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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 05-09-2012, 06:08 AM   #16
Curly Tails
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I think cooking classes are a great way to shorten your learning curve. Don't be stubborn , or you will be like us and spend a lot more money trying to figure it out. It will help if the class you take uses the same cooker that your team uses. I don't believe you can duplicate another teams success by using their exact recipe and method. Take bits and pieces and modify it to your style and you will have no doubt that a good class is worth taking. I personally think that you if you learn something that gets you a call in just one category that you struggle in, then the class is worth it. Hope this helps, and good luck.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:09 AM   #17
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Nither apply to me, but that has never stopped me from commenting.

To Prideful I guess.

I so often see the people that put on the class turn around and say...see Bubba just took my class and got XYZ Championship...as if Bubba had nothing to do with it. Not saying that is wrong, I would probably do the same thing.

I dont want to be beholding or have someone have that over me...Have not had a lot of success, but what I have I can at least say was all mine. Self taught and learned on my own and I dont have to say I learned it from anyone else!
I felt this way for a while too. I took Scottie's class a few years ago and it really helped me. Not so much in recipes, but just a few lightbulbs that went off....a couple of "now why didn't I realize that sooner" moments. Scottie is the first to tell me at a comp that I'm doing this or that wrong (in fun) because I do things the way they work for me.

I definitely recommend taking a class and, like others have said, do it after you have a basic understanding of how comps works.

Look at golf - PGA players have several coaches, a caddy, sports psychologist, etc....that doesn't make them beholden to those that help them, they are just fine tuning their game. They already know how to play and are just looking for tips to take them to the next level.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:09 AM   #18
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I don't see anything wrong with it, just haven't gotten around to it myself. I do remember one team that took the "old school/new school class" that used to be offered by Johnny Trig and Rod Gray. Thier first comp after the class, they got no calls, and quit competing shortly after that.

I think the thing to bear in mind is that no class, however good, is going to be a "silver bullet. But I have to think that when consistent winners like Johnny, Rod, Scottie, Mike Q, etc. share info like this, it's worth the cost of admission. I know Pat (Brew-B-Q) got his first GC after one, and pulled off a 1st place brisket at the Jack last year. And you only need to look around a little here to find what folks said about the recent class Rythym and Que's (sorry if I didn't show or spell it right) put on.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:12 AM   #19
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Classes pay for themselves quickly. Don't expect to do exactly what is taught. Take process and flavor ideas and apply them to your cooking method. I kept hearing about flavor intensity but until I took a class and saw first hand what it meant I just didn't get it. After taking the class plan on 8 - 10 practice cooks to get the changes you make work for you.

Of course you can really shorten the learning curve by buying a Jambo before taking Rod's class and just doing what he does.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:34 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Bentley View Post
Nither apply to me, but that has never stopped me from commenting.

To Prideful I guess.

I so often see the people that put on the class turn around and say...see Bubba just took my class and got XYZ Championship...as if Bubba had nothing to do with it. Not saying that is wrong, I would probably do the same thing.

I dont want to be beholding or have someone have that over me...Have not had a lot of success, but what I have I can at least say was all mine. Self taught and learned on my own and I dont have to say I learned it from anyone else!
Is it really that much different in pouring over brethren reading and learning tips and tricks off of here? You are still learning what to do and what not to do you just didn't pay for it.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:35 AM   #21
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I took a class in 2004, Dr. BBQ's, and it was great.. Took Rod and Johnny's in 2007 and it was also great. Ever since then, I've been trying to figure out how to try to be a step ahead of all the 100's of people who've taken all the newer classes. Ain't easy. Remember, if you take a class, and you go to a contest, I'd say an easy third there have taken classes too. Therefore, you're kind of back to square one. Whatever you learn in a class, you have to first make it work for you, at least parts of it, then you have to try to figure out what it takes to beat it. It ain't a cure-all to just take a class and expect to get calls.. Oh, then there's luck too.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:01 AM   #22
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Based on my own experience, I'd say to do a few more comps prior to taking a class unless you already have very specific questions/concerns about something. You might not get as much as you would like out of it if you just go in there looking for general knowledge.

I am one of those people who took xyz class and got a grand the next comp that I cooked. I do think, however, that if I did not have a good base of comp cooking and specific things that I wanted to learn, that I probably would have just wound up confused and frustrated. I could have seen myself trying to revamp what I was doing instead of just tweaking a couple of things to find tune what I was already doing.

I had come close to pulling a GC a couple of times prior, but never seemed to quite put it all together. I think the class gave me the couple of little things I was looking for to push me over the line.

Good luck with the decision. As others have already mentioned, just don't look at the class as any guarantee of success.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:40 AM   #23
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Hey Shane, The advice and ideas above are all good. I'll share what I'd do if I were in your shoes. Phat Jack's walked in every category and took GC at the Honky Tonk. I'd shoot him an email or give him a call and ask if he'd be willing to visit about how he got to this point at his young age. I suppose a lot of it has to do with his BBQ restaurant and the fact that he's Que'ing every day. That right there is a good hint.. Practice, practice, practice.... Competing in a few more comps and practicing whenever you can sounds like a good start. Then, if needed, consider a class or two to refine your skills. YMMV... Cheers, and good luck at your next comp!!!
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:55 AM   #24
Rich Parker
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I took Scottie's class before my first competition and don't think there was anything wrong with doing it prior to competing. He cooks on FE's, and I cook on drums so I didn't try to reproduce what he does but take his pointers and apply them to my techniques. It took me 3 comps to get a return on that investment.

