Honestly, IMHO, because of all the structure that a sanctioned comp brings, I really
recommend just doing the sanctioned competition. Unless there's money to be
had in the backyard part, I'd just do the sanctioned comp and forget the other.
Do one; probably KCBS to start.
At least then you'll also have a really good idea as to how you fare up against the
more seasoned veterans. By the way, just because you're new to competition
doesn't mean that you can't cook just as good as anyone else. I've seen it MANY
times, in both BBQ and chili, and I do so enjoy watching the old hats b@#$% and
moan about *rookies* and luck. IMHO, ain't nuthin' lucky about winning. I have
to remind many a good friend that just because they've cooked in hundreds of
cookoffs doesn't mean they cook the best.
Hance - Lake Dogs Cooking Team - MiM/MBN/GBA CBJ and comp cook
Lake Sinclair, GA (strategically about an hour from darn near anywhere)
Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.