Originally Posted by jsmoker
Thanks for the tip. Like I say, I'm not hung up on wanting to win anything, but there are some competitions that I'd just as soon stay away from because it sure seems like winning is the only thing. I'm more interested in the Friday night party, hanging out with my friends/family and learning some tips from some more experienced Q artists (also one of the reasons I'm on this board!).
I saw that Food Network show on the Big Pig Jig a week ago and the guy that won Grand Champion only competed in ribs. Yeah, he can most likely smoke rings (pun intended) around me in any category, but what fun is going balls-to-the-wall and only care about winning? From my experiences and from listening to all of you, the camaraderie (and the beer) is the biggest benefit of competing.
Sorry for the rant. Thanks for the advice!
Basing the view of cook offs from FoodTV is like thinking bass fishing is a Rolan Martin show or watching a Bassmasters tournament on OLN! :D
For those of us that compete to win - that's fun! Sure we grouse and whine when we don't place but we go to COMPETE and win. Socializing is secondary. We're there to compete and get to know other cooks and competitors.
You say, "but what fun is going balls-to-the-wall and only care about winning?" I ask why would you go balls-to-the-wall and NOT care about winning? If you just want to drink beer and cook some que do it in your backyard or come to a Bash! :D That's where the party and beer comes in.
Now, for some events the social is more prevelent and expected but most local events are only marginally social. You drive in on Friday afternoon, setup, get inspected, start prepping, go to the cook's meeting, finish prepping - then schmooze and visit before trying to catch some sleep before firing off the cookers.
Overnight you visit with the teams around you but hardly anybody is "partying" - 1. quiet time after 11pm 2. you're busy 3. gotta pay attention. After turn-in you are BEAT! Time for a brewsky and some down-time. Besides, most of us have several hours of driving ahead of us before we get home, either Saturday night or Sunday.
Competition is a different world. Some people just do one or two events a year and party their tales off. That's great for them.
Also, large teams can AFFORD to party since there is almost always a couple of "designated cooks" who are getting the meat prepared in spite of the party! :D
Most of us that compete really want to win something and so we pay attention to details and don't party until after the brisket is turned in!!
So yeah, we go balls-to-the-wall to win - heck it costs between $700-$1000 to go to an event by the time you add up the registration, meat, gas, lodging, food, and such.
You wouldn't register for a bass tournament and then say you're only there to have fun! Fishing with your buddies is fun - fishing a tournament is an all together different thing and is work. Same with BBQ competition. Yeah, you can have fun and we do but it is not a party - not at our level! At least not yet!! :D Competition is, for me, recreation and avocation - I am using the exposure as advertising for my catering business - most regular competitors are in the "business" at some level - selling sauces and rubs, catering, restaurants, manufacturers, or repping for other manufacturers. Competition is to a large degree business.
I'm not trying to discourage you or anyone else! Far from it. But don't knock the guys who have their game face on - they've paid their money for a chance to get their teeth kicked in. Please respect the time and effort and the skills these teams exercise to go out and compete regularly.
Go to a few events - go especially on Friday night and/or show up real early Saturday to see what really goes on at the cook sites! Hang around the team areas from about 7 a.m. through the last turn-in and you'll see the game faces!
I've been doing this thing for almost a year and am still a rookie but for me it is fun to compete. If I want comeraderie and beer I go to a Bash - cook offs, for me, are Game Time.