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wjc261
09-23-2010, 10:35 PM
I am heading to my first contest (KCBS) and am wondering what the common rookie mistakes are or if anyone has compiled a list of the common mistakes rookies make at their first KCBS comp. I am sure I will figure out a couple of new ones :doh:

Thanks

Bill

bob80001
09-23-2010, 10:45 PM
Not really mistakes, but there was a thread a couple months back about site setup tips. Might be a couple of good ideas to go over here: http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=88874

smknwhlswife
09-23-2010, 10:51 PM
Putting something in the box other than the meat and correct garnish. Count your toothpicks and be careful with the foil! Only use green leaf, romaine, or iceberg lettuce and/or curly; flat parsley or cilantro.

DMDon
09-24-2010, 01:07 AM
Stick to your plan and your timeline. Don't get caught up in all the other things happening outside of your site.

Chipper
09-24-2010, 06:29 AM
Tooth picks and slow down. You will want to rush getting your boxes in on time and will end up turning in way early.

Lake Dogs
09-24-2010, 06:56 AM
The #1 mistake I've seen, time and time again, is the team getting very drunk. The
results afterwards vary, but the original mistake was drinking too much and not
thinking clearly. I saw one team get drunk enough they actually passed out asleep
at 5:30am and the first guy sorta began stumbling around just before 12:00noon.
They didnt make a single turnin that day.

6 pieces of meat or more. If you're putting big chunks of meat in the box (ala. a
money muscle or two [or three]), make sure you slice them so that there's at
least 6 pieces of those as well.

Nothing, and we mean NOTHING other than meat & garnish in the box. No flakes
of foil, no toothpicks, no little serving cups with sauce in it, no $20 bills.

Know that the turn-in time is a HARD deadline. 1 second late is a DQ.

Sweet Breathe BBQ
09-24-2010, 07:17 AM
I wouldn't say there are common mistakes and wouldn't even focus on that b/c if you try so hard to avoid those "common" mistakes you're bound to make mistakes elsewhere. There are so many moving components that anything can go wrong at any time. I speak from experience b/c we were a rookie team this year.

In one contest I forgot a key ingredient for my chicken, in another we broke the tab on the turn in box, we put the garnish in the top side of the box rather than the bottom.

My best advice...be able to adapt and recover from mistakes b/c they are bound to happen.

Though I would have to agree with Lake Dogs...the drinking is something to look out for.

bmanMA
09-24-2010, 07:21 AM
Some really good advice here. We just did our 2nd KCBS last weekend, and for sure slow down. If your meat is done and resting, take a breath after chicken turn-ins. If you are like me, you will be pacing like a madman. Resist the urge to fill that box too early.

I also think an unspoken part of the comp is how well a team can function on turn-in morning after having little to no sleep. If you are hung over it only gets worse.

And finally, don't do what we did on our first outing, where we decided to modify our cooking method to try and get 2 butts and 2 briskys out of a single WSM, not having done it before in the backyard. Bad idea to alter your method at the contest IMO. Needless to say, we wound up pulling the extra cuts at 2am and letting the WSM do what it was designed to do, how it was designed to do it. Ugh.

chambersuac
09-24-2010, 07:27 AM
Great thread...thanks to the OP and the responders (respondents?)

Sticks-n-chicks
09-24-2010, 07:40 AM
Not doing a practice cook and then being "surprised" by how things are different. Best advice I got was to do a practice cook and anything I needed from inside my house write down so I would be sure to have what I needed at the cook.

Good Luck...

One other thing...don't get to worked up about it....it's just BBQ...HAVE FUN

Captain Caveman
09-24-2010, 07:43 AM
Stick to your plan and your timeline. Don't get caught up in all the other things happening outside of your site.

I agree with Don. Sticking to you timeline (in writting) is huge. you WILL start second guessing yourself about 5-6AM.

Slamdunkpro
09-24-2010, 08:22 AM
I did my first KCBS event last week - my rookie don'ts:



Don't second guess yourself
Don't try and hit your timing too tight the first time out - having to pull something out of the cooker a little early is better than a DQ (we didn't get a DQ but we had a CLOSE turn in)
Don't make changes on the fly
Be prepared for uneven ground; bring shims for tables and cooker

monty3777
09-24-2010, 08:27 AM
I think that a common mistake happens after turn-in. Folks assume that they will show up at a first comp and win the whole thing. When they don't get the big calls frustration sets in and they stop doing comps. Your first comp, IMO should be about getting your feet wet. As you do more you'll get more efficient and learn not to waste steps and you'll enjoy it more. The calls will come.

