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View Full Version : Does beginners luck exist in BBQ Contests???


CrackerJack from KC
03-16-2010, 11:15 AM
So I am thinking about doing my 1st competition, but it doesn't really seem worth it to spend all the money if I don't really have a chance to win.

I know I cook really good Brisket and Pork, I could learn a thing or two on Ribs and have a lot to learn on cookin Chicken thighs.

So my question is, does anybody have any good beginners luck stories about doing well at their 1st ever BBQ Contest?

Buster Dog BBQ
03-16-2010, 11:27 AM
I have seen a guy win a GC in his first contest and I have seen first year teams like Big T's tear it up their first year. I think you make your own luck by how much time, detail and dedication you want to spend at that contest. If you want to show up and drink all night with your buddies, probably won't fare to well. If you show up and do your very best, pay attention, etc you might surprise yourself.

smknwhlswife
03-16-2010, 11:28 AM
You never know unless you try! I would not enter into a contest (first time) and have the goal to win. My goal would be to learn as much as I can. Learn about how a contest is run, learn from my neighbors and most important..... have fun!!!!

Lake Dogs
03-16-2010, 11:33 AM
What he said... There really is no luck, but just because you're competing in your first
or second competition that you can't do well. We had a walk in ribs on our first comp,
walked in everything our 2nd and RGC'd, then third comp was bottom 1/3rd in
everything... Not DAL, but very close to the bottom. I will tell you, we learned more from that 3rd comp than we ever did from the others.

Give it a try. Be prepared. Practice. Take a look at pics for turn-in boxes (as you
wouldn't ordinarily do this at home). I think you'll have fun. Oh, that's the big key:
HAVE FUN.

RobKC
03-16-2010, 12:21 PM
We never would have entered our first contest if we were concerned about winning right away. Our goal was to do our best, but also learn as much as we could. Definitely learned the value of appearance scores when we lost a tie-breaker for a call in brisket :redface:.

If you can make it to Osage City 4/9-10, feel free to look us up and hang out.

kindollbbq
03-16-2010, 12:33 PM
I am doing my first competition this year as well. I am going into it exactly as these guys have said; expecting to finish DAL!!! :) Then if I do, I won't be so surprised, and anything better than that is just icing on the cake!!!

Good luck with your competition!!


Brandon

G$
03-16-2010, 12:37 PM
Yes, first time contestants can and do perform well.

Plus, you have to start some time.

(We walked with a 4th place ribs call in our first sanctioned contest, about 50 teams. We were satisfied with that.)

Smitty250
03-16-2010, 12:47 PM
My first comp was an IBCA comp Sept. 2009. I had a goal of not coming in DAL. I knew I would learn alot and meet some really cool people. Both of those happened and I ended up placing 6th in Ribs and 8th in Chicken.

Maybe you might want to start off with a smaller competition to see how you fare. You will definitely learn more and more every time you compete. I have my 5th comp. this weekend and know there is still much more to learn. Good luck!!

Butts-n-gutts
03-16-2010, 12:54 PM
Our first comp we walked with a 2nd in Ribs and 1st in Pork and RGC. Our second we comp we finished 24 of 25. next comp 1st in Brisket and another RGC. You will never know until you try.

Todd Ras
03-16-2010, 12:59 PM
You never know if you don't try. We did our first one last year and practiced for 4-6 months before hand. We took 12th overall out of 80 teams and got a call for 9th in chicken. So, make sure to do some full set up practices and have a lot of fun.

I met a lot of people on here last year including the guys from Border War and there always willing to help. Don't be afraid to ask questions and just enjoy your friends and family!

CrackerJack from KC
03-16-2010, 01:03 PM
Rob, thanks for the offer, but I am cooking Q for close to 200 people that following weekend at church, and we are doing a lot of our planning and shopping that weekend.

The contest I am looking at is


18th ANNUAL LAURIE HILLBILLY BAR-B-Q COOK-OFF
AUG. 6th & 7th, 2010

$7225.00 IN CASH PRIZES+TROPHIES & RIBBONS
LAKE OF THE OZARKS REGION STATE CHAMPIONSHIP COOK-OFF
KCBS SANCTIONED
http://www.freewebs.com/lauriemissouri/bbqcookoff.htm

My parents live about 2 miles from there, so I would have easy access to anything I might have forgotten, plus a soft bed if I chose to sleep that night. About 75 teams competed last year, and I think a fellow Bretheren came home with the grand prize last year.

BBQchef33
03-16-2010, 01:04 PM
Our first contest out Parrothead and I finished

1st in chicken
1st in rib
3 rd in brisket
5th in pork

what sucked was it was unsanctioned and the organizer took HIGHEST individual score as the overall winner instead of cumulative. So a team with a single high pork score was considered GC. If it was KCBS we would have walked with GC and invites.



http://www.bbq-brethren.com/albums/2004grillkings/DSCN1117.jpg




that just proved to us anyone has a shot on any given day. But doing that the well first time out, we really got bit by the bug. We did well in the following 3 (kcbs)contests with 3 3rd place(overall) finishes in a row. That year, we did a total of 5 contests and finished top 5 in all of them.


