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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 01-20-2014, 06:05 PM   #31
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I have only done a handful cookouts and will probably never do a full 4 meat kcbs.
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Unread 01-20-2014, 06:10 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CivilWarBBQ View Post
I'm going to go against the majority on this one - if you have only done 3 backyard events in 2 years, you can certainly benefit from staying in that bracket for a while longer (assuming there are sufficient backyard contests in your area). You have barely wet your feet in competition BBQ at this point, and moving to pro now will certainly result in you spending a lot more money during the learning process than if you stay in backyard.

I might suggest that you take some of the money you would spend on entering Pro shows and buy a class or two from someone you respect that also cooks on the type of smoker you use. Then practice what you learn in backyard events for a while. When you start finishing in the top 5 every time and the other cooks push you to move up, THEN you'll be ready to shift to the Pro events.

Of course if you have unlimited funds and don't care how you finish, then go ahead and slog away for a while in the Pro world. Just remember you are doing it for fun and you will essentially be a field-filler, donating your money to the more experienced teams each weekend. I'm not trying to be harsh, just giving you an idea of what you can expect. I have seen quite a few backyarders move up to Pro after a couple of successes only to become discouraged and quit completely when they end up in the bottom of the field every time.
I very much agree here. Especially the part about maybe taking a class with the extra money you would be spending on a pro comp. I know after we switched to pro it was much tougher and then took a class and it really put us in the right direction.
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Unread 01-21-2014, 09:37 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassandbeer View Post
I have a small Bar-B-Chef that barely holds 2 racks of ribs, or 2 butts, or maybe 2 briskets. I don't have a lot of money to spend on another rig. Maybe I can find a friend with another one, otherwise, there's no way to cook it all in the time frame. Thoughts?

Harry Soo busted out a whole kcbs competition on a weber mini! i would just add a rack into your cooker to get two levels and increase the cooking space, then mod it as much as you need to become exact with your times. then think about trimming the big meats down to exactly what you need to cook to get your six or seven portions into the box, maybe get a rib rack to save some space and work with as few pieces of chicken as you can. don't worry... YOU CAN DO IT!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZ2HcRl4wSk
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Unread 01-21-2014, 10:04 AM   #34
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> I have seen quite a few backyarders move up to Pro after a couple of successes only to become discouraged and quit completely when they end up in the bottom of the field every time.

I too have seen this very thing. The problem, as I saw it, was that competing in backyard taught them some things that not only weren't applicable but some were just plain wrong vs. competing in Pro.

I agree, go to a class, a competition cooking class, hosted by a seasoned Pro, and/or become a CBJ and judge a few. Honestly, a picture is worth a thousand words. See what wins, and you'll see why it wins. Then go back and practice, practice, practice, and enjoy eating :-).

I'm worried that the team like JB's (posed previous page) get hammered going Pro and get discouraged after having success in the backyard area.
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Unread 01-21-2014, 10:33 AM   #35
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If you even thought of asking the question, when you should go into pro's, then you are ready. A lot of us, me included, started in the pros. If you want to be serious about competition, pro is where you go.
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Unread 01-21-2014, 10:54 AM   #36
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Slightly aside, but I'll get it straight to the point, for many years we've had a local competition that wasn't sanctioned. It would usually bring in 20 or so "backyard" teams; a couple of them were quite good and frankly got better every year. The organizer was convinced they were ready to go sanctioned, so 2 years ago they changed the competition to be sanctioned. Luckily they only got 30 teams total. The problem is that their #1 team before (GC'd twice and RGC'd another time) did no better than 15th. None of the local teams were in the top 10. Not close.

