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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 08-29-2019, 04:40 PM   #166
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Originally Posted by SmoothBoarBBQ View Post
This thread is interesting and reading it so far it's pretty obvious why KCBS can't make any real changes : people are set in their ways and they don't want any changes. The Pro teams out there already know how to win, so why would they want any changes which would hamper their odds and possibly tilt the scale in the favor of others? Quite a few posters in here came out "guns blazing" against just about any and all changes suggested.

Anyways, I didn't see it suggested in this thread, so I'll place it here as I feel like this could help to open things up for new teams :

A while back Harry Soo did a video where they were at an event and there were certified judges who would eat your food in front of you and give you instant feed back. For teams who are just starting out that could be a "game changer" for them. I've done 5 contests and the feedback from judges leaves a lot to be desired. I've gotten a few comment cards and for the most part they lack any real critique. It's tough to spend the kind of money a contest requires when you're doing something wrong, but you've got no real means of knowing what that wrong thing is.

I'm just curious if KCBS would think about incorporating these things into some contests to help lure in new teams and allow them to get some feedback before they drop a lot of money on entry fees. It would allow them to test the waters and see if KCBS BBQ is really something they want to compete in. I enjoy going to contests and competing mostly because of the people I've met. I feel if people can get out there and not have to drop so much money, they might get pulled into the community and have a much more positive experience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ld1A_dPwsw8

Also, kind of a small note, but the KCBS website / Competition search tool is kind of hard to use and not very "information friendly" for newcomers. If you have no idea what's going on and you want to enter your 1st KCBS contest the website doesn't really help much. I see lots of things like "State Championship"...it doesn't really explain what that means and it makes it seem like that's a very prestigious contest which a newcomer might not even be able to attend. Seeing an event say "Master Series" would generally make me think that it's not open to anybody beyond the Pros. There is nothing detailing the difference between a Master Series and Competitor Series competition. Even looking at the FAQ section imagine if you were a newcomer...these don't answer any questions a newcomer would likely have.

I only bring this up because I had no clue what I was doing when I first decided to give competition BBQ a shot. I checked out the KCBS.US website and it has very little information which is easily accessible for newcomers. LOTS of discussion in this thread is about newcomers, and I still feel like I'm in that category.
Great thoughts here. Thanks for sharing.

I agree. The event featured in the video seems like an amazing way to help both teams and judges.

The KCBS Web site is confusing, even if you are experienced. What if they were to start a Web site JUST to raise awareness, fun and involvement? For example, www.newtobbq.com. Teach. Have fun. Then transition to comps. Just an idea.
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Old 08-29-2019, 04:44 PM   #167
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I will start by saying I love to compete. It is always a fun weekend and we meet great people. If we didn't start competing 3 years ago we wouldn't have our catering company/side hustle and it was a great learning experience for us to cook some pretty good Que.

Have to agree with the above. This is a Professional circuit. Have to pay to play here and it's up to the team to decide if that's worth it. Unfortunately, for us and a lot of other teams the time and cost it's going to take to finally be competitive outweighs the reward of winning. It stinks. Competition is really fun. But, they shouldn't be surprised when contests can barely get 20 teams with the cost. This year alone in the Facebook groups I've seen multiple contests cancelled here in the Northeast or the organizers begging for teams.

In regards to the "One Bite BBQ." I can't fault KCBS and the top teams for creating/wanting the highest level of professional competition and creating the best bite possible as that's how it should be. Professional athletes aren't playing with cheap equipment or eating Kraft Mac N' Cheese every day. Neither should top KCBS teams use Home Depot smokers and Select briskets. But, I agree with you that the one bite served shouldn't have to have taken steroids. Putting a cap on meat quality will never happen. If someone wants to pay for it they should be able to. But, maybe they can put restrictions on the use of "enhancers" and get back to serving good Ol' Fashioned BBQ. However, i don't see that happening anytime soon either. It's what sets comp Que apart from backyard.
Thanks for your thoughts. Maybe the system is "fixing itself"??? We see the cost to compete going up and up and the number of teams competing going down and contests folding. But, will the system adjust?

The change in what scores well must come from the judges. If teams start getting 6s and 7s with comment cards filled out saying "Tastes too much like roast beef and not brisket"...then...they will adjust if they want to get back to 9s.
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Old 08-29-2019, 04:56 PM   #168
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Here are some thoughts. First, many consider some of the top teams in KCBS as pros because of their success and that is fair. I'd even go so far as to say that any Master Series event is at least semi-pro level, even though a majority of the cook teams do it as a hobby. How many of the judges are professional or semi-pro judges? None! They are all volunteer judges. I'm not bashing judges. They do their job as it is presented to them but KCBS has created this system. As a cook, we have rules and regulations that must be followed, even though most are almost impossible to enforce. Nonetheless, we have rules. If we turn in the wrong garnish or a foreign object, we get disqualified. If we don't turn in enough pieces, we are marked down. Judges don't have rules. They have some guidelines but if they don't follow those guidelines, there is no consequence to them. The Reps are there to make sure cooks follow the rules but they don't have a way to ensure judges follow guidelines.