My theory is that we ALL know how to cook BBQ when we enter a contest. But the real challenge and learning curve comes with learning how to compete.. how to produce your "A" product, in a 10 minute window. The term 'its done when its done', does not apply in a contest. Competition BBQ is all about hitting that bullseye at 12:00 12:30, 1:00, and 1:30.

Critter Done --- BBQ4U !!
03-16-2010, 01:32 PM
You'll always be a beginner if you never enter !!!
Cook with Love and Love to Cook, it will show up in your finished product.
awards are just a really nice bonus !

Born2Smoke
03-16-2010, 01:38 PM
We took first place in Ribs in Rochester last year (Ribfest, non KCBS) for our first ever competition...It happens

So I am thinking about doing my 1st competition, but it doesn't really seem worth it to spend all the money if I don't really have a chance to win.

I know I cook really good Brisket and Pork, I could learn a thing or two on Ribs and have a lot to learn on cookin Chicken thighs.

So my question is, does anybody have any good beginners luck stories about doing well at their 1st ever BBQ Contest?

musicmanryann
03-16-2010, 01:41 PM
Take your time to learn as much as you can about competition style bbq, ask questions, visit contests, and perhaps take a class. Your hard work and preparation will pay off. Beginner or not, luck is a part of the equation, that is just a reality of the subjective aspect of of this sport. However, when it comes down to it, the cream will rise to the top. If you have what it takes--what the judges are looking for--yours will rise too.

Harbormaster
03-16-2010, 02:07 PM
I did my first comp in 2008.

I had simple goals: 1) No DQs. 2) Don't miss any turn-ins. 3) No DAL finishes.

Those goals were met, with a bonus 5th in brisket and 6th in pork. 11th overall out of 39.

A VERY successful first outing IMHO.

smokaholic
03-16-2010, 02:26 PM
I just did my first contest this past weekend at the NKC snake saturday one. I placed 8th in brisket which is what I was concentrating on and we finished 64th overall out of 109 teams. I consider that 8th place HUGE in my book being my first time competing ever and there being alot of quality veteran teams.

My advice is to pull the trigger and do one. If you dont like it you dont have to keep doing it. Its definately a challenge and not worth the money per se. I do it cause I love cookin bbq.

Scottie
03-16-2010, 03:00 PM
yes, luck has a huge part of the end results. But you still have to cook good food. We have no input on which table our food is going. Some days, it's the right table. Other days, it's the wrong table...

Can anyone win on any given Saturday? Yes. The learning curve has been shorted the last few years with the detailed cooking classes that are going on. So you do see a bunch of guys hitting it big their first year. Is that all because of cooking classes? No it's not. but it sure does relate to a bunch of new teams...

BBQ_Mayor
03-16-2010, 03:01 PM
Like most the others say, practice, study, learn, and go after it. Most of all have fun.
If your in this to make money, you have the wrong hobby.
As far as luck goes, I didn't well right out the gate winning a WSM for best rookie cook in my first contest.
Of course since then, the luck has past me over many many times. Maybe it will stop in and say hi one of these days. I miss you luck, come back to me. :pout:

jason
03-16-2010, 04:17 PM
Is it better to start in a backyard competition and move to the big leagues after getting a few competitions under your belt? Or just jump right into the KCBS/FBA/etc Pro sanctioned stuff?

Alexa RnQ
03-16-2010, 05:58 PM
West Coast BBQ Championships, Fairfield CA in 2008, 40-team field (which was big for its day) was won by Cecil's Smok'n BBQ, their first contest ever!

The_Kapn
03-16-2010, 06:05 PM
Is it better to start in a backyard competition and move to the big leagues after getting a few competitions under your belt? Or just jump right into the KCBS/FBA/etc Pro sanctioned stuff?

No way to answer that for everyone.

Just look at the $$ involved and see how proud you are of your cooking.
If you are gonna stress over $$--start backyard.
If you have the resources, do the Pro side and see what happens.

We went straight to Pro and have never looked back.
May have been a mistake, but has worked for us.

Good luck no matter what you decide.

TIM

Coz
03-16-2010, 06:05 PM
Winning first time out ? No sweat . practice so many times your sick of BBQ before you ever get close to the comp.Get a great mentor .Take a class or two from an established winning cook( even the backyard class) . When your cooker quits in the middle of the nite dont sweat it . it all boils down to having some luck and cooking average or better BBQ and it landing on on the right tables. Doing the homework increases the odds but even then its a huge crapshoot.If your worried about spending the amount it takes to compete you wont enjoy the experience. Work hard at it and let the chips fall where they may but if you are not enjoying the day it doesnt matter how much or how little you spend you wont want to do it again. I have a great friend who reminds me every so often that this is supposed to be fun. Thanks Buzz . Oh yeah and dont forget the tornado at that first comp.

