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Competition BBQ *On Topic Only* Discussion regarding all aspects of Competition BBQ. Experiences competing or visiting, questions, getting started, Equipment, announcements of events, Results, Reviews, Planning, etc. Questions here will be responded to with competition BBQ in mind.


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Unread 03-30-2013, 08:52 AM   #1
bluzieq
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Default backyard vs pro at comps

I have a real question to be answered honestly, most comps have a backyard division. I do not feel I'm ready to compete against the big teams, they have paid their dues spent more time/money,etc.. My Q is really good, I'm not an inexperienced cook But am new to comps. ... Are we "in the way" at comps or do or will we be looked down on? I've spent money on smokers,banners,team logo, T-shirts but I really just want to cook and enjoy hanging out with other BBQ nuts like me. If ya are like me,hanging out by the smokers is the place I'm honestly the most de-stressed . Thanks for this great forum!!
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Unread 03-30-2013, 09:06 AM   #2
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> ... Are we "in the way" at comps

Absolutely, 100%, beyond any shadow of a doubt, you will NOT be in the way. Just the opposite, you'll meet new friends and should be welcomed to "the group".

> or do or will we be looked down on?

Again, NOT. Everyone started somewhere; and they all know it.


> I've spent money on smokers,banners,team logo, T-shirts but I really just
> want to cook and enjoy hanging out with other BBQ nuts like me.

Welcome to "the group". You'll do fine.
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Unread 03-30-2013, 09:24 AM   #3
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Is it a significant savings to do backyard vs. pro? If not, I would just go ahead and do pro. What's the worst that could happen? I think you would learn more about the world you are trying to become a part of if you did.
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Unread 03-30-2013, 09:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluzieq View Post
My Q is really good, I'm not an inexperienced cook But am new to comps. ... Are we "in the way" at comps or do or will we be looked down on? I've spent money on smokers,banners,team logo, T-shirts but I really just want to cook and enjoy hanging out with other BBQ nuts like me.
You won't be looked down upon. BBQ people are generally friendly, except between 10AM and 1:30PM on turn in day. A lot of people will welcome guests on the prior day after the prep work is done.

You may still want to consider going the sanctioned contest route and find out how good your Q really is. The Barbecue Pitmaster judges aren't going to pop into your tent to critique what you are doing. I think people are intimidated a lot by the "pro" contests, but there will be teams of all experience levels at most contests. It's not going to be you vs. a field of hardened professionals.
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Unread 03-30-2013, 09:29 AM   #5
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Hance and Chris have it right. You won't be in the way, and the teams, especially Brethren teams will be glad to meet you and talk, as long as you respect their time. If someone stops by to chat and I have to go do something I excuse my self and let them know that I'll be tied up for xx minutes. They are welcome to stay or can even tag along. But, during crunch time (10:00 - 1:30, typically), I may be busy more than available.

I also agree that if the cost of the entry fee and meat isn't a problem, go for the full sanctioned comp. You'll learn a lot more and have a lot more fun!
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Unread 03-30-2013, 10:03 AM   #6
Lake Dogs
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99% of "pro" teams aren't actually professional BBQ competitors; the money isn't there to keep 'em in trucks n such. They're hobbyists; same as you. However, that doesn't mean that these guys aren't very seasoned and quite accomplished. Many are.