At the end of my first season, I took Todd and Dave's Plowboy/Butcher class and did the same thing applied there pointers to my techniques.

From the people I talk to that regret taking a class it is usually because they are trying to reproduce everything exactly as the instructor did. With all of the different variables you can't do it exactly and have it taste the same.

If you can get to Chicago this Winter, Scottie's class is well worth the expense by helping fight cancer, the best goody bags, and top notch catered food. If he fires up the Jambo this Winter, I might be going for a refresher.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:56 AM   #25
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I am very new to competition BBQ and I am going to share my line of thinking and let those who truly know correct me if I am off base. To me it all comes down to what you want out of competition BBQ. What are "you" wanting to get out of it? If you are serious about being good, then you have to evaluate all options. For me, while I absolutely love the camaraderie, I want to win.

I know I make awesome BBQ for friends and family that have them singing my praises after they taste it. However, competition BBQ is "beautiful one bite BBQ" and through that presentation and single bite I know I must wow the judges. Eating a half rack of competition ribs isn't my cup of tea. I guess my point here is that competition BBQ isn't backyard BBQ and just because you may not be a winner on the circuit doesn't mean you don't cook great BBQ.

If your goal is to cook winning BBQ, which mine is, then you must do whatever it takes to (within your means) to get there. Many professional athletes hire private coaches on their own to help them with a weakness in order to get better. If I determine I am not progressing at the level I want and not seeing the results I want, I plan on doing what it takes to get there. When you think about it, a $500 class is about the same investment as a single contest and maybe even less. If I don't make the progress I am looking for after a few more comps, I will be looking for the right class to get me on track. I have faith in my ability to cook good BBQ but I can't say I know what will wow the judges with that "beautiful one bite BBQ". Obviously, some of the guys have that figured out as their results show it week after week. Since they have the knowledge that I want, I can either spend thousands of dollars week after week trying to discover the secret or I can spend $500 to $750 and get it much more quickly and cheaper.

As I said earlier, I do love the camaraderie but I can spend a lot less money drinking and having fun with my friends than doing it at a BBQ competition. I'm there to win and if I need help getting a jump, I will gladly do it with no guilt or shame.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:09 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brew-B-Q View Post
I felt this way for a while too. I took Scottie's class a few years ago and it really helped me. Not so much in recipes, but just a few lightbulbs that went off....a couple of "now why didn't I realize that sooner" moments. Scottie is the first to tell me at a comp that I'm doing this or that wrong (in fun) because I do things the way they work for me.

I'm the first to give you grief and then you beat my ass the next day. No more Jack Silver for you at 2:00 am at a contest!!! ;)

I am also the first to help out as well. Many a student trailer or camp I have gone in and helped. Heck I do it for folks that don't take the class. Obviously for my foundation is better to have folks come to the class.

And nothing better than helping folks with a recipe or tricks and they go out and win. I'm not in to bragging about students and their success. Unless they have told folks they came to the class. Not for me to divulge .. But it does make me smile when they do good. I personally feel that a class is worth it. It shortens the learning curve and it opens your eyes to new flavors or techniques.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:11 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bourbon Barrel BBQ View Post
Is it really that much different in pouring over brethren reading and learning tips and tricks off of here? You are still learning what to do and what not to do you just didn't pay for it.

For some maybe, but not me.

I did not come here for competition advice. When I was invited to the site in 2007 by BigMista, I had already been comepeting for 4 years and had two Grand Championships under my belt.

I am sure many have gathered much info from the site for competitions, I have not and it is not the reason I joined...
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:33 PM   #28
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Check out what kind of class is being given, basic, advanced or competition. The thing that I believe helps the most in competition is to check to see if you have any 'backyard' competitions in your area where you present your turn-ins to a table of CBJ's who judge them in an open forum. In our area we have two or three of these early in the competition year for newer teams or experienced teams who want to see how their new rubs, sauces etc. are received by the judges. It also gives judges a chance to see how their scores match up with the other judges on the table.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:35 PM   #29
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Nothing wrong with taking a class! One thing I didn't see mentioned (or maybe I missed it) is being a judge. One of the best bang for money spent is judging in my opinion! You get to see alot of what others are doing, taste profiles, etc. Want to get better at bbq - be a judge!
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:45 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Rich Parker View Post

If you can get to Chicago this Winter, Scottie's class is well worth the expense by helping fight cancer, the best goody bags, and top notch catered food. If he fires up the Jambo this Winter, I might be going for a refresher.

Had the Jambo cranked up this year, along with the FE. Just so happens... ;)

The 4 classes that we have done the last few years have cleared over $70,000 for cancer research. They are an all volunteer class for the instructors and assistants. While I love seeing students excel at contests, I am really proud that we have taught that many students and more importantly have raised a **** load of money to help fight cancer.

I'll save you a seat Rich. Returning students get to sit in the front row... ;)
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