How can you consider this a professional competition when you have volunteer judges, with no accountability, who determine the outcome? Some have compared competition BBQ to other sports, like racing or poker. The difference is that those sports have some sort of professional or semi-pro people who oversee the sport. You don't go to a race and they ask for a volunteer out of the stands to be in charge of lining up the cars and being flagman. They have people who are trained to do the job and if they don't do it properly, they get fired. That is not the case in BBQ. To be a judge and determine the outcome of an event, you only need to pay your dues. If you apply your own criteria to the judging process, there is no accountability. Maybe some get flagged from individual events but if they pay their dues, they can sign up to judge any other event they wish.

Until KCBS is ready to address a standard for judging, it will continue to have the outcome determined by volunteers who have no accountability. I don't call that professional.
Would you suggest paid judges?
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Old 08-29-2019, 10:38 PM   #169
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We know some teams are not entering some contest for fear of the big dogs
Separate divisions have been discussed. But will the market actually support multiple more contest?

Here is an out of the box idea

What if each contest was actually two tiered

Those with prior GC were Elite
Those without were Pro

Category calls and RGC remain the same, but there is an Elite GC and a Pro GC. Money comes from the split of existing GC money. Once you get a GC, you are now Elite.

I see this as a way to retain and grow new teams because at every contest a new GC is created and moves up. Every non GC team feels they actually have a chance. Should a Pro team GC and beat all the elites, then they take the full GC money available
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Old 08-29-2019, 10:43 PM   #170
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Originally Posted by Blanton View Post
We know some teams are not entering some contest for fear of the big dogs
Separate divisions have been discussed. But will the market actually support multiple more contest?

Here is an out of the box idea

What if each contest was actually two tiered

Those with prior GC were Elite
Those without were Pro

Category calls and RGC remain the same, but there is an Elite GC and a Pro GC. Money comes from the split of existing GC money. Once you get a GC, you are now Elite.

I see this as a way to retain and grow new teams because at every contest a new GC is created and moves up. Every non GC team feels they actually have a chance. Should a Pro team GC and beat all the elites, then they take the full GC money available
I don't think Elite teams would be happy to not be able to get the whole prize money where a Pro GC has the chance to get all the money. I could be wrong but that would piss me off if I were in their position.
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Old 08-30-2019, 09:52 AM   #171
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Originally Posted by Michigan BBQ Fan View Post
Thanks for your thoughts. Maybe the system is "fixing itself"??? We see the cost to compete going up and up and the number of teams competing going down and contests folding. But, will the system adjust?

The change in what scores well must come from the judges. If teams start getting 6s and 7s with comment cards filled out saying "Tastes too much like roast beef and not brisket"...then...they will adjust if they want to get back to 9s.
What costs are actually going up in competition BBQ? Over the last 5 years, what costs have increased any considerable amount? SRF has been the same price on briskets for quite some time now. I've had the same budget per contest for years. The only thing that's changed for me is my fuel bill cooking more comps farther from home. Am I missing something?
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Old 08-30-2019, 10:45 AM   #172
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What costs are actually going up in competition BBQ? Over the last 5 years, what costs have increased any considerable amount? SRF has been the same price on briskets for quite some time now. I've had the same budget per contest for years. The only thing that's changed for me is my fuel bill cooking more comps farther from home. Am I missing something?
The only way to reduce costs at this point, imo, is lowering entrance fees. You do that, prize pools, which are already too small, go down. And even then, how much are you going to lower them? I rarely pay over $250, and most are $200 and down. Even if you cut them in half, you're talking $100ish dollars? That won't realistically get anyone else involved.

What needs to be done is to find a way to up the value proposition. People say it's about it being too expensive, but it's really not. It's about people not feeling they're getting value for the money they're spending. People find a way to spend what they need to (generally speaking) if they think that it's good value/deal.

There's a lot of ways to increase perceived value at contests. One is paying deeper in fields. A contest with 70 teams paying only the top 5 is silly. Another is larger prize pools to increase ROI when these new teams have a good cook. The first time we came out ahead on a contest was an amazing feeling.