That's not to say that some teams don't come swing for the fences - and jack one out - on their first comp. But that's pretty rare. As with all things in life slow and steady wins the race.

This all comes from a loser who is probably trying to reationalize why my best finsh in two seasons is 3rd overall :redface::-D (not counting non-sanctioned events where I have done better)

rookiedad
09-24-2010, 08:58 AM
have a turn in box check list. in pitmasters series #1 Tuffy forgot to sauce his ribs before turn in. fortunatly this got him a win. for me it has produced the opposite result.

Harbormaster
09-24-2010, 10:20 AM
Have reasonable expectations.
To date my team has competed once a year and each time we compete we have the same goals. #1, don't miss any turn-in times. #2, Don't finish DAL in any category.

Make sure your ribs are completely cut and there are at least 6 ribs. I turn in 8 because it looks better in the box (IMO).
Toothpicks. If using them, make sure they are clearly visible so you don't miss any, or count them as you pull them out.
Don't slice meat on foil or paper or anything that might attach itself to your turn in. (Last year the team next to us was DQ'd on an entry because there was a strip of foil on the bottom of a slice).
Moderation in all things, including moderation.

QansasjayhawQ
09-24-2010, 10:31 AM
My first contest was crazy . . . and fun!

The number one thing to help you have a nice time is to prepare, plan and have it in writing - because, as it was mentioned above, once you haven't had any decent sleep all night, your brain needs all the help it can get.

I find myself referring to my time line about every 15 minutes because I get so tired and punchy as it gets closer to turn in. Plus my wife helps keep me on track - she's a great team manager!

Also - after each turn in, I sit down in a chair, close my eyes and breathe deeply for at least 30 seconds, repeating to myself: relax, breathe deeply, focus and concentrate. Which of course is hard to do if you're hung over . . . like they all said above -

Excellent advice from everyone! Thank you!

boogiesnap
09-24-2010, 10:40 AM
know your cooker very, very well.
watch the night drinking.
get up EARLY.

Lake Dogs
09-24-2010, 11:55 AM
Something TO DO: Have fun. Enjoy it. Socialize. Dont take mistakes too
seriously; it's a journey, not a destination.

Excellent topic, by the way. Good points each and every one. It's probably tough
to make a timeline right now without having gone through it a time or two, however,
give it a try. Keep a nice clean copy on your table with you at all times. Make sure
the type/font is LARGE so that you can read it when you're half asleep. It will help
tremendously. Like said early, I/we check our timeline list every 10 to 15 minutes.

Solidkick
09-24-2010, 12:27 PM
Check you walk to turn ins for timing! Then adjust your final box preparations to accommodate the walk...you do not want to be late at this contest!
Two years ago we walked two people, one as a blocker, one as a carrier....move or get the hell out of the way type thing...

luckyduk
09-24-2010, 12:39 PM
After completing my rookie season I can say is all of the above is true, especially in between turn-ins, I would pace and wear myself out. After the first few comps I learned to sit down and relax, it may make you a little nervous at first when you see other teams getting turn-ins ready.
Remember this isn't farming, just because another team is putting their meats on their cooker doesn't mean you have to, stick to the schedule that you know!!!

Also try and keep your old lady(other team member) from getting another old lady(team member/box maker) drunk the night before.......sorry Pat!!:icon_blush:

tmcmaster
09-24-2010, 12:52 PM
I have nothing new to add, other than try not to think of things as "Mistakes." Think of them as "Learning Oppertunities." And have fun.

Best of luck!!

JiveTurkey
09-24-2010, 01:24 PM
The biggest mistake I made at my first comp was not bringing something comfy to sleep on. I bought an air mattress after that, love it. I've become so domesticated that I actually bring clean sheets now! Comfort goes a long way.

big brother smoke
09-24-2010, 01:26 PM
This thread may be of some use to you: http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=51042

Smokesman
09-24-2010, 03:28 PM
What Harbormaster said about making sure your ribs are cut through. To elaborate, a lot of guys will place all their ribs in the box at the same time using a knife or something long and flat. Nothing wrong with doing this but make sure after you slice each rib you wiggle each piece to make sure it isn't still connected to its neighbor. We took a huge hit to our appearance scores earlier this year for this exact reason. Will never make that mistake again!

deez butts
09-24-2010, 06:42 PM
Some really good advice here. We just did our 2nd KCBS last weekend, and for sure slow down. If your meat is done and resting, take a breath after chicken turn-ins. If you are like me, you will be pacing like a madman. Resist the urge to fill that box too early.

