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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 01-19-2014, 02:04 PM   #1
bassandbeer
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Default When do you switch from amateur to professional?

Over the past two years, I've been in 3 amateur comps. First one was a learning experience (DAL in ribs), but the two last summer went well. One comp was first in brisket, 4th in ribs (out of eight teams). Second comp was first in chicken, 9th in ribs ( out of 18 ).

I have a friend in the pros that tells me it's time to move up. What was your determining factor in going into the professional comps?
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Unread 01-19-2014, 02:11 PM   #2
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Never did any amateur comps, just jumped right in right from the start.
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Unread 01-19-2014, 02:19 PM   #3
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Go for it.
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Unread 01-19-2014, 02:42 PM   #4
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We did the back yard division for 2 years. Around here there usually only 2 categories in back yard ( butts and ribs ). The third year we were bumped up at our local town BBQ comp since they did not have enough pro teams. Now we had to cook all 4 categories ( butts,ribs,chicken and brisket). We have never looked back. Had a blast in the pro division and won some trophies. I like the 4 categories since there is no down time and you are always doing something. Just make sure you practice and have your times down. We have a spread sheet so we know what we are doing every hour.
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Unread 01-19-2014, 02:55 PM   #5
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We did a few non sanctioned neighborhood comps when we started, but that was more for fun than anything. As soon as we decided to do a real sanctioned comp, it was the full deal...no backyard contest at this event.
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Unread 01-19-2014, 03:11 PM   #6
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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?
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Unread 01-19-2014, 03:56 PM   #7
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You are looking at one of he big differences between amateur and pro cooking. MONEY!
This is not an inexpensive sport by any means. If you can't afford more cooking space you sure can't afford the higher entry fees and meat costs. You may want to wait until you have more resources or have saved up a few thousand dollars. Just one entry fee is more expensive than an additional cheap cooker.
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Unread 01-19-2014, 04:03 PM   #8
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True. Our local comps run around $250. Backyards typically $50-$100. I have the money, just need to convince the wife of the NEED to spend more and go pro. I'm looking forward to it.
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Unread 01-19-2014, 04:08 PM   #9
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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.

Only one way to find out how your BBQ stands up to those in the professional series.
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Unread 01-19-2014, 04:20 PM   #10
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amateur to pro? the day you quit your day job because the profit is so significant you can no longer afford to accept the little $$$ you get in your day job. :-)

I/we've competed in a few unsanctioned comps and still do; we enjoy them for the comradere and like the sponsors and organizers of those. Otherwise, if competing, I never saw any benefit in competing against anyone other than the very best. To me, why else compete? Mind you, that's me. That way, if you win, you really win, and if you dont, you have your *** handed to you by those who know how to do it.

I remember a few years back the guys who usually compete in KCBS came over to a GA BBQ event. I remember them whining at the end; they did no better than 30th of the 52 teams. They said "I heard it was supposed to be much easier and not much competition". I asked them "if so, why would you bother entering?". Anyway, my point is if you want to win, you'll have to earn it. Might as well earn it against the best (whatever you perceive the best is).

Why compete in Backyard? Seriously. I've read answer to this very question like:

I want to learn. Seriously, what are you learning in Backyard that you cannot learn in the real competition? Worse, what you learn in Backyard may not be applicable in the real deal.

IF, and I mean IF you have your children cooking the whole thing and you'd like to give them an opportunity to walk, and only if you feel strongly they have no chance in hades of walking otherwise, I might understand... However, there are no Pro's in the "Pro's". There are just competitors. Some are very accomplished, others aren't. However, most all can cook!!
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Unread 01-19-2014, 04:43 PM   #11
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We started in regular contests from the get-go. But I would say if you've hit firsts in a couple of categories, it's time to move up.
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Unread 01-19-2014, 04:46 PM   #12
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If you have to ask that question, your ready for pro. When I think amateur, I think of the guy or kid with a COS or weber grill that thinks they are pretty dang good cooks. And there is nothing to say they are not. But if you roll into a backyard comp with a 4k dollar pit and a trailer with networks set up for wifi, your exceeded the contests intentions.

Just my opinion. No one likes sandbaggers
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Unread 01-19-2014, 05:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Untraceable View Post
If you have to ask that question, your ready for pro. When I think amateur, I think of the guy or kid with a COS or weber grill that thinks they are pretty dang good cooks.
Yup. That fact that you are reading this forum and asking questions is by itself an indication you are probably ready for pro.

As far getting your wife to buy in - well, it's a hobby. You can win more at sanctioned contests, but it costs more to compete too. We consider it a good year if we break even, and we are a top 100 KCBS team. A few elite teams earn a living at this, the vast majority do not. People do it because they love it.
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Unread 01-19-2014, 06:10 PM   #14
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Only one way to find out………
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Unread 01-19-2014, 06:23 PM   #15
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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?
I dont do it but an entire contest CAN be cooked on a single WSM.
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