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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 08-23-2019, 11:01 AM   #136
Blanton
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Be careful It is a slippery slope

We are so used to the creature comforts of our TH that we'll never be without them :) I would love a porch trailer, but getting one with those comforts is expensive
Exactly where we are now. Moved from a great modified insulated, A/C cargo trailer that provided dual purposes, to a toy hauler. Love being able to really enjoy the added nights or long distance contest. Would now love a porch trailer as I am already tired of setting up but will not give up the creature comforts that makes this adventure somewhat enjoyable for the wife.
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:16 AM   #137
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There was one year in State Center Iowa we had our pop ups and a little Uhaul trailer I think it was 4 x 6 or so. Anyways bad down pour and severe weather hit. My wife was crunched up in this trailer making our boxes. Still pictures floating around on that one.
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:18 AM   #138
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1. The un-level playing field when it comes to meat. Hell, I can't afford Wagyu briskets or Snake River Farms pork butts/ribs. The "Guinea Pig" contests seemed like a great idea, where all teams were on the same level playing field in terms of meat quality. But those contests seem to have gone by the way side, probably because top teams cried about not being able to use higher quality meat than most other teams could afford.

3. The way KCBS contests have gravitated toward producing BBQ that almost no one would want to cook/eat at home. I'm a (former) KCBS judge who simply got tired of eating over-salted, over-spiced, overly sweet, MSG-filled meat that would overpower most people's palate before they got done eating a meal. The "get the judges' attention with one bite" philosophy is a canker sore on the face of KCBS.

I will start by saying I love to compete. It is always a fun weekend and we meet great people. If we didn't start competing 3 years ago we wouldn't have our catering company/side hustle and it was a great learning experience for us to cook some pretty good Que.

Have to agree with the above. This is a Professional circuit. Have to pay to play here and it's up to the team to decide if that's worth it. Unfortunately, for us and a lot of other teams the time and cost it's going to take to finally be competitive outweighs the reward of winning. It stinks. Competition is really fun. But, they shouldn't be surprised when contests can barely get 20 teams with the cost. This year alone in the Facebook groups I've seen multiple contests cancelled here in the Northeast or the organizers begging for teams.

In regards to the "One Bite BBQ." I can't fault KCBS and the top teams for creating/wanting the highest level of professional competition and creating the best bite possible as that's how it should be. Professional athletes aren't playing with cheap equipment or eating Kraft Mac N' Cheese every day. Neither should top KCBS teams use Home Depot smokers and Select briskets. But, I agree with you that the one bite served shouldn't have to have taken steroids. Putting a cap on meat quality will never happen. If someone wants to pay for it they should be able to. But, maybe they can put restrictions on the use of "enhancers" and get back to serving good Ol' Fashioned BBQ. However, i don't see that happening anytime soon either. It's what sets comp Que apart from backyard.
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:59 AM   #139
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Originally Posted by Fat Freddy View Post
There was one year in State Center Iowa we had our pop ups and a little Uhaul trailer I think it was 4 x 6 or so. Anyways bad down pour and severe weather hit. My wife was crunched up in this trailer making our boxes. Still pictures floating around on that one.
I think that was the year that we took reserve at State Center. I remember the water running down the street inches deep!
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:11 PM   #140
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We got out of BBQ competitions for a few reasons...

1. Cost, to be competitive it was taking a lot of money
2. Location, I wasn't in the best location and needed to travel a bit to get to comps.
3. Time. I could either use time off to go to comps or do something with family
4. New Born -- at the time we just had our son. I wanted to spend time with him. A BBQ comp is the place for a baby to hang out...or a toddler...
5. Priorities. I still love cooking Que. I love hanging around great people. I just shifted to doing get togethers, then I bought a Jeep. The Jeep family is like the BBQ family. No matter where you go they are there!
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:44 PM   #141
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You have mentioned this a few times and I would be interested in hearing how you would propose it work. In your system would the American Royal invitational and The Jack no longer be considered "world championships" and would their be a path to getting there similar to how the US Open works in golf? The reason I ask about these two are that I really don't care about KCBS points but I do want to compete in The Royal and The Jack at some point. I think many others are in the same position I am in.

For me the reasons I compete are:
1) Because I enjoy it and I want to compete against the best (at least the best in California).
2) To (hopefully) be able to cook The Jack and The American Royal.
3) California BBQ Association Team of the Year. We only count the top 5 scores rather than top 10 . I always assume you have to, at a minimum, do 2.5x the number events counted to realistically have a chance at Team of the Year and 12 events is more realistic form me than 25.

And you are correct, to do anything other than #1 I need to cook a lot more but I don't think I will be able to do that until my kids go to college.


