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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 06-06-2014, 09:54 AM   #1
bacchus99
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Default What is competing like?

I've been backyard bbq'ing for awhile now and have been somewhat interested in competing. I know NOTHING about it. Where would one start? A few questions.

1. Take me thru a standard competition weekend. How much prep outside of the weekend is needed?

2. Is it family oriented? Are people bringing their kids and are they running around all over?

3. Are they usually one day or held over a full weekend?

4. How often do most folks compete? Every weekend or a few times a year?

5. How costly is it? Are meats provided as part of entry fees?

6. A lot of travel involved?

7. Any drama?

8. Can/Do you drink frosty beverages while competing?

I have raced off-road RC cars for a few years but now that I have a son its hard to get to the track. I really enjoyed the competition aspect of racing and the comradery at the track. I guess I'm curious if I'd enjoy competing in BBQ comps. Any advice would be great!
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Unread 06-06-2014, 10:09 AM   #2
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1) At typical comp for us is to pull in Friday afternoon, get setup, and inject big meats. After that, plenty of time to BS with your friends, meet new folks, have a beverage, etc. Saturday morning is pretty laid back until 11 or so, then it gets pretty intense for about 3 hours. Load up after last turn-in at 1:30 and wait for awards. I probably put in close to 10 hrs. at home for a comp weekend (say 8 for prep and loading and 2 for cleanup).

2) Some kids, but not really a big family event.

3) KCBS is usually Friday/Saturday. Arrive noon or early pm on Friday, done by 4 on Sat.

4) Anywhere from once a year to 40+ contests a year.

5) Figure a bare min. of $500/contest for KCBS, closer to $1000 if you are serious and have travel expenses.

6) Depending on where you live, there should be several local contests. If you want to do 40 a year and live in Seattle, be prepared to drive.

7) Some, but generally not any big issues.

8. Yes. Yes, but not on Saturday until after turn-ins.
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Unread 06-06-2014, 10:25 AM   #3
bacchus99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeJ65 View Post
1) At typical comp for us is to pull in Friday afternoon, get setup, and inject big meats. After that, plenty of time to BS with your friends, meet new folks, have a beverage, etc. Saturday morning is pretty laid back until 11 or so, then it gets pretty intense for about 3 hours. Load up after last turn-in at 1:30 and wait for awards. I probably put in close to 10 hrs. at home for a comp weekend (say 8 for prep and loading and 2 for cleanup).

2) Some kids, but not really a big family event.

3) KCBS is usually Friday/Saturday. Arrive noon or early pm on Friday, done by 4 on Sat.

4) Anywhere from once a year to 40+ contests a year.

5) Figure a bare min. of $500/contest for KCBS, closer to $1000 if you are serious and have travel expenses.

6) Depending on where you live, there should be several local contests. If you want to do 40 a year and live in Seattle, be prepared to drive.

7) Some, but generally not any big issues.

8. Yes. Yes, but not on Saturday until after turn-ins.
When does the cook happen? Overnight on Friday?
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Unread 06-06-2014, 10:32 AM   #4
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Mike pretty much laid it out, but if you want a really good in-depth reference to get you started I'd highly recommend buying


. Fantastic and enlightening read for sure.
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Unread 06-06-2014, 10:38 AM   #5
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My answers to your questions below...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bacchus99 View Post
I've been backyard bbq'ing for awhile now and have been somewhat interested in competing. I know NOTHING about it. Where would one start? A few questions.

1. Take me thru a standard competition weekend. How much prep outside of the weekend is needed?

My week starts on Tuesday evening when I prep my rubs, sauces, injections, etc. On Wednesday evening I prep all meats. On Thursday evening I load the trailer and restock any consumables. We pull out for the comp on Fridxay morning.

2. Is it family oriented? Are people bringing their kids and are they running around all over?

Yes, it is family oriented, but not everyone had their family there, so some teams may tend to be a bit more "adult". Most folks keep their kids in line, but kids will be kids.

3. Are they usually one day or held over a full weekend?

Around here most are Friday-Saturday, with turn ins on Saturday. There are a few Saturday-Sunday comps.

4. How often do most folks compete? Every weekend or a few times a year?

Yes. We do 9-10 a season.

5. How costly is it? Are meats provided as part of entry fees?

This depends on what type of meat, the entry fees and the distance. We average around $600 per competition.

6. A lot of travel involved?

Up to you. We try to stay within about 3 hours of home.

7. Any drama?

Of course. There is always drama when lots of people are involved.

8. Can/Do you drink frosty beverages while competing?

Yep, but remember why you are there. If you just want to party there are cheaper ways to do it

I have raced off-road RC cars for a few years but now that I have a son its hard to get to the track. I really enjoyed the competition aspect of racing and the comradery at the track. I guess I'm curious if I'd enjoy competing in BBQ comps. Any advice would be great!

The camaraderie is the best part. We have great friends who we see only at competitions, and everyone is willing to help each other.
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Unread 06-06-2014, 10:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeJ65 View Post
1) At typical comp for us is to pull in Friday afternoon, get setup, and inject big meats. After that, plenty of time to BS with your friends, meet new folks, have a beverage, etc. Saturday morning is pretty laid back until 11 or so, then it gets pretty intense for about 3 hours. Load up after last turn-in at 1:30 and wait for awards. I probably put in close to 10 hrs. at home for a comp weekend (say 8 for prep and loading and 2 for cleanup).

2) Some kids, but not really a big family event.

3) KCBS is usually Friday/Saturday. Arrive noon or early pm on Friday, done by 4 on Sat.