Jeff Hughes
03-16-2010, 06:22 PM
Rob, thanks for the offer, but I am cooking Q for close to 200 people that following weekend at church, and we are doing a lot of our planning and shopping that weekend.

The contest I am looking at is


18th ANNUAL LAURIE HILLBILLY BAR-B-Q COOK-OFF

AUG. 6th & 7th, 2010

$7225.00 IN CASH PRIZES+TROPHIES & RIBBONS
LAKE OF THE OZARKS REGION STATE CHAMPIONSHIP COOK-OFF
KCBS SANCTIONED
http://www.freewebs.com/lauriemissouri/bbqcookoff.htm


My parents live about 2 miles from there, so I would have easy access to anything I might have forgotten, plus a soft bed if I chose to sleep that night. About 75 teams competed last year, and I think a fellow Bretheren came home with the grand prize last year.

Yes, Andy won on his birthday last year...

That is a way tough comp, lots of regular GC teams are there.

I compete a lot and took 11th overall, and I was delighted...

Don't go into your first comp expecting to win, you will just set yourself up for a let down. Just go and have fun, it's really hard to win a comp like that...

Solidkick
03-16-2010, 06:42 PM
I think it is possible....but the key to winning is learning/knowing how to compete...paying attention to details, staying on your timelines, knowing how to recover if you fall off your timelines, presentations, good flavor profiles.

There are a ton of great cooks out there, but it's the ones that have mastered competing that bring home the paychecks.

Good luck to you!

JD McGee
03-16-2010, 09:15 PM
I didn't finish last...:cool:

daedalus
03-17-2010, 06:43 AM
I took 2nd in Chicken, and finished 9th overall in my first attempt. It was a backyard comp, but that allowed me to get my feet wet without spending a fortune. It taught me that I can do it, and that it is worth it to me to get a pro setup.

Fat Woody
03-17-2010, 07:38 AM
Yes, it's possible to luck out - we did it at our first contest cooking a "backyard" brisket: no injection, seared to "seal" it, probably overcooked and still took a 12th out of 185 at Great Lenexa BBQ 2004. Not in the points, but it sure set the hook and made us over confident going into our next comp.

Since you're not going to compete until August and because you live in the KC area, you should have a few opportunities to check out a few local comps and get some ideas and suggestions to increase your odds. If you want to come to Pleasant Hill in two weeks, our team could use some help as we're a bit short handed. PM me and let me know if you're interested - Woody

tmcmaster
03-18-2010, 01:10 AM
I'm also in the "First contest this year" club... and my only goal is to turn everything in. I fully expect to finish DAL across the board, but the beauty of that, is there is no where to go but up... and the BBQ world is like my weird, smokey and sometimes alcohol drenched extended family... :wacko:

HumbleJay
03-18-2010, 08:11 AM
We were at the Smoktoberfest in Pa. last October and Clay Hill Cookers took Reserve Grand Champion and a 1st in Pork. It was there first KCBS competition. Our team is still green and learning more every time we compete. Looking for a better showing this year, our second full year of competing. Good Luck and have fun.

SteerCrazy
03-18-2010, 10:06 AM
I spent over 8 years smoking on 2 WSM's and learning as much as I could through these forums.

About 3 years ago I invested in a Spicewine trailored smoker and took Rod's (Pellet Envy) first cooking class.

I learned a ton from that class and it immediately made my BBQ better. Last year I decided to enter a contest, 49 teams, we took 5th overall with a top 10 in brisket and ribs, 3rd in pork and our chicken didn't do so well, it placed in the 30's. Prior to our first competition, we practiced for 3 weekends in a row.

Our 2nd competition 2 months later we took 10th overall out of another 49 teams, our chicken took 7th and brisket 9th with pork and ribs out of the top 10.

You'll have varied results but the important thing is to have fun!

lcbateman3
03-18-2010, 02:23 PM
We will be entering our first comp this year. I haven't even attended one yet. We are going mainly to learn. I know we will make mistakes, but we are going to go and have fun and try our best.

Only one way to go, that is all the way!

Jeff Selle
03-18-2010, 04:52 PM
Paul Kirk, the Baron of BBQ, won 1st in chicken, second in pork cooking on a Weber Kettle in his first competition... It was the American Royal in 1981. He credits passion and persistence.

Harry Soo, took on the pros and won the Jonny Trig rib cook-off and this is his second season in competition. He credits Faith (in yourself), Fire (in the belly and grill), and Focus...

Jeff Selle
03-18-2010, 04:55 PM
Oh, our team Rub 'em Raw BBQ, is going from the backyard to the pro circuit this year... like many have said on this thread... you gotta start somewhere...