Outside of payouts, you could have a Friday night Pot Luck. Ask every team that wants to participate to bring a side dish, and find a source for a main dish. This wouldn't cost much, but encourage more interaction between teams, and increase the comradarie for some of the newer teams who may not know other teams as well.

There are other options that aren't expensive that can work. At the end of the day, the expense side of things isn't a money issue. It's a value issue for teams. Increase the value proposition and you'll increase participation.
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Old 08-30-2019, 10:50 AM   #173
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Has anybody ever looked at how much it costs organizers to pay for reps at a contest? Don't know if thats an issue but I've heard stories of what reps charge back to organizers, and if true, I can see where that could be an area to look at.
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Old 08-30-2019, 10:50 AM   #174
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I don't think Elite teams would be happy to not be able to get the whole prize money where a Pro GC has the chance to get all the money. I could be wrong but that would piss me off if I were in their position.
^^^This^^^

This would be another way to dilute the competition arena for the "elite" teams.

What happened to this world? In a competition, there are winners and there are losers. The losers that want to be winners should continue to work harder to get to where they want to go. The best lessons are learned from our failures.

When we started, we thought we had a good product and learned quickly that there is a BIG difference between a good product and what will win a competition. We had a little success here and there, but we continued to work and learn and stick around. This year you can say we have had a breakout year. We are still learning and hope to one day be a team that others want to emulate. We are always open to helping out new teams, but we aren't going to walk into someone's space and ask if they want advice. New teams, struggling teams, seasoned teams looking to move to the next level need to take initiative to get where they want to go. Don't know where to start? Just ask someone. We have always enjoyed competing against the "big dogs" and we have even beaten them on occasion in a category, but we learned that consistency is what wins and constantly learning and tweaking will get you there.

If you don't have the money to compete, then don't. If you don't want to put in the time others have to consistently do well, then don't. Cooking in your back yard for friends and family is a great way to enjoy barbeque. If you just want to have some bragging rights with friends, host a friendly "cookoff" in your backyard.

There are more "elite" teams that are doing things to give back to bbq than any others. There are videos, classes, community outreach, demos at events done by teams that have done well that help raise awareness for the hobby. They also will help a new or struggling team with a tip here and there if you ask and not demand.

The KCBS is the Kansas City Barbeque Society and not the Kansas City Barbeque Circuit. The KCBS should be focused on awareness and passion of all things bbq, and not just about raising awareness for bbq competitions. There are other ways to get people excited about being part of the KCBS.
Getting some real videos and making them accessible to members only is a great way to start.

As far as the competition world, KCBS has started down the path to help with the judging inconsistencies. Taste buds and opinions aren't perfect, but creating a system to standardize things that can be is a great start.
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Old 08-30-2019, 11:00 AM   #175
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^^^This^^^

This would be another way to dilute the competition arena for the "elite" teams.

What happened to this world? In a competition, there are winners and there are losers. The losers that want to be winners should continue to work harder to get to where they want to go. The best lessons are learned from our failures.
Everyone gets a trophy.



It's sad. It really is. Was at a comp last weekend and they gave medals to every kid for kids Q before they even announced the winners. That's what we are teaching the young generations and what breeds entitlement mentality. If it were my kid, the medal would have been immediately thrown in the trash and told if you want a trophy, go earn it. There are winners and losers at every competition. if you want to win put in the work. No matter how good you are, you don't win every time. Losing is what fuels the drive to get better but it doesn't get a trophy.
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Old 08-30-2019, 11:34 AM   #176
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Well said. Did you ever follow up and see why action wasn't taken?
I followed up the next year (maybe two years) and had basically the same response. Maybe I'm wrong, but to me, KCBS has done almost nothing to actually grow competition bbq. I would think most organizations that see continue membership decline month after month would try to do something to get new people involved.
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Old 08-30-2019, 11:59 AM   #177
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Everyone gets a trophy.



It's sad. It really is. Was at a comp last weekend and they gave medals to every kid for kids Q before they even announced the winners. That's what we are teaching the young generations and what breeds entitlement mentality. If it were my kid, the medal would have been immediately thrown in the trash and told if you want a trophy, go earn it. There are winners and losers at every competition. if you want to win put in the work. No matter how good you are, you don't win every time. Losing is what fuels the drive to get better but it doesn't get a trophy.
I wouldn't do that to my kids. My kids are young though and Tommy, my 5 year old wouldn't get it. He would be upset if we threw something of his out like that. I would skip entering him in a KidsQ like that though.
We cooked an SCA event last November. Tommy was helping us and we got beat. At least it wasn't last place. He was a bit upset to lose. So took him aside and explained some days you lose. Its ok to lose. I explained the other people worked harder. It happens. It just means they out worked us. If we want a trophy we have to work harder. He was ok after that. Got him to clap for the winners and told him we are supposed to be good losers. I think kids can handle losing better if we explain that its ok to lose so long as you learn from it. We don't have to give everyone a trophy and they can be just fine and still have a great day. Tommy still had fun even though we lost.
Its to bad things have kept us from cooking this year. Hopefully can get him out next year for some SCA events.
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Old 08-30-2019, 03:08 PM   #178
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When we started, we thought we had a good product and learned quickly that there is a BIG difference between a good product and what will win a competition.
YES!!!