4) Anywhere from once a year to 40+ contests a year.

5) Figure a bare min. of $500/contest for KCBS, closer to $1000 if you are serious and have travel expenses.

6) Depending on where you live, there should be several local contests. If you want to do 40 a year and live in Seattle, be prepared to drive.

7) Some, but generally not any big issues.

8. Yes. Yes, but not on Saturday until after turn-ins.
^^This. As far as the cook some start Friday night, some early Saturday
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Unread 06-06-2014, 10:56 AM   #7
bacchus99
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$500 to $1000 a contest huh? Is there money to get won back? Or is this pretty much a money pit hobby? RC car racing definitely is/was.
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Unread 06-06-2014, 11:01 AM   #8
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Yes, you can win money.
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Unread 06-06-2014, 11:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
My answers to your questions below...

Hey Ron - I'm looking to compete sometime this summer. Is there a decent competition in the Midwest during late July or August that would be a good one to participate in as my first competition? It's hard to tell what the "hard core" events are outside of the obvious ones like Sams Club and I don't want to jump right into a super-intense competition as my first go-round.

Thanks!
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Unread 06-06-2014, 11:09 AM   #10
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Kenosha is late august, its a great one.
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Unread 06-06-2014, 12:01 PM   #11
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Edit - nevermind didn't see you were looking later in summer.
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Unread 06-06-2014, 12:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bacchus99 View Post
I've been backyard bbq'ing for awhile now and have been somewhat interested in competing. I know NOTHING about it. Where would one start? A few questions.

1. Take me thru a standard competition weekend. How much prep outside of the weekend is needed?

Pretty much like Ron. 2 weeks ahead I call my meat supplier and put in my order. The weekend before I make sure I have my detail schedule printed (LARGE so it can be seen at 3am) and my packing list ready to go. Over the next days we're prep'ing as much ahead of time as we can, and if we can, I start packing. Anything not packed by Thursday gets packed on Thursday. Also, on Thursday afternoon I go to my meat supplier and pick up the meat that I ordered. Everything packed and meat on ice. If there's chicken involved, I pull the skins and scrape them at this time. Bright and early Friday morning we're on the road...

2. Is it family oriented? Are people bringing their kids and are they running around all over?

Most, yes, but the kids stay close. There's LOTS of fire everywhere. There's always alcohol consumption. If people are afraid of what their kids see, then they dont bring the kids.



3. Are they usually one day or held over a full weekend?

Full weekend, but some want you out Saturday evening. I never cared for these. We like to stay Saturday night (while we're packing up) and head out by noon on Sunday.



4. How often do most folks compete? Every weekend or a few times a year?

Everyone is different. I know of competitors who compete 40 times a year. I know some who compete once or twice if they can. Dont discount the infrequent competitors; some know what they're doing but dont have the time nor money to do it more often.


5. How costly is it? Are meats provided as part of entry fees?

It's rare that meats are supplied, and on most of those I dont use their meats anyway... The average KCBS comp runs me about $800 when it's all said and done with. For me, the average MBN competition runs about $1,500 and I dont do whole hog... GBA just over $800.



6. A lot of travel involved?

Different for everyone. I/we dont travel more than 2.5 hours in any direction, but we have tons of competitions available to us down the road...


7. Any drama?

Always a little at every competition, but we've never been part of it, except when the kid climbed into our smoker one time trying to go to sleep...


8. Can/Do you drink frosty beverages while competing?

Only if you share.


I have raced off-road RC cars for a few years but now that I have a son its hard to get to the track. I really enjoyed the competition aspect of racing and the comradery at the track. I guess I'm curious if I'd enjoy competing in BBQ comps. Any advice would be great!

in blue above.
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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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Unread 06-06-2014, 12:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdstoll View Post
Hey Ron - I'm looking to compete sometime this summer. Is there a decent competition in the Midwest during late July or August that would be a good one to participate in as my first competition? It's hard to tell what the "hard core" events are outside of the obvious ones like Sams Club and I don't want to jump right into a super-intense competition as my first go-round.

Thanks!

FYI: Competitions are only as intense as you make/let them. I've ran into some of the most serious competitors at a few select unsanctioned competitions, and some of the most laid-back at some fairly large sanctioned competitions...

I would suggest watching BBQ Pit Wars. If you can, go see/watch a few competitions. Otherwise, give it a go.

Practice ahead of time cooking to a set turn-in time. This seems to be one of the toughest things for newcomers. Know that most of us cook things ahead of time and keep them in warmers so that we're not worried about it not getting done in time... Ribs tend to be a bit different.
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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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Unread 06-06-2014, 12:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bacchus99 View Post
When does the cook happen? Overnight on Friday?
For the few unsanctioned comps, usually it's all cooked Saturday morning. Some of these wont even allow you to set up camp until Saturday...

Sanctioned comps, the big meats go on Friday evening. The turn-in times are usually around noon on Saturday.

Friday afternoon cooking is usually for ancillaries.
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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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Unread 06-06-2014, 12:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bacchus99 View Post
$500 to $1000 a contest huh? Is there money to get won back? Or is this pretty much a money pit hobby? RC car racing definitely is/was.
I've competed in probably 30 BBQ competitions over the past few years. As it ends up, averages being averages, we've made back roughly or just over half of the money spent. For us, it's definitely a hobby. I dont think it's a full time money making paying-the-house-payment endeavor for anyone in the nation (ie. there is no real/pure "Professional"). Mind you, some have restaurants or other BBQish jobs and the competitions help promote their things, but they're not feeding the kids with the winnings...
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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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