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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 05-16-2018, 07:35 PM   #1
aimcat
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Default 1st competition...setup question!!

So my husband and I have found a kcbs comp about 2 hours from us in 2 weeks we want to try. It seems like a smaller one but the woman over it already said they have 31 teams in place. Since this will be our 1st comp I don't expect to walk away with wins. I looked through photos of past events and it looks like lots of people have campers or tv's. Only a few had tents or JUST pop ups. Will we look like huge newbies without big rigs right now? What would be the advice to compete with the big dogs without feeling too inferior? I was thinking 2 ezups, one for cooking and maybe wall the other off for chairs and sleeping? Another problem is we sold our wsm and go5 a pellet smoker, but now I feel like we def need another smoker for everything!.
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Old 05-16-2018, 08:04 PM   #2
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Quote:
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So my husband and I have found a kcbs comp about 2 hours from us in 2 weeks we want to try. It seems like a smaller one but the woman over it already said they have 31 teams in place. Since this will be our 1st comp I don't expect to walk away with wins. I looked through photos of past events and it looks like lots of people have campers or tv's. Only a few had tents or JUST pop ups. Will we look like huge newbies without big rigs right now? What would be the advice to compete with the big dogs without feeling too inferior? I was thinking 2 ezups, one for cooking and maybe wall the other off for chairs and sleeping? Another problem is we sold our wsm and go5 a pellet smoker, but now I feel like we def need another smoker for everything!.
I would say competition BBQ folks are some of the least judgmental people around. I pulled up to my first contest with one EZ-up and one Pit Barrel Cooker. The organizer stuck me right next to Lotta Bull BBQ in a giant RV with however many "X world champion" on the side. I was like "what did I get myself into?" Mike and Debbie came right over and gave me tons of advice that I still rely on to this day.

Plan a setup that will work for you and spend the next two weeks getting some practice in...you will be glad you took the leap!
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Old 05-16-2018, 08:15 PM   #3
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The two tents, one for sleeping, sounds good. I either sleep under mine in a gravity chair or in the truck if it is a cold night (my wife allows my daughter and I to compete, but she expects me to be sensible about my investment). As far as a second cooker, I would recommend it, especially if your primary is a pellet smoker, you will need a back-up in case of power failure or in case something breaks on the pellet cooker because there are moving parts that must perform correctly.
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Old 05-16-2018, 08:17 PM   #4
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I agree! No one cares what your set up is!

Since you have two weeks, do a mock competition on your driveway of in the back yard. Set up exactly as you plan to at the competition and cook everything to your timeline, including doing boxes and mock turn ins. Keep track of anything that you need to get from the house and add that to your packing list.
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Old 05-16-2018, 08:48 PM   #5
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What Contest?
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Old 05-16-2018, 08:49 PM   #6
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Piggin in the park in SC
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Old 05-16-2018, 08:51 PM   #7
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Great advice being given on here. The first contest we ever did, the organizer must have sensed we felt the same way as you when we went down to sign up. He told us on the day of the cook that we would see a lot of fancy smokers and set ups, but not to be intimidated and just do our cook. It was great advice that has always stayed with us. We went out that day with our minivan packed full of everything under the sun (including I think 4-5 bags of charcoal to cook just Chicken and Ribs) and to our utter astonishment and excitement won 3rd in Ribs. Nothing like that feeling in the world, best to you on your competition!
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Old 05-16-2018, 09:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aimcat View Post
So my husband and I have found a kcbs comp about 2 hours from us in 2 weeks we want to try. It seems like a smaller one but the woman over it already said they have 31 teams in place. Since this will be our 1st comp I don't expect to walk away with wins. I looked through photos of past events and it looks like lots of people have campers or tv's. Only a few had tents or JUST pop ups. Will we look like huge newbies without big rigs right now? What would be the advice to compete with the big dogs without feeling too inferior? I was thinking 2 ezups, one for cooking and maybe wall the other off for chairs and sleeping? Another problem is we sold our wsm and go5 a pellet smoker, but now I feel like we def need another smoker for everything!.
Don't worry about how you look (nobody else will). Worry about how you cook. That's what counts. Your setup sounds fine. We did a comp with one WSM and it is not as hard as it may sound. You just need to have your timeline down. This meat at this temp for this long (allow extra time in case things don't go as planned). Trim the big meats down to a manageable size for time savings and they can rest for a long time, so don't be afraid to have em done early. A full practice cook would be ideal for you, that way you can get a timeline down and kinda know how it's going to flow. Good luck!
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aimcat View Post
So my husband and I have found a kcbs comp about 2 hours from us in 2 weeks we want to try. It seems like a smaller one but the woman over it already said they have 31 teams in place. Since this will be our 1st comp I don't expect to walk away with wins. I looked through photos of past events and it looks like lots of people have campers or tv's. Only a few had tents or JUST pop ups. Will we look like huge newbies without big rigs right now? What would be the advice to compete with the big dogs without feeling too inferior? I was thinking 2 ezups, one for cooking and maybe wall the other off for chairs and sleeping? Another problem is we sold our wsm and go5 a pellet smoker, but now I feel like we def need another smoker for everything!.
You will be fine. If it makes you feel better we just use a tent and a mini van. A minivan is great for sleeping. Yes they will think your new. I got that question alot at the Ironman this past April. A second cooker is nice. 2 weeks out is not long enough to learn a new cooker. Stick with what you know and add it later.