I also think an unspoken part of the comp is how well a team can function on turn-in morning after having little to no sleep. If you are hung over it only gets worse.

And finally, don't do what we did on our first outing, where we decided to modify our cooking method to try and get 2 butts and 2 briskys out of a single WSM, not having done it before in the backyard. Bad idea to alter your method at the contest IMO. Needless to say, we wound up pulling the extra cuts at 2am and letting the WSM do what it was designed to do, how it was designed to do it. Ugh.

Yeah, modifying the WSM and throwing more meat on it than we had done before made for a long night of giving R2D2 some extra wind in it's nether regions. Don't try something the first time at comp, stick to what you know. Also don't start building your box with half an hour of time left. We get a bit antsy but we need to sit back and relax a bit. We did a lot better in that regard on our 2nd comp but there is still plenty of room for improvement. Take it as a learning experience.

CBQ
09-24-2010, 08:01 PM
For teams in the Northeast: Don't eat too much of the Damn Dip. :becky: It's good, easy to over do it.

Ron_L
09-24-2010, 08:28 PM
This may seem obvious, but don't be afraid to ask your neighbors for help if you need it. Most of us will gladly help.

Also, at the cook's meeting the reps should ask if there are any first time cooks. Identify yourself and the reps will ask for volunteers to mentor you. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn, but don't abuse it :)

Frank Sacco
09-24-2010, 09:25 PM
1. Read and understand the KCBS rulebook
2. Know the turn in times for the contest you're cooking
3. Bring a clock, synchronize it and place it on your prep table as you're putting together the boxes. UTILIZE IT..... Don't get DQ'd for being late.
4. Check for foriegn matter in/on meat
5. Have as much fun as you can and enjoy the weekend

BBQ_MAFIA
09-24-2010, 10:14 PM
Bring a large clock so you always know the time.
This comes in handy for turn ins. Lucky for me my son had his cell phone
or we could have had a problem.

Mrs. McFrankenboo
09-24-2010, 10:15 PM
There are so many things that you chalk up to being a first time competitor and none of them are mistakes if you learn from them and don't do them again.

Honestly though, we can pick out a new team by the fact that the ENTIRE team is passed out by midnight and their fire is out. At our first comp, a guy actually cut open his ribs TOWARD him and ended up stabbing himself! He was airlifted out! Of course then he told the cops that his wife did it which made for a whole new problem!!! :rolleyes:

Crash
09-24-2010, 10:28 PM
I second what Ron L says.....ask for help if you need it. A majority of teams are happy to help you out.

Also, piggybacking on what others have said, after you have sliced your brisket and/or ribs make sure to pick each slice up and individually place them in your box (quickly). This will ensure that each sliced piece is an individual and not attached.

Trust me, you dont want to meet the Reps for any reason during the turn-in process.

Best of luck and have fun!!

BlueHwyBBQ
09-24-2010, 11:51 PM
If the contest has extra entries (anything butt, dessert, seafood, etc) DON'T attempt to do them on your first contest. You'll be tired enough just doing the big four (chicken, ribs, pork, brisket). Focus on the required four.

Bigmista
09-25-2010, 01:16 AM
Have fun and don't take TOO much stuff. Our first contest we had enough food and supplies for every team at the contest. Make a list and stick to it.

Dr_KY
09-25-2010, 03:11 AM
Do not change your game plan because you see another team doing something that looks like a great idea. They have done things their way for a reason and so should you.

wjc261
09-26-2010, 05:41 PM
I have nothing new to add, other than try not to think of things as "Mistakes." Think of them as "Learning Oppertunities." And have fun.

Best of luck!!

Thanks to everyone for all the advice. My first competition was a ton of fun. I had plenty of learning opportunities and (at least in chicken) have no where to go but up.

