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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 04-13-2011, 10:39 AM   #1
Got rid of the matchlight.
Join Date: 04-12-11
Location: Cumming, GA
Question Rub Question

new to the board and new to competition cooking - will be entering our first contest in the backyard braggarts division @ the Brenau BBQ Comp in Gainesville, GA in May - MBN Sanctioned. Already read a ton here and learned things I never would have thought of.

it seems like from reading here, most competitors use a commercial rub instead of a homemade one. Is that so? would i be behind the curve if i use a home-made one for ribs?


Cumming, GA
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:55 AM   #2
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First off, good luck with your first competition..

I use home made combinations, that way you can be as creative as you want, experiment, cook alot at home, & find the one that you find the best. Sauce is key, the last layer to success
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:45 AM   #3
Lake Dogs
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First,welcome to the board.

Second, best of luck.

Third, I know most of the judges that will be there, personally. The open division will filled with mostly CBJ's from MIM/MBN; a few guests who'll be instructed on MBN style judging.

Also note that most bbq-brethren compete here in KCBS; very few in MBN. They define what is the perfect rib a little differently. Where in KCBS you'll want a bite-through rib, moist and tender, with MBN the rib should pull cleanly from the bone with only a little resistance, also still moist and tender. KCBS you'll cut the ribs into individual pieces; MBN you'll generally cut them where there are two bones per piece so that they can pull them apart.

KCBS judges generally expect St Louis Spares; MBN judges generally expect Baby Backs.

Also, KCBS judges expect sauced ribs. MBN there's probably 50 percent that sauce ribs, 50% that dont. If your ribs are better sauced, then sauce them. However, if you have great Memphis style ribs (no sauce), then go without sauce.

As to rubs, go with what you prefer. Actually on MBN I'm not certain if many actually compete with straight-up store bought rubs. They mix and match them, but not straight up. When we compete in MBN we use our own rubs completely.

Best of luck!!! I may actually be there as a judge... We'll car-pool. 50%+ of the judges are from the Milledgeville / Lake Sinclair area.
Hance - Lake Dogs Cooking Team - MiM/MBN/GBA CBJ and comp cook
Lake Sinclair, GA (strategically about an hour from darn near anywhere)
Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.

Last edited by Lake Dogs; 04-13-2011 at 02:06 PM..
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:33 PM   #4
Southern Home Boy
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We only use the stuff we make ourselves. That was actually why we got into competitive BBQ in the first place: we wanted to see how our stuff stacked up against what the best were using.
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:59 PM   #5
Hogtie N' Ride
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Default Do what makes your food taste the best.

We mostly use our own rubs that we developed starting with basic ingredients from book recipes. We layer flavors by using multiple rubs, some commercially available. We have also experimented with a freind's rub who has done well competing.

The bottom line is to do what makes your food taste the best.

Good Luck!
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:10 PM   #6
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very cool that you're jumping into all this... and you're gonna get tons of advice from some great people out there. I'm a total rookie out here as well and video-ing my journey so check out the pain and agony of what I'm going through..

Go with what you think is best and in time you will adjust what is best based on what you learn. I started off with my own rubs and I'm on the 8th or 9th generation recipes and recently have "cut-in" purchased rubs as well and I'm very excited about the final taste profile they are delivering. Time will tell and as we learn we change and modify.

God bless ya out there.
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United Competition BBQ League
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:48 PM   #7
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Congrats on your first Comp.
We make our own rub (Nightshade), it took a while to develop it so we've stuck with it. If you plan to make your own, be conscious of how it pairs with the sauces you might use. There is a balance that must be maintained between the 2 (IMHO).
Remember there's no shame in using an off the shelf rub, many folks win with those tested rubs.
Good luck!
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Old 04-13-2011, 05:19 PM   #8
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Right now I am using my own rub on Brisket and Pork. I have one for each.

On chicken and ribs I am using a blend of two commercial rubs.
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:29 AM   #9
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Go with what you think will taste best (if your goal is to win). There's no reason not to try "rolling your own" if you think it's tasty. Backyard competition at an MBN contest is very loosey-goosey, anyway -- I've done it several times because its fun. Enjoy!
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