I also want to say that you may be correct, this may be the best path forward for KCBS and/or professional BBQ. I think it is tough for people like me and others on this forum because we are the ones that get downsized out of the pro ranks and nobody has ever thought it was a great idea to downsize themselves out of anything.
Sign me up to be downsized. I am never going to compete 50 times a year. I would love to compete 10 times a year against people who compete 5-15 times year. Unlike some, I would make no illusion to myself that if I were to win one of those events it would equal winning against the top teams.
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:52 PM   #142
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If you read my post, I'm advocating some mobility between divisions so this aspect of competition BBQ stays alive, because I think it's unique and important.

Touring teams will still cook local events. They do it now because they love to compete and to cook. That won't change. I cooked a 25 team contest in my home town 2 weeks ago. There weren't enough teams for the points to matter. I cooked it because it's my home town and I love to compete. The contest you won pork at was the same way. Teams will show up for well run, fun events regardless.

For the tour I'm talking about 16-20 (maybe it's only 10-12?) high profile events from coast to coast (and international). Most "pro" teams will only do about half of these. The rest of their schedule will be made up of smaller local events. That's no different than how we schedule now. Plus, these high profile events can be open meaning anyone who wants to pay the entry fee can sign up to cook two per year without losing your status.

The main difference between the current system and what I'm proposing is a two tiered championship points chase. Plus having 16-20 big, bankable events to drive interest, education and marketing opportunities for competition BBQ.
I actually think an easy way start down this road would be at the "local contests" you have to elect if you want to be considered for the points chase (maybe teams with 20 or more contests the previous year are required to be considered for the points chase). Then you have a hybrid awards of sorts. A guy that competes only a handful of times could say "I beat the other guys that cook few times a year and got 4th overall." Keeps the concept of wanting to beat the best, doesn't put limits on teams like you.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:12 AM   #143
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This thread is interesting and reading it so far it's pretty obvious why KCBS can't make any real changes : people are set in their ways and they don't want any changes. The Pro teams out there already know how to win, so why would they want any changes which would hamper their odds and possibly tilt the scale in the favor of others? Quite a few posters in here came out "guns blazing" against just about any and all changes suggested.

Anyways, I didn't see it suggested in this thread, so I'll place it here as I feel like this could help to open things up for new teams :

A while back Harry Soo did a video where they were at an event and there were certified judges who would eat your food in front of you and give you instant feed back. For teams who are just starting out that could be a "game changer" for them. I've done 5 contests and the feedback from judges leaves a lot to be desired. I've gotten a few comment cards and for the most part they lack any real critique. It's tough to spend the kind of money a contest requires when you're doing something wrong, but you've got no real means of knowing what that wrong thing is.

I'm just curious if KCBS would think about incorporating these things into some contests to help lure in new teams and allow them to get some feedback before they drop a lot of money on entry fees. It would allow them to test the waters and see if KCBS BBQ is really something they want to compete in. I enjoy going to contests and competing mostly because of the people I've met. I feel if people can get out there and not have to drop so much money, they might get pulled into the community and have a much more positive experience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ld1A_dPwsw8

Also, kind of a small note, but the KCBS website / Competition search tool is kind of hard to use and not very "information friendly" for newcomers. If you have no idea what's going on and you want to enter your 1st KCBS contest the website doesn't really help much. I see lots of things like "State Championship"...it doesn't really explain what that means and it makes it seem like that's a very prestigious contest which a newcomer might not even be able to attend. Seeing an event say "Master Series" would generally make me think that it's not open to anybody beyond the Pros. There is nothing detailing the difference between a Master Series and Competitor Series competition. Even looking at the FAQ section imagine if you were a newcomer...these don't answer any questions a newcomer would likely have.

I only bring this up because I had no clue what I was doing when I first decided to give competition BBQ a shot. I checked out the KCBS.US website and it has very little information which is easily accessible for newcomers. LOTS of discussion in this thread is about newcomers, and I still feel like I'm in that category.
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Old 08-25-2019, 06:52 PM   #144
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A while back Harry Soo did a video where they were at an event and there were certified judges who would eat your food in front of you and give you instant feed back.
This event (and these types) is a very fun and useful event for any and all teams. Not only do you get judged by certified judges but also experienced cooks teams. The cooks teams also serve as mentors. Last year, I cooked this event. I learned a lot about some things I was trying. This year, I served as judge and mentor. It felt really good to be able to walk around on Friday night and Saturday morning and talk to people cooking and answer questions and offer advice. It was also nice to ask questions of the cook and offer suggestions back. To me, the best part is when a team turns in something and you give them some honest feedback and later in the year, you hear that team get their name called. That is an awesome feeling. Friends helping friends.
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Old 08-26-2019, 02:46 AM   #145
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Harry's events are an excellent teaching / learning venue for both team and judges !
I had the honor of being one of the judges for his first event back on December 14, 2013.