I don't know how many times we have looked at each other and said, "I don't know how to make better Chicken/Ribs/pork/brisket than that." Then, a year later, through testing and work and perseverance, guess what? That product from a year ago we'd rather throw in the trash than turn in. There's not a competitive endeavor out there that you can just walk in and expect to do well. It always takes a while to get up to speed, and some never do.
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Old 08-30-2019, 03:31 PM   #179
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We are always open to helping out new teams, but we aren't going to walk into someone's space and ask if they want advice. New teams, struggling teams, seasoned teams looking to move to the next level need to take initiative to get where they want to go. Don't know where to start? Just ask someone.
This is exactly what people need to do. I'm still new, have only done 4 competitions, and learned a lot of what I do via the internet and 1 team that I know locally. My first couple of competitions I just felt I was the "new guy" and kept to myself for the mostpart, other than talking to the couple of teams around me. 3rd comp I was a little more outgoing and met a few new teams and some great people, but was still gun shy about approaching the "elite" teams. My last competition I walked up and introduced myself to Joe from Slaps and he couldn't have been a nicer guy to chat for a few minutes. After that introduced myself to Richard Fergola and found out he actually taught/coached in my hometown for a few years after I graduated high school, again couldn't have been a nicer guy. At awards I plopped right down next to the couple with Tebo Creek and they were great. I can see some new teams being somewhat intimidated, but you are 100% on point...you will meet some of the nicest, helpful, down to earth people at these events if you just put yourself out there!
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Old 08-30-2019, 09:54 PM   #180
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^^^This^^^

This would be another way to dilute the competition arena for the "elite" teams.

What happened to this world? In a competition, there are winners and there are losers. The losers that want to be winners should continue to work harder to get to where they want to go. The best lessons are learned from our failures.

When we started, we thought we had a good product and learned quickly that there is a BIG difference between a good product and what will win a competition. We had a little success here and there, but we continued to work and learn and stick around. This year you can say we have had a breakout year. We are still learning and hope to one day be a team that others want to emulate. We are always open to helping out new teams, but we aren't going to walk into someone's space and ask if they want advice. New teams, struggling teams, seasoned teams looking to move to the next level need to take initiative to get where they want to go. Don't know where to start? Just ask someone. We have always enjoyed competing against the "big dogs" and we have even beaten them on occasion in a category, but we learned that consistency is what wins and constantly learning and tweaking will get you there.

If you don't have the money to compete, then don't. If you don't want to put in the time others have to consistently do well, then don't. Cooking in your back yard for friends and family is a great way to enjoy barbeque. If you just want to have some bragging rights with friends, host a friendly "cookoff" in your backyard.

There are more "elite" teams that are doing things to give back to bbq than any others. There are videos, classes, community outreach, demos at events done by teams that have done well that help raise awareness for the hobby. They also will help a new or struggling team with a tip here and there if you ask and not demand.

The KCBS is the Kansas City Barbeque Society and not the Kansas City Barbeque Circuit. The KCBS should be focused on awareness and passion of all things bbq, and not just about raising awareness for bbq competitions. There are other ways to get people excited about being part of the KCBS.
Getting some real videos and making them accessible to members only is a great way to start.

As far as the competition world, KCBS has started down the path to help with the judging inconsistencies. Taste buds and opinions aren't perfect, but creating a system to standardize things that can be is a great start.
I could not disagree more. There are levels to everything to say that KCBS is only for teams that want to compete 50 times a year and be "pro's" is ridiculous. I do not expect a "trophy" for showing up. I would like to compete in a contest against teams that like to cook with a similar frequency as me.

20 years ago how many contests did the team of the year do? What about 30? When KCBS started having the backyard and pro made sense. The TOY probably cooked 15 events. It probably took most teams 5 years to break the backyard barrier. Things evolve. There are 12 teams that in a 15 team contest would claim 100% of the top 10 every time. This isn't bad for them or bad for the sport but it is not bringing in or keeping new teams excited.
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