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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 03-06-2011, 02:25 AM   #1
jrbBBQ
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Default Am I Nuts

My first comp is about 3 weeks away. I ordered two WSW 22's and have yet to cook anything on them yet. I have a 13# choice brisket, 2-7# butts, 2 racks of spares and 2 racks of babies, but I'm not sure about chicken yet(it's cheap enough to 'experiment' with.. although I'd take suggestions). I'm starting to get a little nervous and the "fun" of it is wearing off a bit.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 02:39 AM   #2
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That is my practice meats by the way, for comp I plan on doing 2 briskets, 3 butts, 4-6 ribs, and anywhere from a 12-24 of whatever chicken pieces I end up doing. How far off am I?
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Unread 03-06-2011, 03:40 AM   #3
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Yes, you are nuts. But then again, so are the rest of us.

Best advice I can give you is to practice cooking on your WSM's ASAP. Get your temps dialed in on your new cookers and make sure to have fun in 3 weeks.

What contest are you competing at?

Good luck!
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Unread 03-06-2011, 03:52 AM   #4
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My first comp will be Benton, KY. As far as getting temps dialed in.. notes.. ect.. it's looking like i'll be cooking about $600 in meat in the next few weeks I'm gonna try to have some pics up in the next few days to get some feedback. I'm pretty set in my ways on what my idea of pork/brisket should be. Ribs and chicken are confusing me a bit from what I've been reading. I honestly don't know what judges are looking for... even after reading various posts on this forum.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 06:28 AM   #5
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You will also want to work on your time line. Assuming it a KCBS event, you will want to have the chicken, ribs, pork, then brisket in boxes at 1/2 hour intervals.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 07:50 AM   #6
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For competition I cook 2 pork butts from Sam's, 3 BB Ribs from Sam's, 18 free range chicken thighs from Whole Pay Check and 2 prime CAB natural raised briskets. Have always cooked that amount and never have an issue with turn in selection.

Fire up the pits and cook chicken on both levels of both pits to learn the control and hot spots. Also experiment with length of time before opening. On the 18" bottom vents open 1/4 and top open full will last 6 to 8 hours on 10 pounds of charcoal with wood chuncks mixed in. Have not experminted with the 22 so you might want to visit the virtual weber and read. Will usually run out of water in pan before charcoal. Watch that and learn at home.

Most important, feed the neighbors and coworkers and have fun.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 08:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoke'n Ice View Post
For competition I cook 2 pork butts from Sam's, 3 BB Ribs from Sam's, 18 free range chicken thighs from Whole Pay Check and 2 prime CAB natural raised briskets. Have always cooked that amount and never have an issue with turn in selection.
Whole Pay Check? That sounds like all of the stores around here

Anyway... That's how much we cook, too. Sometimes I'll toss in a fourth rack of ribs since it fits.

It sounds like you're doing the right thing in practicing all of the meats. Are you doing a mock competition? If not, do one. Set up in your yard or driveway and do everything exactly as you plan on doing at your first comp, and take notes. As you use stuff, put it in a box or bin, and when you realize that you forgot something and run into the house for it, write it down. Then, after it is all done, adjust your list to include the stuff that you forgot, and take a look at what you actually used vs. what you "brought" with. If you're like the rest of us, you'll have brought way too much stuff :)

Also, do your boxes. You can get 9x9 boxes from a lot of restaurants as to go boxes. practice your garnish (assuming KCBS) and presentation, and then invite a few neighbors over and ask them to be very critical. Yeah, they may not know exactly what to look for, but they can still tell you what looks good or bad to them. Then let them eat some BBQ and give you feedback on that, too.

Most of all... Have fun! You'll meet some great people, and most of them will be willing to help if you need it. If the Reps ask new teams to raise their hand at the cooks meeting, do it. And if they ask for volunteers to mentor the new teams, note who they are and take advantage of that.

