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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 02-23-2021, 12:56 AM   #1
XrayCat
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Join Date: 02-16-21
Location: Tucson, AZ
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Default Greetings fellow Quers! First visit!

Hello! This is my first time posting so I figured I'd tell you a bit about myself. I live in Tucson, AZ. I got my first true smoker last year for Father's Day, a Pit Boss 1100 pro Series. I absolutely love it! (I know, I know, the stick burners will mock me, I'm ok with that). I am now the BBQ king in my family and neighborhood.

I've always loved grilling. I have tried roasting ribs in the oven and then searing them on the grill. They were good but now that I've learned what true Q is, it's the only way to go. I HAVE THE BBQ ITCH! So much so that my friend and I are entering our first competition in May a few hours away from us in a town called Show Low, AZ. I am even considering quitting my full time job and becoming a professional BBQer if all goes well.

With that said, a couple of questions if you please.

1) Any competition tips you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
2) Competition thighs, scrape the skin or no?

I'm sure I'll have more as I practice and try different techniques.

It's a pleasure to be among friends and I look forward to meeting you.
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:07 AM   #2
West River BBQ
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Welcome to the Brethren. I'm sure you'll get lots of great advice. Pretty addicting, isn't it?
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:36 AM   #3
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Frist off. Welcome you'll make many friends and learn tons.
Second have you lost your mind? Are you under the impression there's gold in them BBQ hills? I know some very top notch cooks and there is no way they make a living being a
"professional BBQ'er". Do you have a extra $1000 a week to cook a contest?
Third, I hope your first contest in May is a backyard event. It's better to take a small bite than to fill your mouth and choke.
BUT, it can be done and if you jump in with both feet, best of luck.
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Old 02-23-2021, 09:10 AM   #4
sudsandswine
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If you really want to get into competition barbecue, my recommendation would be to take a KCBS certified barbecue judge class. You'll get to taste real "competition style" barbecue and be instructed on how to grade it. Knowing how to grade it will basically tell you what you need to do to succeed at it. Taking a "tell all" class with a winning competition barbecue team might be a good next step...you'll probably spend at least the class fee on your first competition, and not having to "fumble through" several competitions before getting oriented will probably save you money in the long run.

Instead of or in addition to an actual class, there is some great virtual instruction here. Well worth the membership, IMO.

https://www.thebbqleague.com/

I've only done one competition but would like to do others eventually. I did the CBJ + tell all class and I think it really helped focus my efforts. I didn't get any walks, but I did finish in the top 1/3 out of a field of 70+ of some of the most accomplished KCBS teams, and scored better in pork than the team I took the class from. I was pretty happy with the results and had a good time.
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Old 02-23-2021, 09:57 AM   #5
gettinbasted
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I am now what many consider a “professional BBQer” so it is possible, however, you need to come into it with realistic expectations. Prizes - cooking expenses is just north of break even for the best teams. The only way to make real money is to build your brand and capitalize on that. Classes, sponsorships, products, restaurants, etc... it takes years of hard work and investing in yourself to get there.

That being said, the only place to start is to jump in and do it. Sign up for Show Low, get your hands dirty, and see where it takes you. Even if it doesn’t lead to a career change, it’s still fun and addicting. Doing your research starting with this site and thebbqleague.com will get you in the ball park of what the judges are after and give you access to the best in the business.

Best of luck!
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Old 02-23-2021, 11:17 AM   #6
Kimo1
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As a "prize" I have sent you a private message that includes a comp rib recipe that won us many trophies in the past. We use a different one now but this one won't disappoint. Do not share it with anyone as this is the BBQ law. If you do, the Gods will know and punish accordingly haha.
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Old Yesterday, 12:19 AM   #7
XrayCat
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Join Date: 02-16-21
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Default Thank you

Thank you for the warm welcome. I am indeed addicted to BBQ, it's all I think about. Perhaps I need to do more than just BBQ but I can easily see myself getting on the circuit and traveling around the country. Right now ribs are my specialty. We'll see how they stack up in May but I really think I have something special. Thank you Kimo for your method, I will definitely study it out. This first competition is a smaller one, not sure if it's considered a backyard contest but I do know it's sponsored by BCS, not KCBS. Our primary goal is to have fun but not look like total newbies.

Now chicken thighs, do you scrape the skin or not? I'm reading conflicting inputs from different championship cooks.
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Old Yesterday, 06:20 AM   #8
Smokin Dawg77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gettinbasted View Post
I am now what many consider a “professional BBQer” so it is possible, however, you need to come into it with realistic expectations. Prizes - cooking expenses is just north of break even for the best teams. The only way to make real money is to build your brand and capitalize on that. Classes, sponsorships, products, restaurants, etc... it takes years of hard work and investing in yourself to get there.

That being said, the only place to start is to jump in and do it. Sign up for Show Low, get your hands dirty, and see where it takes you. Even if it doesn’t lead to a career change, it’s still fun and addicting. Doing your research starting with this site and thebbqleague.com will get you in the ball park of what the judges are after and give you access to the best in the business.

