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Black Dog BBQ
12-28-2010, 02:14 PM
I'm planning on doing some comp.s in the future. Do any of you guys go it alone? or do you have a team? I only ask because most of my cooking buds are not as fanatical about Q as I am. To be fair they have other interests and hobbies. Can one man do it alone? Just wondering.

Ron_L
12-28-2010, 02:40 PM
There are a lot of one man teams out there. Ford, from Great Lakes BBQ and Feed cooks alone when he is not vending. So does Scottie from Cancersuckschicago.com at times. The hardest part for me would be turn-ins, and if you ask you can generally find someone willing to be a runner for you.

HarleyEarl
12-28-2010, 02:41 PM
I have a team, but last year I found myself cooking solo a few times. It is a bit of a challenge, but doable. One thing you'll want to do is get your timing down and plan ahead (have foil pre-torn, sauces out, pans and knifes ready, etc.). Come turn-in time you will experience the fastest 2 hours of your life. It is a lot of work, but very gratifying when you get your name called.

Black Dog BBQ
12-28-2010, 02:42 PM
Thanks for the reply Ron.

ssbbqguy
12-28-2010, 02:57 PM
I have help for tasting and that's all. Lots of work, but more fun. Runners help until they drop one. With some pre-planning and organization, one can do well.Steve.

Scottie
12-28-2010, 03:06 PM
As Ron stated, I cook by myself at quite a few contests. Or I have help from my girls who at 13 and 9. In the summer months, my sister, who is a teach, joins us.

It can be done. While I don't like to do turn-ins while I am cooking solo, I do it.

trust me when I say... If you win a GC on your own, it is a special reward...

Candy Sue
12-28-2010, 03:26 PM
I'm a one-woman team. Just takes organization and begging real hard not to be 20 minutes from turn-in!

RangerJ
12-28-2010, 03:50 PM
2011 will be the 3rd year I've cooked, basically, by myself. I've averaged about 5 comps per year the first 2 years and plan on trying to double that this year.

As has been stated, organization is key. I found, I don't have nor did I need, near the items / junk that I carted around on my first few competitions.

Also, Sleep is your friend. The morning comes fast and furious. And anytime you walk, as a one person team, its a great feeling.

Good luck!

Smokedelic
12-28-2010, 03:56 PM
IBCA contests are much easier to do by yourself than KCBS contests. Having an hour between turn-ins(typically) is nice, plus you don't have to worry about garnish. The key is to be well-organized and to pack as light as possible.

Black Dog BBQ
12-28-2010, 04:08 PM
Thanks folks. I'm a contractor by trade and since my father retired I work a lot on my own. Kinda used to the pressure and staying organized. I appreciate your advice and all the info I've been getting from this site. I plan to start slow and keep my eyes and ears open.

Thanks again

Rich Parker
12-28-2010, 04:18 PM
I cook on my own and love it. I don't have anybody to blame but myself. Sometimes my wife will show up on Sat to run the boxes but if you talk with organizer before the event most will help you get close to the turn ins.

A couple of things that helped me was making sure i did as much as possible before the comp which included prepping all the meat, washing the garnish, mixing sauces, and mixing rubs. If you get a good rep you can sometimes get your boxes before the cooks meeting which then allows me to get them done sooner. Don't procrastinate!

Smokin Mike
12-28-2010, 04:43 PM
I say go for it, I done them myself , with help from my wife running the boxes.

it's easy, trim all meat at home, make your boxes at home, have all marinades mixed, sauces figured out, and spices ahead of time. when you get to the contest, get the meat inspected, and go visit.

the nice part is that all decisions are yours.

I also compete with a another team (it's in my signature), and that is a blast too. shared costs, having fun with friends, and not having to worry about every little detail.

ALX
12-28-2010, 07:00 PM
The box runner would be main thing.....Suprising how many teams that do well delegate to single train o thought....

watertowerbbq
12-28-2010, 08:03 PM
I am also a solo act. I have a couple of buddies who come during turn-ins to run the boxes and hold them while I'll load the boxes. They also come in handy when it's clean up time. I usually ask them to show up no later than 11:00 and they've never let me down. I feed them when they are there and it works well.

I would agree that timing and planning are very important. To help out, I try to have all of my trimming of the meat done before I get to a comp. Prepping at a comp can take a lot of time and if the work is already done, I can focus on getting things arranged the way I want them and sometimes the reps will let you have the boxes early so you can get started on them early on Friday.

From the moment I get up on Saturday, it's all work with very little time to sit and relax, but as someone stated earlier, when you do well and you did it alone or almost all alone, it is very rewarding. I was at a comp in 2009 and had an higher overall score than a very good team with a lot more amenities and experience. One of the teammates came over after the contest and congratulated me on a good job. I didn't win any award that day, but the recognition from a cook I really respect made my day.

Don't be afraid to give it a try!

