View Full Version : Best Way to Gather New Team Members

10-20-2010, 11:55 AM
Thanks to all who post regularly on this site and make it a great source of information. Our team, Thin Blue BBQ, just wrapped up our first professional season competing in KCBS events. We had a great year and gathered a number of awards.

For 2011, we are wanting to find some new members to make the events more enjoyable and to keep building our competitive nature, but we are struggling to figure out how to find other folks interested in getting serious about Que and joining a team. We've posted on Facebook, etc. but just looking for advice on building up the team roster.

Thanks in advance to all who respond.

Brian Herbert
Thin Blue BBQ
Indianapolis, IN

10-20-2010, 12:51 PM
Most successful "teams" are husband and wife teams. If you want to get a group of guys to cook a contest together, have a good time, and not really worried about the outcome, you should have no issues getting people. If you want to be serious and be competitive, you already have enough team members.

10-20-2010, 01:10 PM
The Bullsheet is one option to find new team members. I started my team in May 2010 and have competed 3 times. I've been lucky to have one other person that has been there for all 3. Usually, what I find is people are interested but not at the level of commitment that I expect and need. It's easy finding some buddies to come along for the fun, but to commit at a level to seriously compete, well I know it can be tough. I would stick with who you have already and if you are really serious then I would look for ways to minimize the work load, if possible. My biggest problem is funding and I'm sure I'm not the only one who lacks the financial means to continually fund what it costs to compete on a regular basis. I'm sitting out a contest I'd love to compete in because of the costs. Give it some time, look in the right places, and I'm sure you'll get dedicated people eventually. Good luck!:thumb:

10-20-2010, 01:29 PM
How about the BBQ Brethren Team Mentoring forum?


10-20-2010, 01:42 PM
I was blessed with getting two team members when we first started that were as committed (OK, should have been committed some where I'm sure) as I was. The three of us were/are the core of the team (until we added Ramona (my GF) so now it's the four of us).

We have a number of guys (all friends of core members) that can only do some of the competitions but not all of them. We welcome them in with open arms and with the understanding that they are to do what the core members requests and we know that they are with us to have fun and help out where they can.

Please understand that we don't go out of our way to make it tough on them, but there are certain jobs that they aren't going to be doing simply because they aren't around enough to know if we've changed something. To be honest, we are easier on them if they want to wander around and check out what's going on than we are with ourselves.

Rich Parker
10-20-2010, 02:00 PM
I enjoy cooking by myself. The only time I like help I when it is time to run boxes. Because I don't have a runners physique. :)

10-20-2010, 03:17 PM
Be careful what you wish for...

This year I witnessed a team split apart based on lack of commitment (time and money) and another "all family" team split as well. Not sure why, but its none of my business.

We are a father and son team, 2010 was our first season and we competed in ten competitions (May-Oct). My son is ten, so I limit him on what he can do and it was not an easy start. However, each comp got easier and easier to setup, prep, cook, sleep, clean up and break down. It is a long two days, but it is manageable.

I have tried to get a friend or two to help out, but it is more work keeping them engaged when they don't have the desire or commitment to do much more than visit and drink.

My wife helped me on one comp and it was awesome. One extra set of adult hands definitely helps, but I don't think more is always better. Too many cooks in the kitchen can spoil the fun quickly. I enjoy bbq competitions because they are fun!

10-20-2010, 03:45 PM
Too many conflicts to pick up other team members. With a one person team, you call the shots and take the responsibility. Things get done the way you want them and if they don't you have no one else to blame. I compete with my daughters and my sister in the summer months. When they aren't around, I will go off with a buddy, who knows his role or I will also compete on my own. I'll live and die with the expenses and the wins.

If you do decide to go that route, realize that it is way easier to have your friends on the same page as yourself, than having a complete stranger agreeing with you. Money always changes things and friendships.

Good luck!

10-20-2010, 05:03 PM
I have had the pleasure of cooking with two other talented cooks as a team.
Due to "circumstances", it is now just Mrs Kapn and me. :-D
She stepped up to the plate last year and has been a godsend.

To me, any more than two cooks makes it a mess, unless you are doing parties (AR type), vending, or some of the MIM/MBA events.

I found both of my former partners right here!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another Brother is cooking with me this weekend at Jesup, GA. Russ is a gem and we are looking forward to a 3 person team for this weekend only.
Workload???? Not much with 3 for this one :-D

Good luck.


10-20-2010, 05:58 PM
It is just my wife and I, she knows I do pretty much everything on my own, but a couple extra hands are nice!!

I have one friend that will come to the ones he can make or when the wife can't make it. I also found some guys from the area that I knew from a local bbq comp. I asked them if they would be interested in helping out a comp or two if I needed someone, they were ecstatic. He said he couldn't handle it all of the time though!!!

10-20-2010, 06:27 PM
A lot of good comments here. Swing Dings is my gig and has been since day one. I pay all the expenses. I invite close friends and family to assist me. When we walk, we go up together. We all have a good time and everyone does his/her part.

Lake Dogs
10-20-2010, 06:32 PM
Most successful "teams" are husband and wife teams. If you want to get a group of guys to cook a contest together, have a good time, and not really worried about the outcome, you should have no issues getting people. If you want to be serious and be competitive, you already have enough team members.