+1000 what the guys said above. If the money difference isn't significant for you, you'll learn MUCH more in the sanctioned "pro" area than you ever will in the backyard area. Plus, you'll get to see how your BBQ measures up to theirs.
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Unread 03-30-2013, 10:21 AM   #7
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Come on in! The water is warm and the air full of smoke!
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Unread 03-30-2013, 11:12 AM   #8
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Our team decided 2 years ago that we wanted to enter a contest, so we entered the backyard comp (and before we really new what comps were all about - didn't even know about this place). Well, we won it and nearly with a clean sweep (3 meat - 1st, 1st, 2nd & overall). That was awesome but also made us realize we needed to go against the pros....and have ever since. You have to start somewhere, so really either one is gonna help you learn a lot....and they are always a ton of fun!
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Unread 03-30-2013, 01:13 PM   #9
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thanks for all the info and help, I think we'll do a mix. there is a mbn event and a kcbs event close by, The kcbs doesn't scare me as much, but then again the mbn thing and on site judges, well I can sit and talk bbq, smokers, techniques, to anyone,so it might not be as bad as I think. as long as I don't come in D.A.L.
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Unread 03-30-2013, 01:27 PM   #10
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We started competing in pro division last year after competing back yard the last 4 years. Our first pro comp. I was nervous since now competing in 4 categories . It was a blast. I actually think it was better since it kept me busy preping meat and no down time. Every team competing has been great and very helpful. We placed 11th overall out of 26 pro teams our first pro comp. I think it was not bad and we are getting better every time .
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Unread 03-30-2013, 03:12 PM   #11
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I was nervous as all heck in my first competition and worried that I would be in the way. The brethren were more than helpful and in one short year have welcomed me in with open arms. Plus, we have had a least one walk in every comp - so trust yourself. I was flawed when we took a first place. I might try to come off as belonging, but believe me when I was shocked to hear our name called given the amount of respect I have for the teams that have been doing this for some time.

I look back at that first competition and it was like walking uninvited to a party, making small talk at first, only to walk away looking forward to the next event.

Now I can't wait for that first break after setting up and settling in when we stroll through the grounds saying hello to familiar faces, making some new friends and generally yukking it up and busting balls (and getting our stones busted as well).
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Unread 03-30-2013, 03:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluzieq View Post
I have a real question to be answered honestly, most comps have a backyard division. I do not feel I'm ready to compete against the big teams, they have paid their dues spent more time/money,etc.. My Q is really good, I'm not an inexperienced cook But am new to comps. ... Are we "in the way" at comps or do or will we be looked down on? I've spent money on smokers,banners,team logo, T-shirts but I really just want to cook and enjoy hanging out with other BBQ nuts like me. If ya are like me,hanging out by the smokers is the place I'm honestly the most de-stressed . Thanks for this great forum!!
Don't let your BBQ fool you. When We started off, we placed here and there in big cookoffs and occasionally got a top 3 with only a traeger 075 with 2 coolers on the back of my truck, sleeping in the back seat. Beat lots of teams with $50k setups. Nobody should ever look down on a beginner at comps. It's the Indian not the arrow! Good luck on your future cooks, don't be scared to jump in with the big dogs, they are just people. There was this team at the last cookoff that had this big gooseneck trailer with custom stainless pits and countertops, huge Lounge area and there was a sticker on the front that said "the difference between men and boys is the size of their toys." We'll this boy didnt have any problem putting their money in my pocket! it's all about having fun and building friendships amongst brothers in smoke.
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Unread 03-30-2013, 07:59 PM   #13
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100% agree with everyone else: if you can afford it, do the full monty. The first comp I ever did had 82 teams competing. My buddy and me showed up with a Weber kettle and a Char Griller offset with no mods. We didn't even have an EZ up. We had one of those tent pole rain flies. The guys behind us had a $30,000 pull-behind offset stick burner, the dude next to us had a bevy of Big Green Eggs.... everywhere I looked I had grill envy. I had never heard of this stuff before and I asked my partner what the hell did we get into??

We took sixth in brisket, second in ribs and placed twelfth overall.

At the end of the day, just go have fun and don't let yourself feel intimidated. This is one sport where a novice can beat a "pro" any given day.
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Unread 03-31-2013, 03:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern Home Boy View Post
100% agree with everyone else: if you can afford it, do the full monty. ....

At the end of the day, just go have fun and don't let yourself feel intimidated. This is one sport where a novice can beat a "pro" any given day.
I agree with the comments above, so, I won't repeat them except to say I've never seen BBQ folks not help new teams or a team in need. I've been at contests where team sites were wiped out by a storm, and teams are there offering spare canopies, tables, equipment, whatever was needed.

And, don't worry, many of the "seasoned teams" worry about the new teams, because, you'll often hear their names comes awards. Go for it, do your best, learn, and have fun.
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Unread 03-31-2013, 04:12 PM   #15
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Have Fun Just remember to be Humble when you walk and get calls, nobody like a bragger.
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