Would do one again in a heartbeat !!!
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Old 08-26-2019, 11:11 AM   #146
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Your position isn't wrong. It's just the complete antithesis of what BBQ is for me. Like I said before, exclusive vs. inclusive. How do you get more involvement? Maybe consider not telling people they have no business being there? But what do I know? Sounds like you guys have a good handle on this.

I'll leave it to you all then.
Why do we have to turn KCBS Master Series BBQ into something it isn't to be more "inclusive" or get more involvement?



I just tell it like it is, competition BBQ has never been cheap so what I said was the truth whether people like it or not. Probably why alot of people go broke doing it. Fail to recognize the reality of what they are doing to their personal finances.
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Old 08-26-2019, 04:45 PM   #147
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About 5 years ago I brought up to some KCBS board members that they needed to be proactive in continuing the growth of competition bbq. One of the things I had always heard from the public at comps or in conversation about doing comps was "I'd love to compete but have no idea how to start". The other big one was mentioned previously about not having a trailer to compete out of.

My idea to KCBS was putting together classes and/or videos showing how to start in competition bbq. Not a tell all class but more of what basic equipment is needed, what the time line of a contest looks like, how judging is done, etc. Maybe show what a set up looked like using just a 10x10 EZ Up. I had talked to a few top comp teams and they were more than willing to help do this. Their response was great idea but this really should be something you do on your own and is not something KCBS would involve itself in. I brought this up to boardmembers the following year (maybe two) and got more or less the same response.

I'm not saying this is the answer, but it is definitely frustrating seeing membership/competitions decline and the one group with the most to lose in this sit back and not try to be proactive about it.
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Old 08-27-2019, 06:38 AM   #148
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Why do we have to turn KCBS Master Series BBQ into something it isn't to be more "inclusive" or get more involvement?



I just tell it like it is, competition BBQ has never been cheap so what I said was the truth whether people like it or not. Probably why alot of people go broke doing it. Fail to recognize the reality of what they are doing to their personal finances.
I generally agree with most of what you say. But I think that is the exact point you are missing. We don't have to turn Master Series events into something more inclusive. We have to create an option that is more inclusive for everyone else in order to grow.
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Old 08-27-2019, 10:09 AM   #149
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About 5 years ago I brought up to some KCBS board members that they needed to be proactive in continuing the growth of competition bbq. One of the things I had always heard from the public at comps or in conversation about doing comps was "I'd love to compete but have no idea how to start". The other big one was mentioned previously about not having a trailer to compete out of.

My idea to KCBS was putting together classes and/or videos showing how to start in competition bbq. Not a tell all class but more of what basic equipment is needed, what the time line of a contest looks like, how judging is done, etc. Maybe show what a set up looked like using just a 10x10 EZ Up. I had talked to a few top comp teams and they were more than willing to help do this. Their response was great idea but this really should be something you do on your own and is not something KCBS would involve itself in. I brought this up to boardmembers the following year (maybe two) and got more or less the same response.

I'm not saying this is the answer, but it is definitely frustrating seeing membership/competitions decline and the one group with the most to lose in this sit back and not try to be proactive about it.
The information is out there, so maybe it's up to KCBS to market better. I think there is a stigma here that it is hard to get into competition BBQ and honestly I don't know why. It's literally as easy as exchanging american currency, doing maybe an hour of research, looking at pics of others food to try to emulate, reading the KCBS rules, and showing up with your smoker. Once you are there, it falls into place. I feel KCBS and the other teams are so supportive when you are there knowing you are new. Just have to dive in and be ok with losing/screwing up for a bit. Can't be stuck over analyzing and trying to win your first time out. You aren't going to and that's fine. You double your BBQ knowledge every time you compete.

We entered our first comp with almost new Pit Barrels and a Wal Mart Char Griller stick burner. We still compete under EZUps. You don't have to go broke to get into this. Just have to take the plunge. If you decide it isn't for you, at least you tried.
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Old 08-27-2019, 10:35 AM   #150
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I generally agree with most of what you say. But I think that is the exact point you are missing. We don't have to turn Master Series events into something more inclusive. We have to create an option that is more inclusive for everyone else in order to grow.
Well there was a backyard BBQ contest at the KCBS comp i cooked this weekend. I believe there was a whopping 5 teams in it. Where was everyone that is bitching about not having other options other that master series?
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