For KCBS, FBA, GBA, etc. it's just 2 of us, either my wife and I or an old
buddy of mine and myself. 2 is plenty for these types of cookoffs. When
there's 3 of us, we just use the 3rd person as a runner.

HOWEVER, for MBN we're combining 2 KCBS teams and we're still only able
to compete effectively in 2 of the 3 main categories.
You dont see many MBN teams with less than 6 people, and then it's usually 4 or 5 ...

10-25-2010, 01:18 PM
Hey Brian! Good to see you here.

Saw your facebook post about this. Great advice from the others! Are you also looking to add people to spread out the expense? Marc and I have been doing the same thing but casually. I think you'll find this is a slow process and you and Tommy (I'm guessing) will be the core for some time. We regularly invite people we know are into BBQ to join us at comps but there is only one guy so far we would even consider asking to join the team. He has been great because he is good at keeping Marc and I on task and schedule, knows where to pitch in when needed and equally important when to step back. Finding someone that wants to do more than just hangout is a challenge, finding someone dedicated enough to share expenses is damn near impossible.

Hey - next year if you need help on a weekend we aren't competing give me a shout!

10-25-2010, 07:58 PM
Hey Brian! Good to see you here.

Finding someone that wants to do more than just hangout is a challenge, finding someone dedicated enough to share expenses is damn near impossible.

Yeah. I think that's pretty much the norm.

10-26-2010, 05:12 PM
Maybe there is Bro from the brethren in your area that wants start a team. Our team just Jr and I sometimes wife.

10-27-2010, 12:24 AM
ThinBlue I have one question, why do you want to add more team members? I had a team that was myself plus 5 other friends, we started out for fun then my wife and I decided to put thousands of dollars into the BBQ'n hobby that I loved ($5000 pit plus Jacks Old South Cooking School).

Once I got back from JoS cooking school we started practicing the methods he showed me, I started getting questioned by the other team members as to why I was doing the methods and told me it shouldn't be done like that. I said this is the way I was taught and what I paid money to learn we are going to do it this way. We had some dissagreements and I had to tell them that all of you can do the ancillaries and I will be in charge if the main categories. Needless to say we didn't place in the ancillaries and placed 2nd ribs and 4th shoulder, out of 30 teams for a total of $1000 prize money.

More team members mean more opinions, IMO stick with the members you have.

They were all good friends, I have cut my team down to my wife, kids (4 and 5 year old) and another friend and his fiancée and son. It is working out much better this way. My friend bought another pit and does our whole Hog category in MBN and we do the shoulders and ribs on mine. When we do IBCA we just compete together. We plan on doing KCBS in the future.

burnt end jayhawk
10-27-2010, 07:54 AM
We have 4 team members that cook only KCBS events around Kansas City and a few others that "help" when they can. This is the limit for team members. Ever heard of the expression "too many chefs in the kitchen"? Stick with a small group IMHO.

B & B Backyard BBQ
10-27-2010, 01:14 PM
On our team it is a friend, his wife, my wife, my 19 yo son(sometimes)....I wiould like to try one with just my wife and I and see how it goes, I think some things would be alot smoother. All KCBS.

big matt
10-27-2010, 01:22 PM
We have 4 team members..my son and I and 2 good friends,we all have our own roll we play and we never deviate from our game plan..our team works like clockwork!

Dan - 3eyzbbq
10-27-2010, 04:33 PM
Great question, but I'm surprised at the responses.

You can always go to the path of least resistance and that is certainly competing by yourself. Hard to have a disagreement with yourself after all:-P

You can decide to get new people interested, but that can take a lot of time and they may get turned off. Or even decide to form their own team once "trained".

OR you can look at that person setup next to you at a comp. 3EyzBBQ is comprised of Mutha Chicken BBQ, Big Ugly's BBQ and some guy on the west coast (Thom I think :wink:). I have also had probably 10 others cook with me at any given comp. The reason's vary. Maybe one guy has more money than time, the other? more time than money, maybe one guy wants to learn, maybe..... you get the point. Look for the paths that cross and that can hold a team together. This isn't always easy, but man is it nice to have skilled people on your team.

Hope that helps :thumb:

10-27-2010, 05:59 PM
Brian, like Smokesman said I saw your post on Facebook and any weekend we are not competing ourselves I would be glad to help out Thin Blue bbq if you want.

10-27-2010, 06:35 PM
For the most part my team is just me. I do have 2 close friends that do help a lot with setup, transport etc. We tried running the team at first as a democracy but it just doesn't work. I wish my wife would get more involved with the cooking because she is very talented with flavors and how to fix a screw up.
My advice would be to have potential members hang out with you at a cook-off or two. Some people become royall jerks when they drink.

10-27-2010, 06:46 PM

Serious seems to be the key word in your post. Runners, dishwashers, and various hang around types are pretty easy to find. For the record, I have a teammate, he pays half of contest expenses, but our commitment levels are very different. I own all the equipment, do all the practicing and generally get all the headaches. I appreciate his support, but like everything, it comes at a cost. When you accept that support, you have a certain obligation to that person and their wishes. Our team has struggled this year, after enjoying modest(very modest) success in the past, and it has certainly put a strain on our relationship. I guess it depends on how much are you willing to compromise vs whatever benefit you feel an additional team member will bring to the table. I assure you there will be conflicts, a decision will have to be made, and no consensus can be reached......then what?

Just food for thought.