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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 08-15-2019, 05:42 PM   #46
Mike in Roseville
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Originally Posted by gettinbasted View Post

I get all the animosity towards the “big teams”. You think we have some sort of advantage and that’s why we win. We didn’t fall out of the womb with sponsorships. We worked our asses off at our craft to earn them. You want to compete against and beat the best? Get busy, I spent 7 hours today looking for and trimming meat, Matt Walker has a 12 hour drive each way after spending all week preparing. Stop making excuses and work for it if you want it.

I’m on the backside of my career, new blood will jump up and take my place. I hope that new blood has the same opportunities I had to forge a career in BBQ.

You touched on something (and I'm not taking away from your dedication or success with your BBQ career...that's very impressive). I think the need for sub leagues or sub-events under the blanket for the KCBS might be the way to go. Back to what I was saying about sports. Not everyone can play Major League Baseball. Some people can play A ball or in a wooden bat league. Other's have to stick to slow-pitch softball on Saturday's or games after work. Everyone want's to play ball. They just need the opportunity that's right for them.



Maybe the KCBS issue isn't that its too restrictive to attract competitors. Rather, it's not as diversified as it should be with sub leagues and sanctioned competitions across the spectrum.

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Old 08-15-2019, 07:20 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Michigan BBQ Fan View Post
Good points. Some of the contests are pretty "boring" as far as other stuff going on. Others do a GREAT job. What if each one felt like a mini "State Fair"?????
What do you have in mind for a mini State Fair?
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Old 08-15-2019, 07:45 PM   #48
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You can already do this. You just need to sanction them as competitors series. That’s what we did with the National BBQ League to allow live scoring. It’s KCBS, but doesn’t garner points/Jack Draws/Royal invites.

Standards have to be set for points contests. Otherwise events become exclusionary. For instance, it would be easy for Tim to spend his money and hold a Gateway Drum only series. Providing opportunities for teams using his smokers to point grab in a pared down field. I’m all for a Gateway Drum series (and individual events have happened. It was a blast!), but this specificity should not be allowed for a Masters series event.

Be careful what you wish for. Right now as cooks we have choices. We can cook what we want and make deals with who we want as our success level dictates. We can cook on what we want for the most part and cook out of what we want. That creates opportunity. If KCBS and/or organizers takes that initiative away by making deals with vendors our choices and opportunities go away. Do you trust KCBS to always pay that forward? I know I don’t.

I get all the animosity towards the “big teams”. You think we have some sort of advantage and that’s why we win. We didn’t fall out of the womb with sponsorships. We worked our asses off at our craft to earn them. You want to compete against and beat the best? Get busy, I spent 7 hours today looking for and trimming meat, Matt Walker has a 12 hour drive each way after spending all week preparing. Stop making excuses and work for it if you want it.

I’m on the backside of my career, new blood will jump up and take my place. I hope that new blood has the same opportunities I had to forge a career in BBQ.
^^^Lots of truth there.

Some of the ideas I've read here or heard elsewhere either have KCBS putting on contests, or something close to that. With on exception, beginning last year, KCBS only puts on one contest. The rest are either sanctioned or KCBS provides a judging/scoring/Rep service (at a handful of invitationals).

At some point KCBS may put on a series on their own, similar to Sam's Club. This is another time to be careful what you wish for. There are a limited number of weekends a year, and it's possible that due to date availability and logistics they may step on your favorite local contest. It happened with Sam's even after they started consulting KCBS on the schedule beginning in year two.

I've always been interested in some sort of ToY for teams that won't cook 25+ weekends a year, or some other number. The fact is that the majority of teams won't ever get close to 25 a year. So lets say there is a trophy, or a sponsor kicks in some $. What is the impact to all contests if teams choose to shut it down as they approach that max number to be eligible? Is it going to drop team counts at contests and jeopardize qualifier status? Is establishing a system that might do that contrary to the mission of KCBS which is to promote BBQ? If I were to propose it I'd probably start looking at the data from last year and see what it would look like with a cutoff of 15 contests, then maybe at 20. It needs to be a number that might encourage teams to cook a few more, without becoming road warriors. If somebody got hot they might get close enough to 7 to cook a few more to get that Jack automatic.

Before we start jacking with rules surrounding Masters Series events I think we need to look at alternatives that use it, or do something like the NBL has done with Competitor Series sanctioning, as well as some other things.
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Old 08-15-2019, 08:34 PM   #49
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Just a couple of thoughts from one of those teams contributing to the drop off.

I have seen several comparisons to SCA and why KCBS would be better off providing the meat. I am sure pretty much everyone would support the contest providing the meat if it worked like SCA. Everyone gets to snake through the line and select 4 SRF briskets and there are 15 of them left on the table when the picking is done. I don't see many contests being able to sustain doing this, so instead what happens is people are at risk to get a bad selection. Also, a lot of people talk about making them more fun...What the hell is less fun than having to trim your Chicken onsite in August?

