My first contest ever was last year and you have some excellent advice here so far. I will add what I think ended up being most important to me.
Prep your chicken the night before (read the rules to know what not to do)
Don't let other cooks influence what you are doing. Have confidence in what you are doing and realize you are fully capable of turning in a fine product. I was watching and talking with the guy next to me and his big cuts were 30-40 degrees ahead of mine by 2 am. I thought I was doing something wrong and started to second guess my timelines. In the end his food was aweful and I was dead on where I wanted to be.
Practice making your turn in boxes........trust me it takes more effort then you think and sloppy scores on appearance will kill you.
I was nervous, and I felt intimidated like everyone knew all these secrets I could only hope to not come in last against. I looked at the list of team names and there were no less than four BBQ Pitmasters competitors and many other teams of local "fame".
We had a GREAT time........every person we met was friendly and we laughed so much all night it was like a huge party. Suddenly everyone got serious and the chit chat stopped.......it was Gametime. We focused on what we knew and what we do best and my wife and I finished 11th out of 42 teams and we took two trophies and a check home for 6th in ribs and 3rd in pork. When it was all said and done the Pitmasters teams were looking up at us.
I won't lie..........it was fun as hell to hear our names called at the awards ceremony. It's addictive and it's also funny how your mindset can quickly shift to actually believing you can win one of these things......LOL
I'm sure I have humbling experiences in my future too numerous to count but don't be afraid to be proud of your talents. You may just be surprised at how well you do!!!!
Funniest of all is I was SURE if we got lucky enough to get a call it would be in chicken ........thought we nailed it spot on. Still don't know what we did wrong but it was our worst score of the contest LOL!!!!
Last edited by Atlasman; 02-14-2013 at 11:44 PM..