Good luck! I hope that we get a chance to meet at a competition later this season!
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Unread 03-06-2011, 09:01 AM   #8
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have a written timeline and a checklist. have a practice run using only stuff from your checklist to see if you got everything. i would not cook more in competition than you practice with as it may throw off your temps and times. it might be worth it to have a wind baffle or some jackets for the wsms in case of weather while cooking over night. practice not only cook times but also cooler times to get everything in on temperature. oh yeah.... try to have some fun!
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Unread 03-06-2011, 02:27 PM   #9
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I'm gonna do a mock competition (kcbs) to get my times down and I actually have about a hundred 9x9 containers thanks to a friend. I looked at some bb ribs while I was sam's and was disappointed in them. They were tiny and I don't think you could have gotten 2 pieces from each one that would have enough meat or be similar in size. As far as the chicken.... I like to cook thighs, but would a breast that is as juicy and flavorful as a proper thigh have a better chance?
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Unread 03-06-2011, 04:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrbBBQ View Post
As far as the chicken.... I like to cook thighs, but would a breast that is as juicy and flavorful as a proper thigh have a better chance?
Yes and no. I would say as long as the breast is cooked perfectly and is still juicy. But being a leaner cut of meat, that "perfect" window is alot smaller than with thighs which are more forgiving. Our team has had some success with breasts, but we also put thighs in the box as well.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 08:23 PM   #11
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Jrbbq, I will be in Benton as well, stop by if you have time. If its your first comp dont hesitate to bug me and ask questions. PM me if i can be any assistance...
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Unread 03-07-2011, 08:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrbBBQ View Post
I'm gonna do a mock competition (kcbs) to get my times down and I actually have about a hundred 9x9 containers thanks to a friend. I looked at some bb ribs while I was sam's and was disappointed in them. They were tiny and I don't think you could have gotten 2 pieces from each one that would have enough meat or be similar in size. As far as the chicken.... I like to cook thighs, but would a breast that is as juicy and flavorful as a proper thigh have a better chance?
If you cook a good thigh, then by all means go with that. There is no
white -> dark meat bias. The perfect thigh could easily tie the perfect
breast. However, getting that breast perfect in the judges hands (15 or
20 minutes after you've taken it off the grill) is VERY tough.

You'd asked earlier about ribs and chicken. More than anything else, know
that if you present it, it's going to be eaten/sampled by a judge. So, dont
present anything that you intended as decoration, etc. For example, if
your chicken is presented with skin, do not expect the judge to remove the
skin. So, if the skin in rubbery, bad news... Also, the judges are looking
for great tasting tender/moist meat. So, for ribs, present whatever works
best for you. They're going to be biting them, so make sure you remove
the membrane. Otherwise, go with what works for you. I would suggest
that you not heavily sauce. The sauce should compliment the flavor of
the meat; not over-power it. Medium to light, or possibly no sauce if
they're great Memphis style works fine. Again, it really gets back to the
basics of tender, moist, flavorful. I did a contest that was MBN a while
back and had a friend do ribs... He was so panic'd that he went with
Memphis style when honestly he didnt do a good Memphis style rib. The
ribs were slammed, because they weren't great. It's really simple: go with
what works for you.

Then, it'll come down to the judges at your table. You can put the same product
in 3 times, land on 3 different tables, and come away with 3 very different sets
of scores. It just happens... Know that you can't please everyone every time.
However, you can turn-off most everyone darned near every time. Think tasty.
Spicy, but not too spicy. Sweet, but not too sweet.
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Unread 03-07-2011, 03:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrbBBQ View Post
That is my practice meats by the way, for comp I plan on doing 2 briskets, 3 butts, 4-6 ribs, and anywhere from a 12-24 of whatever chicken pieces I end up doing. How far off am I?
What is your team name going to be?
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Unread 03-07-2011, 06:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by This Is How We Que It View Post
What is your team name going to be?
The team name is Rural Route BBQ. I just got an e-mail today saying that I was in and the contest if full. It should be a good time!
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Unread 03-08-2011, 04:02 PM   #15
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Just remember to have FUN. We did our first contest last year, 3 of us and did a practice run the weekend before at my house. We tried to keep things organized and ran it like what we thought a real contest would be like with turn in's a half hour apart, etc...boy were we in for a big surprise. First, we all drank way too much the night of the practice...(our alma mater got beat out in Elite Eight that afternoon, so that set the tone going into the overnight cook ) By the next morning, we were all hung over and our turn in times of 11, 11:30, 12 & 12:30 had slipped back to 1, 1:30, 2 & 2:30... It was pretty much a failure practice run and we were all sitting around at 4pm wondering what we had gotten ourselves into...
The comp rolled around the next weekend and we learned from our mistakes, but had fun...and were lucky enough to get a call with our chicken...6th place out of 83 teams...and a respectable 35th overall... Not bad for our first rodeo. We did two other KCBS contests last year and walked with 1st places with ribs in one and brisket at another...We are now officially hooked.
The moral of the story...no matter how bad you think things are going...stick it out...and make sure you have FUN...That is why we do it...right? Best of luck to you!
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