So to circle back to one of the original questions what might generate interest/excitement to grow the sport? I have lots of ideas but since nobody asked for them I will only share one

I think there should be a rib cookoff attached to every KCBS contest. If you cook the rib cookoff you can't cook the full comp. Local organizers can push this hard to the community (maybe in places where it is prohibited these rib cookoff folks could sample their extra ribs for a peoples choice, sell tickets, whatever). Local people wanting to kick their neighbors ass in a rib cookoff would probably be more willing/excited for people's choice than your average KCBS team. Do the rib awards right before the main awards so they feel like part of the winning. Maybe some of those rib samplers will stick around to see who wins the KCBS...maybe some of the rib cooks will catch the bug and become a point chasing team. Small entry fee, one day commitment, community involvement, and increased exposure.
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Old 08-16-2019, 09:22 AM   #50
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I used to think KCBS was the $hit...until I took their judging class a few years back...now I know why the judging is all over the place and no longer cook KCBS events with the exception of one that a good friend organizes each year.
Too many "my way or the highway" folks that are looking for one thing...when they don't get it they mark low. If it ain't like this it ain't good bbq...
Fix the damned judging!

Level the playing field...

I'd like to see more meat provided competitions ala King of the Smoker format. All teams provided the same quality of meat via a random draw. No SRF Gold or A9 brisket...no Duroc pork...just simple commodity choice meats. Let the skill of the Pitmasters determine who's the best...
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:01 PM   #51
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I'd pay to see a contest where Travis, Tim, Brad, and Darren all use commodity pork and choice grade briskets while everyone else uses A9, SRF, and Duroc... I'd still put my money on those guys vs the field. Can't wait to see the excuses after that contest.

Many competitive hobbies are expensive (fishing, shooting, etc), it sucks but thats nature of the beast. Once prize money and sponsorships get involved it is hard to break into the upper levels and everyone is looking for that advantage. We would offset the expense by selling leftovers to friends and family and using them at home reducing our family grocery budget. Save all the trimmings to use for sausage and burgers. It is still an expensive hobby but there are ways to offset the cost. We would also do some catering on the side to help pay for competing. We were able to get a few businesses to sponsor us along the way and we're nobodies. We also got to know a local butcher who would let us pick through briskets, butts, and ribs to find exactly what we wanted. These were relationships we had to work for, they weren't just handed to us. Even the top guys have to work for sponsors and will lose them if they don't keep up their end of the deal. It takes work and hustle but the average joe can do it if their willing to put in the work.

Lord knows there are issues with KCBS but I don't think limiting the meat choices for master series events is the solution. They should push more competitor series and backyard contests to lower some of the costs and get more judging opportunities for judges.
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:10 PM   #52
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What do you have in mind for a mini State Fair?
What if there was a focus on attracting people (non-contestants) to the events so it became more of a "community celebration"? Maybe rides? Maybe grilling demos? Maybe a place for the families to come and picnic. "If you build it, they will come"????

There will always be the guys in their trailers competing...but...what if the KCBS had a goal of celebrating BBQ across America. Creating signature events where communities come together and celebrate all things BBQ.
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:10 PM   #53
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In 2014 KCBS did donate meals from leftover comp food. I think it was "100,000 Meals" or something like that. Next year they did "250,000 Meals" Not sure why it didn't continue.


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I LOVE this idea and wish there was an easy "across the board" solution to it. I would think that at times the hurdles are put in place by health departments that need to protect the public from poorly prepared food. It seems unlikely that they would allow each cook to donate food without being "inspected" at every contest.

Now if the chopped meat was donated to a charity that has an approved kitchen and could re-heat it to safe temps, that might work. How great would it be to see KCBS take the lead on teaming up with a national charity that could take over the nuts and bolts end of this solution?
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:14 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by pharp View Post
Just a couple of thoughts from one of those teams contributing to the drop off.

I have seen several comparisons to SCA and why KCBS would be better off providing the meat. I am sure pretty much everyone would support the contest providing the meat if it worked like SCA. Everyone gets to snake through the line and select 4 SRF briskets and there are 15 of them left on the table when the picking is done. I don't see many contests being able to sustain doing this, so instead what happens is people are at risk to get a bad selection. Also, a lot of people talk about making them more fun...What the hell is less fun than having to trim your Chicken onsite in August?

So to circle back to one of the original questions what might generate interest/excitement to grow the sport? I have lots of ideas but since nobody asked for them I will only share one

I think there should be a rib cookoff attached to every KCBS contest. If you cook the rib cookoff you can't cook the full comp. Local organizers can push this hard to the community (maybe in places where it is prohibited these rib cookoff folks could sample their extra ribs for a peoples choice, sell tickets, whatever). Local people wanting to kick their neighbors ass in a rib cookoff would probably be more willing/excited for people's choice than your average KCBS team. Do the rib awards right before the main awards so they feel like part of the winning. Maybe some of those rib samplers will stick around to see who wins the KCBS...maybe some of the rib cooks will catch the bug and become a point chasing team. Small entry fee, one day commitment, community involvement, and increased exposure.

