-2009, 08:34 PM
Did you just set up in the back yard for the practice? If so...way to go! That's as close as it gets to a comp as long as you didn't run back into the house to get the apple juice!!! :-P

Do you want an appearance score?

07-27-2009, 08:37 PM
Looks good to me! I see everyone who posts pics of their setup have banners. Is that a KCBS requirement or just a coincidence?

07-27-2009, 08:51 PM
Did you just set up in the back yard for the practice? If so...way to go! That's as close as it gets to a comp as long as you didn't run back into the house to get the apple juice!!! :-P

Do you want an appearance score?

Sure, I'll take scores, criticism, pointers etc. Any input is welcome. I know I have a long way to go with appearance.

Yes it was in the backyard and I never went into the house. Prepped all the meat under the tent, did all the clean up under the ten etc. Even slept in the tent in the rain with kids. Kept a log in case I forgot about something so I could write it down.

07-27-2009, 08:53 PM
Looks good to me! I see everyone who posts pics of their setup have banners. Is that a KCBS requirement or just a coincidence?

Nope. Just shameless self promotion. Besides it looks cool.

07-27-2009, 08:56 PM
Nice way to get your feet wet.. I did the same several years ago with a full practice run in the yard.. only went in to pinch a loaf on the toilet.

Most importantly hopefully you nailed your timing, felt organized and probably the most important.. that you had a great time with your daughter and kept her involved !!

Anyway - as far as the boxes.. You are correct.. they need some work but we all start somewhere. Hard to tell but looks like you tried parsely on some and green leaf on others. Parsley looks decent.. If you go with green leaf make sure you lay it down evenly and cover the same height on the perimeter.. Don't be afraid to remove the spine of the lettuce for easier manueverability..start with big pieces in your corners and then add in layers in the centers at the 12, 3, 6, 9 o clock positions)

1) Chicken - needs some more darker color.. Skin looks a bit tough like it could have rendered more.

2) Ribs - a bit dark, needs more shine, even cuts

3) The best pork you have is in the center to upper right.. Get more of that !!! Scratch the large chunks of plain white meat from the center and don't make it look like cat food and you'll be OK.

4) brisket - a bit rough on the cuts. dip the slices in your au jus (if you foiled).

07-27-2009, 09:07 PM
way to go full set up and sleeping in back yard !!!! Little jealous :) ... brisket looks a little dry... and what kind of knife are you slicing with?

Uncle Buds BBQ
07-27-2009, 09:08 PM
Chicken - First thought was ...niceeeeeeee. Looks good...the parsley added to the appearance. Good color and a pretty shine to them. I give it an 8. Want to make it a 9? Get rid of the bone sticking out of the bottom left one and top right. Maybe a little more uniform in size for all of them. You are real close to high score on these.

Ribs - Good meaty sizes and clean cuts. They look a little dark and I wished they were more even in size but I bet they came from different slices. The piece of lettuce protruding between 2nd and 3rd from the left took away from the overall look. I give it a 6.

Pork - Look good. I like the shine and nice big pieces. I wanted a little better arrangement. It looks like you just dropped it into the box. I score it a 7.

Brisket - By far your best box! Nice arrangement, good color, lots of slices...oh I want to give it a 9 but the top of each slice looks ragged and they are not even...it gets an 8.

Honestly, I wish some of my boxes looked this good. :lol:

07-27-2009, 10:26 PM
It all looks great to me, especially the ribs. How long did it take to prepare everything and get it ready for "judging"?

bbq ron
07-28-2009, 05:52 AM
very nice first practice, i'm going to try my first shot at it this friday nite with my new team mates and see how it turns out. nice pics and hope mine turns out as well
jo jo's pullin pork team :-P:-P:-P

07-28-2009, 06:06 AM
Brian- we just did our second cook and timing is tough. We start out feeling rushed, then we end up being ready 10 minutes early by the time we get to pork. It was recommended to have a drink right after each turn-in.

07-28-2009, 07:28 AM
Work backwards to figure out your timing on each category.
12:00 - turn-in
11:45 - select pieces and box
11:00 - final glaze on cooker
10:30 - first sauce on cooker
09:45 - skin side up on cooker

Balls Casten
07-28-2009, 08:17 AM
Nothing wrong with being done early. Use an extra cooler to get stuff off the smoker and waiting for turn in. That is by far the best thing we have done to get better consistency.

Next time you cook, pull stuff and toss in a cooler to see how efficient your cooler it is.

I am sure you have seen the posts on the benefits of buying a cambro.

07-28-2009, 08:52 AM
I agree. We start heading for turn ins 7-8 minutes prior if we're ready. If we get all ferclempt about something we then have a few extra minutes.

Jacked UP BBQ
07-28-2009, 01:37 PM
Before I get into my critique, I would say you did a great job and commend you for setting that whole thing up in your back yard

Chicken - Too light, the sacue needs to be smoothed out, try to trim around the edges a little better to get full skin coverage.

Ribs - way to dark, almost look burnt. Understanding that briket and pork are suppose to look like that, ribs for comp should not. Hit with a thinned down finishing sauce so you do not need to brush. Also hide the sides of the rib, that is where you can brush the magic, but fo nor want that showing for presentation.

Pork - Bark looks good, add and show more and less of the WHITE meat.

Brisket - looks dry, burnt ends need better shaping. Not sure if you are using a sharp knife or not, but the bark on the slices looks torn.

Overall for your first run looks good.

07-28-2009, 06:07 PM
Thanks for all the input. To answer some of the questions.

Yes I need a better and sharper knife. I bought a long slicing knife but not a good one and I'm paying for it now.

I cooked and did the turn in just like a real comp. I had a spreadsheet to work from but as it was the first time with the timing it all came together early. I did cooler the brisket, pork and ribs.

Chicken does not seem to hold well so that will take more work on the timing as chicken does not sit well. Need to get it right off the cooker and into prep mode. Need to bring more sauce as I ran out and could not dunk them in so I had to brush them.

I had a bunch of neighbors over to eat everything so I separated the point and the flat to make burnt ends. I think that caused me some dryness points. I can cook it hot and fast and get better results but I am afraid that if something goes wrong I will not have enough time to recover. This brisket came out over cooked so it was hard to make it look good.

Yes ribs were too dark. Tasted great though. Need to work on that.

When cooking on the drums I need to remember things cook faster.

Pork, yes it looked like I just dumped it in there because that's what I did. Not sure yet how to present that. Money muscle was too well done to slice with that fantastic knife of mine.

So much to learn but that journey is what makes it interesting.

Chipper, I like your drink advice.