My first competition
Things I learned on my first competition in New London—this was my first competition and I don’t suppose I made it any easier on myself by going solo. I went into it with low to no expectations just hoping not to finish last in every entry, finished 15/19 and got one call—
1) I think this was most important, what a good bunch of people are involved in the game, if you will. At the cooks meetings where I had to say it was my first competition a very nice woman (I am terrible a remembering names) from the Rib Wthin offered to help me with building my boxes (but I am a stubborn ole man and passed). In walking around the site that Saturday evening I had no fewer than three teams ask me if I had any questions or if there was anything they could do to help me. After all the submissions I was talking to the guys at ZBQ and told them the problems I had with cutting my pork for the box (which by the way I did get my only call on) and they told me I should have pulled the one of the butts off at 180 for slicing rather than the 200 or so I cook to at home.
2) It is a lot harder that I thought. You are not working in the comfort of your backyard. I learned that sometimes you just have to improvise –there were parts missing from the canopy I had just taken delivery of—ie the cable to hang the sides from (sent under separate cover—waiting for me when I got home)—I could go on with that concept, but wont bore you any more than I am. I watched Sledneck who arrived late struggling to jury rig power to his site – which he managed to do. ( I will bring him a sharper knife for cutting those ribs next time I see him.)
3) In spite of having done a full practice cook the week before, and thinking I had my timing down, well sometimes the meats chose to not cooperate. Two briskets and 3 butts all hit temps at the same time—two hours before they were supposed to.
4) Judging can be fickle, well in fairness, clearly the standards are somewhat nebulous--or I really am just clueless in what they are looking for. I thought my chicken box looked like a road accident—on appearance I got 4 x 8 and one 6. I was expecting 6’s across the board. I thought my brisket box was the best one I submitted and I received 5 x 7.
I have probably rambled on too long, but I conclusion I would like to extend a thanks, firstly to the generous members of this site from who I have learned a lot, Then Chris from ZBQ who gave me the nudge through this site to actually enter, then to Sledneck who organized the class I took earlier this year where he brought in Joe of Tippy Canoe and Ryan of Big Tz, the KCBS reps at the event, Ken and Kathie Dakai who went out of their way to help me and Barbara Neff who organized the event.
When and where it the next one ? !!!
BWS Extended Party