I love the idea of "requiring" or high suggesting organizers. Offer incentives that make almost a no-brainer to include it. I do think it would bring more in for entry-level competition. I love the idea of doing the awards at the same time as the Master Series.
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:28 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by Jousting Pigs View Post
I'd pay to see a contest where Travis, Tim, Brad, and Darren all use commodity pork and choice grade briskets while everyone else uses A9, SRF, and Duroc... I'd still put my money on those guys vs the field. Can't wait to see the excuses after that contest.

Many competitive hobbies are expensive (fishing, shooting, etc), it sucks but thats nature of the beast. Once prize money and sponsorships get involved it is hard to break into the upper levels and everyone is looking for that advantage. We would offset the expense by selling leftovers to friends and family and using them at home reducing our family grocery budget. Save all the trimmings to use for sausage and burgers. It is still an expensive hobby but there are ways to offset the cost. We would also do some catering on the side to help pay for competing. We were able to get a few businesses to sponsor us along the way and we're nobodies. We also got to know a local butcher who would let us pick through briskets, butts, and ribs to find exactly what we wanted. These were relationships we had to work for, they weren't just handed to us. Even the top guys have to work for sponsors and will lose them if they don't keep up their end of the deal. It takes work and hustle but the average joe can do it if their willing to put in the work.

Lord knows there are issues with KCBS but I don't think limiting the meat choices for master series events is the solution. They should push more competitor series and backyard contests to lower some of the costs and get more judging opportunities for judges.
Well said.

What if the "prizes" for non-Master events were gift cards for "top-level" meat? What you won 200 dollars AND a 500 dollar gift card to SRF? Wouldn't that help everyone involved?
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:06 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Jousting Pigs View Post
I'd pay to see a contest where Travis, Tim, Brad, and Darren all use commodity pork and choice grade briskets while everyone else uses A9, SRF, and Duroc... I'd still put my money on those guys vs the field. Can't wait to see the excuses after that contest.

Many competitive hobbies are expensive (fishing, shooting, etc), it sucks but thats nature of the beast. Once prize money and sponsorships get involved it is hard to break into the upper levels and everyone is looking for that advantage. We would offset the expense by selling leftovers to friends and family and using them at home reducing our family grocery budget. Save all the trimmings to use for sausage and burgers. It is still an expensive hobby but there are ways to offset the cost. We would also do some catering on the side to help pay for competing. We were able to get a few businesses to sponsor us along the way and we're nobodies. We also got to know a local butcher who would let us pick through briskets, butts, and ribs to find exactly what we wanted. These were relationships we had to work for, they weren't just handed to us. Even the top guys have to work for sponsors and will lose them if they don't keep up their end of the deal. It takes work and hustle but the average joe can do it if their willing to put in the work.

Lord knows there are issues with KCBS but I don't think limiting the meat choices for master series events is the solution. They should push more competitor series and backyard contests to lower some of the costs and get more judging opportunities for judges.

Ridiculous. If the comp provided the meat those guys would stand no chance!!
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:08 PM   #57
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I used to think KCBS was the $hit...until I took their judging class a few years back...now I know why the judging is all over the place and no longer cook KCBS events with the exception of one that a good friend organizes each year.
Too many "my way or the highway" folks that are looking for one thing...when they don't get it they mark low. If it ain't like this it ain't good bbq...
Fix the damned judging!

Level the playing field...

I'd like to see more meat provided competitions ala King of the Smoker format. All teams provided the same quality of meat via a random draw. No SRF Gold or A9 brisket...no Duroc pork...just simple commodity choice meats. Let the skill of the Pitmasters determine who's the best...
Judging doesn't seem that inconsistent to me. If you pull up results from a given contest you are rarely surprised at the names of the teams at the top of the list.
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Old 08-16-2019, 03:14 PM   #58
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Judging doesn't seem that inconsistent to me. If you pull up results from a given contest you are rarely surprised at the names of the teams at the top of the list.
Good point. I would agree. In my region it's the same names that always seem to float to the top.
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Old 08-16-2019, 03:26 PM   #59
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Judging doesn't seem that inconsistent to me. If you pull up results from a given contest you are rarely surprised at the names of the teams at the top of the list.
I call Bullchit….I will use this contest 2 weeks ago as a sample.

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Old 08-16-2019, 03:27 PM   #60
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As a newish team with 13 comps under our belts over the past 4 years I would say our biggest frustration is the lack of feed back from the judging process. We almost completely quit after about 4 or 6 comps because we couldn't figure out what the judges wanted and the very little amount of comment cards we got were mostly useless and in a lot of cases contradicting themselves.



I have talked to a couple of teams who no longer compete just for this reason. They do a few comps and work hard at improving, but still never see the scores improve and they just give-up. They just don't know how to improve and unless you are cooking a lot contests you can't really experiment to find that winning combo of flavors that consistently score well.


The reason why my team still competes is we are strong A type personalities and don't quit just because we lose. We have said multiple times on the long rides home that once we do well at one of these comps we will quit. I hoping when that time comes it will fuel our fire to do even better.



Again this goes back to our strong type A, I want to compete against the best, I don't want to win some in some lower division just to get a pat on the back.
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