My point is this: While they were learning the fundamentals of competition, they didn't know that what they felt like were finely honed recipes got slammed when they went against seasoned competitors (I hate the whole "Pro" thing). I tried to convince them to judge a few sanctioned competitions before this; they didnt because they didnt see the need. THEY DID before the 2nd year. I'm glad to say their top team was in the top 5 this past year; they didnt give up. However, they did lose a number of the teams that were mediocre before and were bottom of the pack when it came to a sanctioned competition. Could that have been avoided? I dont know, but I do think attending either a cooking school or judging, or both would've helped.
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Unread 01-21-2014, 11:12 AM   #37
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There is a backyard competition up here in my area of Iowa, at a lake, that must be so popular that 2 of the top teams in the nation decided to do the contest and of course did very well. I have done a handful of KCBS and did this contest as well(of course it is a local contest for me). And if I am not mistaken including myself the top 5 overall finishers have done at least 4 KCBS contests, and of the top 5 overall I would feel quite comfortable saying at least 10 KCBS Grandchampions have been won.

My point being even the backyard contests get the bigger teams, so if you are going to go against them anyways then why not sign up for the regular contests?

I was a certified judge first that did backyard type contests kept running into certain teams even at backyard events so we decided to go into the regular KCBS scene. First year we learned a lot and did get our rear ends handed to us but it showed me if I wanted to continue or not. I did. So I took a class, learned a lot more and am continuing. I have not won a GC at a sanctioned contest yet, but to me while winning is fun it is not everything. I compete for the entire experience.
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Unread 01-21-2014, 11:40 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NRA4Life View Post
Never did any amateur comps, just jumped right in right from the start.
Same here
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Unread 01-21-2014, 01:32 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NRA4Life View Post
Never did any amateur comps, just jumped right in right from the start.
Me too.


If you're having fun doing backyard why stop? If it's not fun anymore move up.
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Unread 01-21-2014, 01:37 PM   #40
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If you are short on resources, you may want to find another friend to cook with for a season. That way its a little less costly.
Life is short. Go for it NOW! You will find there are lots of helpful people.
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Unread 01-21-2014, 04:06 PM   #41
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Man, you guys are killing me with the "go for it" and "take your time".
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Unread 01-21-2014, 06:53 PM   #42
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Flip a coin and let that be the deciding factor.

We did not do any backyard comps as there weren't any really around here (not that we were aware of anyway). But, I have always liked to BBQ, and always wanted to get better. No matter how good people say our product is, I always want to get better. Cooking in our backyard for our friends is nice. But when they get free bbq, it seems like they always say, "Wow, that's great". I disagreed and wanted to get better.

Taking a few classes (3Eyz, Swamp Boys and Myron) really helped me in my overall BBQ'ing and cooking abilities.

Not that we are making any money at this adventure (hobby), but we are having fun and meeting some really honest and good folks. Our kids are grown and out of the house, so we are enjoying this.

We are dedicated to getting better and moving up in the ranks. Yes, it is costing us money and the wife reminds me of that every time I enter a comp. We are working on our own spice rub, BBQ sauce and trying to do some catering on the side to offset the competition cost. Still waiting to make a dollar in those ventures.

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Unread 01-21-2014, 07:53 PM   #43
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Jump right in, we never competed amateur went KCBS from the get go. Just do it
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Unread 01-21-2014, 08:43 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
> I have seen quite a few backyarders move up to Pro after a couple of successes only to become discouraged and quit completely when they end up in the bottom of the field every time.

I too have seen this very thing. The problem, as I saw it, was that competing in backyard taught them some things that not only weren't applicable but some were just plain wrong vs. competing in Pro.

I agree, go to a class, a competition cooking class, hosted by a seasoned Pro, and/or become a CBJ and judge a few. Honestly, a picture is worth a thousand words. See what wins, and you'll see why it wins. Then go back and practice, practice, practice, and enjoy eating :-).

I'm worried that the team like JB's (posed previous page) get hammered going Pro and get discouraged after having success in the backyard area.
The big part that a few teams touched on is taking a class from a seasoned cook. That is something we did with our savings from By contests. We also befriended a few local teams and judges to get a lot of good feedback on what we were doing right and wrong.

You also have to be prepared that you may "get hammered" (as stated above) and be ready to accept that when you make that move. Our team has discussed that and set reasonable goals for this season since it'll be our first time competing against the teams that do it every weekend.

Again, you need to make the decision to compete Pro when you're ready, not when someone else says you are.

Best of luck with your decision!
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