HoDeDo
12-28-2010, 08:21 PM
You should talk to Todd also... 9 times out of 10 Plowboys BBQ is a one man show... 4 Legs Up is many times as well... I cooked solo a few times this year.... I dont like itl. I hate cooking without my wife, but will do it in a pinch. At one smaller contest, I didnt have a runner (usually you can find one if you ask around), but it is doable with the right planning.

Jeff_in_KC
12-28-2010, 08:36 PM
My team is just my wife and me. I've done two contests in six years on my own. Number three will be this week in California. All the advice here is great for you! Can't emphasize organization enough! Make a plan and stick to it! Good luck!

chopshop
12-28-2010, 09:05 PM
i am a one man show at every event i do. i also vend at every event i do. so in between turn ins im also getting food ready for my crew to sell. I have 5 employees that i bring to the events but cant take them off of vending to help me compete. it gets a little crazy but im used to it. this year im actually looking forward to doing a contest that im not vending at. Even though ill still compete as a one man show it'll be a hell of a lot less stressful than competing and vending at the same time. maybe i'll even find some time to consume a large amount of tanqueray.

JD McGee
12-28-2010, 09:12 PM
I competed solo for a year before teaming up...it can be done by following a few simple rules...

1. Minimalize...
2. Organize...
3. Prepare...
4. Have a well practiced game plan and follow it...

Good luck! :-P

JD

Finney
12-29-2010, 12:37 PM
I usually cook alone. The worst part is packing up after the comp..... All alone..... :cry:

LOL

Rub
12-29-2010, 12:50 PM
I do 30-35 contests per year and all but about 4 of them I do on my own. The 4 are when we are vending. I like doing it this way for all the reasons mentioned above, especially when there is a GC involved. And I run my own boxes. :-D

SmokeInDaEye
12-29-2010, 12:58 PM
I usually cook alone. The worst part is packing up after the comp..... All alone..... :cry:

LOL

Yep, setup and breakdown is toughest especially getting the popup canopies open. There's almost always a friendly neighbor to lend a hand.

tmcmaster
12-29-2010, 05:16 PM
I'm always a one man band. On a rare occasion that the contest is close enough for the wife to drive, she'll show up and be a runner. Otherwise, I log a lot of miles on my feet. It's a heck of a lot of work, but at the end of the weekend, win or lose, no matter what, I only have me to blame.

Rich Parker
12-29-2010, 05:18 PM
I do 30-35 contests per year and all but about 4 of them I do on my own. The 4 are when we are vending. I like doing it this way for all the reasons mentioned above, especially when there is a GC involved. And I run my own boxes. :-D

Stud!

The_Kapn
01-02-2011, 03:26 PM
I have cooked ONE contest by myself, and hated it!
I missed having a partner there to work with, share decisions, and all of that.

No problem making turn-ins (FBA), just missing the "fun factor".
I really like the company.

Just me :redface:

TIM

Black Dog BBQ
01-02-2011, 05:04 PM
I have cooked ONE contest by myself, and hated it!
I missed having a partner there to work with, share decisions, and all of that.

No problem making turn-ins (FBA), just missing the "fun factor".
I really like the company.

Just me :redface:

TIM
This is the only thing I'm worried about. I'm all about the "Q" but I want to have folks around too.

Thanks everyone for the input.

Rub
01-02-2011, 05:21 PM
Stud!
Wheaties :thumb:

Divemaster
01-04-2011, 03:59 PM
I, like Tim, don't go solo... I really like having my team around!

You may want to ask your buddies if they want to join you for the heck of it...

Three years ago I asked my guys to help out. None of them had EVER seen a smoker let alone cooked on one. You know what, they are still the core of my team! Sure there are others that make it out to 2 or 3 comps a year, but between Angelo and Nonda they have missed a combined total of 3 comps out of 25.

If you ask them, they started with me on a fluke, just a one or maybe two time shot, but we became a team and I wouldn't think of going to a comp without them!

JiveTurkey
01-04-2011, 06:41 PM
If you're just starting out remember that you do not have to enter all 4 meats to be in the contest. You can enter 2 if you want, say chicken and pork, to space the turn in to one hour. So what you won't win GC, big whoop, it'll be a good learning experience without a total mad rush your first time out. Once you get the swing of things enter three meats the next time until you have a system in place where you can do all 4.

thillin
01-04-2011, 07:53 PM
I've done it and have had good finishes. But the extra hands and help are great. Pluss we tend to have a better time!

dmprantz
01-04-2011, 10:12 PM
One man team here. I wish I had more help, but people keep bailing on me. Setup and tear down suck lots, but if you minimalize, you can do each in less than an hour. Staying up late and getting up early isn't fun either. Running my own boxes is actually the easiest of the bunch. I've never been too far from turn ins, and I end up walking around pacing between boxes anyway. The hardest parts for me are the cost and the sleep factor. I think I've gotten past the sleep part by watching the drink. Cost, I guess I just need to win more.

dmp