Bbq people are great people. We all love bbq otherwise we wouldn't be there. No one has ever treated me badly at a comp. No one ever has looked down on me at a bbq comp.

At the Ironman multiple teams offered lights at night to use. My kid swiped my light lol. So I operated with a headlamp at night. Its a competition yes but I think it might be the only competitive thing where people are willing to help you.

It can be intimidating to be surrounded by huge rv's and Jambo's and gravity fed cabinets and enclosed trailers. They have no effect on your cook. Don't worry about them.

Consider yourself lucky if you are surrounded by rv's or enclosed trailers. It helps break the wind. Most people were fighting wind at the Ironman. We were not because we were completely blocked in. It helped alot. :)

Couple things I recommend. Make a pack list. Seperate into 5 boxes. 1 for each category. 1 for general purpose. Label them and pack for each category. Double check your pack list.

Order disposable cutting boards. I recommend bbq guru ones they sell in their store.
Disposable pans half and full pans from sams club are useful for prep and easy clean up. Sanitizing wipes are great for table cleaning. Get garbage bags.

If you have down time clean up in between. Get ready for the next step in your process. Make sure you know where everything is for the next step.

If you have an android device such as a cell phone. Get the 180que app. It will help you keep on your timeline. Helps you build one too. My favorite tool and it is free.

You can trim meat at home. Don't season or inject meat at home.

Get buckets to tie your ez up down too. Fill them with water to weigh the tent down.

Hope this helped. If not sorry for rambling.
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Old 05-17-2018, 06:19 AM   #10
aimcat
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Oh so we can go ahead and trim meat at home? Everything? Brisket pork ribs and chicken?
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:50 AM   #11
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Read this over for your trimming questions. It answers much more, too.

https://www.kcbs.us/downloads/rules_reg_2018_2.pdf
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:58 AM   #12
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We are a small team. 2 pop up tents. One is our hospitality hang out tent then other we set up several feet back is our prep/cooking tent with our smokers behind that. This way it breaks up our camp so people are not falling over each other moving around. It does get intimidating looking at all the rigs with porch smokers but it's the taste of the pig not the size of the rig. Stole that from the side of a nice 5th wheel trailer I was staring at while sweating in 95 degree heat all day lol. But hey you know what? I won my first GC over the weekend going against some very good teams. So it can happen!

Some great advice in this thread!! I'm taking notes again.
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:16 AM   #13
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I agree with what most people have said here. We also compete with a very basic (read - cheap) setup; two EZ Ups, three homemade UDSs and a secondhand WSM. But, this is how we've made lots of our BBQ friends - we are hanging out, enjoying beverages, and chatting with folks. Our last contest we were next to one2 BBQ; we swapped samples after turn ins and got lots of feedback from one of the best BBQ guys out there. Do not worry about what anyone else is dragging behind their trucks. Focus on your cook and have a good time. Like lots of people have said here, you will find that BBQ folks are some of the nicest people you'll ever meet and are very willing to give fellow competitors a hand.

And yes, you can trim all meats at home.
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:38 AM   #14
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Worry about your cook not how you look.

Practice, Practice, Practice as much as you can before you go.

Prepare as much as you can before you get there (Rubs, sauces, injections, etc etc)

For me, success in our first competition was turning in all meats on time and no last places.

Good luck! Let us know how it goes!
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:25 PM   #15
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We will be at that contest. It is set up on a baseball field. Be prepared to be on the dirt part of the field or grass. It is a nice contest and only has 32 or so teams. No one cares about your tents. Most all the teams will talk to you and help point you in the right direction. There is a grocery store literally 100 yards away if you forget anything.
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