Bill

Dewey Smokem' & Howe
WSM

CBQ
09-26-2010, 06:38 PM
Be prepared for "BBQ time". The sanctioned contest turn in schedule is very strict, but nothing else is. Anything and everything is subject to change. You will get a contest schedule, but it doesn't mean a darn thing. Use it to light your fire if you like.

Cook's meetings, team meals, meat inspections, non-sanctioned contest turn ins, ice distribution times, award ceremonies, etc. have times that are subject to change and you can be certain that SOMETHING will.

Be prepared to be flexible and pay attention. Communication at a contest isn't always good. If you see every tent around you empty suddenly, maybe you are supposed to be someplace else?

Lake Dogs
09-27-2010, 10:00 AM
A few times I've seen where rookie teams dont cook enough BBQ. They'll cook just
enough of something for a turn-in and leaving them no room for err. I highly suggest
cooking at least twice what you'll turn-in, if not 3 times. Chicken is cheap!

I'm reminded of one of the non-rookie teams exactly 1 year ago. They had their
chicken box filled and going out the door (heading to turn-in) the lady tripped and
fell; chicken box went flying. Luckily she wasnt hurt. They quickly grabbed the box,
dumped the contents (as I understand it), wiped it down, put in the "2nd string"
chickens without any garnish, and RAN LIKE NO TOMORROW to the turn-in. They
made it with something like 10 seconds to spare. They ended up in the top 10 in
chicken and GC'd. HAVE EXTRA. *stuff* happens.

Southern Home Boy
09-27-2010, 12:24 PM
Putting something in the box other than the meat and correct garnish. Count your toothpicks and be careful with the foil! Only use green leaf, romaine, or iceberg lettuce and/or curly; flat parsley or cilantro.

Unless the rules have changed (which is entirely possible - I'm not the most informed person out here) ONLY green leaf and Parsley (curly or flat) are permitted as garnish.

Did I misinterpret something?

jbrink01
09-27-2010, 12:47 PM
I've been cooking for 5 years and made 2 rookie mistakes this weekend that cost me in a big way. Should have been top 10, but ended up mid-pack because of it.....Sliced my brisket too thick when it was freaking perfect - 11th, didnt trust my timeline on my ribs - 22nd. Live and learn..........

big matt
09-27-2010, 12:52 PM
Unless the rules have changed (which is entirely possible - I'm not the most informed person out here) ONLY green leaf and Parsley (curly or flat) are permitted as garnish.

Did I misinterpret something?Just became a judge last month..you can use iceberg,romaine,green leaf,cilantro(which is a dumb one IMO)..either parsley can be used..just no red leaf on the lettuce and no endive or kale

Anchors Smokeshop
09-27-2010, 01:19 PM
[QUOTE=Frank Sacco;1412030]
3. Bring a clock, synchronize it and place it on your prep table as you're putting together the boxes. UTILIZE IT..... Don't get DQ'd for being late.

I second this motion!!

jbrink01
09-27-2010, 01:55 PM
[QUOTE=Frank Sacco;1412030]
3. Bring a clock, synchronize it and place it on your prep table as you're putting together the boxes. UTILIZE IT..... Don't get DQ'd for being late.

I second this motion!!


Buy an atomic clock from Wal-Mart. $25 ish....

bbqpitstop
09-27-2010, 08:33 PM
Heck, I'm no rookie but I find it much easier to start drinking before my space is setup, sleep whenever I feel like it, and hope that something comes out of the WSM looking and tasting decent.....lol..........last weekend I power washed my lettuce with a hose, barely dried it off, and I seasoned and sauced my chicken so much, even I couldn't stand it, and guess what placed ?

lol, my advice would be, don't take it so seriously especially the first couple of times out and have a ball.

lynnaepdx
09-27-2010, 09:05 PM
Let's see...some personal mistakes...

* Sync your clock..even your cell phone might be off from the official clock so definitely check it.
* Temp ALL of the chicken you intend to place in the box...not just a piece here and there....:doh:
* If you have long hair..like me..keep it tied up...:doh:
* Sometimes cooking too much food isn't good....your taste buds will get confused.
* Trying other team's bbq is always fun but just try a bit..one thing I do is actually taste it and then spit it out...not to offend anyone but just so that my taste doesn't get off course.
* Clean as you go and take a basic first aid kit, cuz ya never know.