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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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Old 11-17-2013, 10:39 AM   #1
Wicked Smoke BBQ
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Join Date: 08-27-13
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Default Commerical vs homemade when competiting.

Please excuse me if this has been answered before. I'm trying to decide which is better, commerical or homemade rubs. Ever since I started we have made our own rubs. The reviews from others have been great, but yesterday I tried a commerical rub and the comments coming back were outstanding. I've only used the rubs we have made when were at competitions, but after our practice yesterday and the comments it has me thinking about commerical rubs.

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Old 11-17-2013, 10:53 AM   #2
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I use commercial rubs and start with commercial sauce, I add a few things to the sauce though. I have enough to keep up with and prepare before a contest, I don't need to have to make rubs and sauces, plus I think it's more consistent this way.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:56 AM   #3
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Why not try a combination of both to layer the flavors? Commercial rubs are marketed and sold for a reason - they are good. But, if you have good success with what you make at home, you might as well try a combo at home and see what happens. I have good luck with commercial rubs and making my own isn't worth all the hassle for cooking at home. On the other hand, I do use a combination when competing, though, and it seems to work well. Just my two cents!
- Matt

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Old 11-17-2013, 11:39 AM   #4
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I use well known, successful commercial rubs and add a bit to them to personalize. A little heat. A little sweet.

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Old 11-17-2013, 12:10 PM   #5
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We use our own rub and it probably hurts us more than help but it's all part of the game for us.
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:02 PM   #6
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Join Date: 08-08-07
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Either works. The key with spices is that they be fresh. Whether you buy somebody else's mix or do your own, it's crucial that the time between when the components are ground and when the product is eaten be as short as possible.

For example, if you are making your own rub "fresh" with spices that have been sitting around a supermarket warehouse/shelves for several months, you won't get the same punch out of the spices that a rub that is ground, packed and shipped straight from the packer in short order.

Of course you can always grind your own spices at home if you are willing to go through that effort...
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Old 11-17-2013, 03:19 PM   #7
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Why reinvent the wheel? There are bad ass rubs and sauces that you don't have to do anything to them. Smokin Guns Hot, Cimarron Docs, Blues Hog, The Slabs, FAB

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Old 11-17-2013, 04:04 PM   #8
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Hey Scottie,

That list looks like your sponsor banner. great ones there.
Q-To-U-BBQ in Anthem, Arizona
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Old 11-17-2013, 04:48 PM   #9
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We make our own for two reasons: so we don't taste like everyone else, and so that we never get caught short because we can't get a particular product.
Don't practice until you get it right; practice until you can't get it wrong.
Don't overthink or undercook.

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Old 11-17-2013, 05:32 PM   #10
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Location: Hagerstown, MD

Go commercial and have consistency every time, Order a few pounds ahead, keep in a cool dark place and you won't run out! As far as sauce, go commercial and personalize if you like, just measure and write it down!
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Old 11-17-2013, 05:56 PM   #11
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A lot of folks, particularly those new to competition cooking, cook what they like. Nothing wrong with that, but know that when you cook for judges you're cooking to please the broader general public. If your tastes love salt, that's not good. If your tastes are like mine, you'll have food TOO spicy for the average Joe. One would think I'm making the argument for commercial rubs. There's certainly something to be said for them. However, I never found one that I couldn't do better. Perhaps because when doing my own, cost was no object. As Gavin said, make sure they're fresh.

Try them, as you did, on your friends. Also, try them on your friends when they're not starving to death and when they're stone cold sober. Try multiple recipes at the same time, let them judge them against one another, you'll find what works best for you.
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.
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:57 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
... try them on your friends when they're not starving to death and when they're stone cold sober.

Hmmm... Looks like I need to find new friends.

Dan D.
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:52 PM   #13
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make your own out of a combination of commercially available (hint: Simply Marvelous) rubs.
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:37 AM   #14
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I make my own. I have tried commercial rubs and have found some good ones but I still like mine better. That said the judges have no idea what is commercial and what isn't. They judge solely off taste, tenderness and appearance not commercial vs. homemade.
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Old 11-18-2013, 11:31 AM   #15
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Homemade on my brisket, half commercial / homemade on ribs and commercial on chicken...
Hale of a Good BBQ Pitmaster...2013-14 IBCA Third Coast Cooker of the Year......
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