Best of luck!
2nd the bbqleauge.com , wealth of knowledge and experienced comp pitmasters willing to help in every way.
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Old Yesterday, 11:56 AM   #9
Right on Q
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We used to scrape skins but don't any longer. Once you figure out how to render the skin there is no need to scrape.

Check out the "Chicken Skin - To Braise or Not to Braise" thread a few weeks back to start. Hammer the search bar on this site. There are some real nuggets here. Also check out Youtube for some good videos. The BBQ League, Harry Soo, and others have some great videos.

The best answer to chicken skins is to try it multiple ways and see what works best in your situation.
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Old Yesterday, 03:35 PM   #10
masque13
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there is a reason why you see nearly every single "big name" in professional bbq start slowing down and focusing on doing classes, or selling rubs, sauces or opening restaurants instead of comps. like Brad said above, that is where the actual money is.

i mean when you consider that for most, the average cost of a comp will run roughly $1000....if you go out and cook 30 comps in a year, you have to have 30k in prize money just to cover comp costs. that doesn't include wear and tear on your truck, your trailer, your equipment, your marriage, your health.

so by the time you end up paying the govt. you would need to make a minimum of 40-50k in winnings to keep yourself afloat just cooking after taxes.

but then you got to pay your house payment, truck payment, insurance, utilities etc.

so now how much winning do you have to do only be a professional bbq cook???

a wise man once told me that you should only do comp bbq because you can afford it and if you like doing it......not because you think you are gonna win or that you must win to keep yourself afloat.

I will say this on Brad's behalf.......I recently attended his and Tim's hot and fast class back in December. incredible experience, I highly recommend it. and while there were many of us that asked him many questions about going out and cooking and having the success he's had and what it takes...... I knew right then and there that when he described what he had done to be TOTY and the sacrifices and travel and expense he incurred that it was something that I knew would never be on the table for me because I could never switch my priorities around enough to even try to do that......nor is there any real guarantee that I would become as good as he or any of the top guys actually are. I tasted his food at the class so I know how good it is.

like anyone who does this kind of stuff "professionally", whether it's golf, basketball, race car driving or bbq......it has to be an obsession....it has to be something you are willing to sacrifice incredibly to be a part of it.....you have to have immense talent.......damn near unhealthy competitiveness and you have to have the support of your loved ones to be willing to be around you while you make this journey. and you have to have resources to do it......bbq is an expensive thing to be a part of. there have been several saturday afternoons I have been driving home empty handed thinking to myself, "wow, there just went $1000 and all I got was sleep deprivation, slight dehydration and extreme fatigue".....LOL...so you can easily question your dedication to the sport in a hurry.

and because of all of that.....I will remain the guy that cooks at comps occasionally to make sure there is enough prize money to keep guys like Brad afloat and enjoy every minute of it!
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Old Today, 03:40 AM   #11
XrayCat
Got rid of the matchlight.
 
Join Date: 02-16-21
Location: Tucson, AZ
Name/Nickname : Tim
Default Ton of great info

Quote:
Originally Posted by masque13 View Post
there is a reason why you see nearly every single "big name" in professional bbq start slowing down and focusing on doing classes, or selling rubs, sauces or opening restaurants instead of comps. like Brad said above, that is where the actual money is.

i mean when you consider that for most, the average cost of a comp will run roughly $1000....if you go out and cook 30 comps in a year, you have to have 30k in prize money just to cover comp costs. that doesn't include wear and tear on your truck, your trailer, your equipment, your marriage, your health.

so by the time you end up paying the govt. you would need to make a minimum of 40-50k in winnings to keep yourself afloat just cooking after taxes.

but then you got to pay your house payment, truck payment, insurance, utilities etc.

so now how much winning do you have to do only be a professional bbq cook???

a wise man once told me that you should only do comp bbq because you can afford it and if you like doing it......not because you think you are gonna win or that you must win to keep yourself afloat.

I will say this on Brad's behalf.......I recently attended his and Tim's hot and fast class back in December. incredible experience, I highly recommend it. and while there were many of us that asked him many questions about going out and cooking and having the success he's had and what it takes...... I knew right then and there that when he described what he had done to be TOTY and the sacrifices and travel and expense he incurred that it was something that I knew would never be on the table for me because I could never switch my priorities around enough to even try to do that......nor is there any real guarantee that I would become as good as he or any of the top guys actually are. I tasted his food at the class so I know how good it is.

like anyone who does this kind of stuff "professionally", whether it's golf, basketball, race car driving or bbq......it has to be an obsession....it has to be something you are willing to sacrifice incredibly to be a part of it.....you have to have immense talent.......damn near unhealthy competitiveness and you have to have the support of your loved ones to be willing to be around you while you make this journey. and you have to have resources to do it......bbq is an expensive thing to be a part of. there have been several saturday afternoons I have been driving home empty handed thinking to myself, "wow, there just went $1000 and all I got was sleep deprivation, slight dehydration and extreme fatigue".....LOL...so you can easily question your dedication to the sport in a hurry.

and because of all of that.....I will remain the guy that cooks at comps occasionally to make sure there is enough prize money to keep guys like Brad afloat and enjoy every minute of it!
Thank you for sharing all that. I'll see how this first one goes and take it slowly from there.
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