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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 09-29-2011, 03:32 PM   #1
twinsfan
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I'm doing my first competition in nine days, and I need any and all advice. It's a non-KCBS event and I have a feeling it isn't too serious so I don't think there's going to be incredible judges.

I still need to get my hands on a fire extinguisher. When it says fire extinguisher, does it need to have been inspected/under 25 years old?

I feel like with a non-KCBS competition I should make my sauce a little sweeter and my ribs more fall of the bone since I think people who don't have as much tasting/judging experience would fall for those traits more.

With these kind of judges does a smoke ring matter less, the same, or more? I'll be serving them sliced up by single ribs, as usual.

I'm doing my run through Saturday since I don't have any experience with this brand of spares (new supermarket supplier) so I need to make sure they're alright.

Since it's a one-day competition, pre-rubbed ribs are allowed. I figure arrive at 7:30 AM, hopefully have meat inspected by 8, 5 hour cook and thirty minutes of room/rest.

I'm making sure to bring extra rub, sauce on squirt bottles, ribs in a small ice cooler (1 rack for six people), two chairs, a table, the cooker (ECB), plenty of charcoal (Kingsford Blue), wood chunks (cherry, apple, and white oak), fire extinguisher (hopefully from this century), beverages (non-alcoholic of course), tin foil, general purpose tray, munchies/lunch *gasp*... what else?


thanks for helping out a newbie
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Unread 09-29-2011, 04:01 PM   #2
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You're going solo? ...with a ECB? You got guts for sure.
What about sanitation? Water supply?
Plus, you DEFINITELY want a good, recently inspected, fire extinguisher.
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Unread 09-29-2011, 04:53 PM   #3
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No, I have an assistant. And I'm only entering the ribs category so I don't need to bring my Weber also.

It's a six hour competition in the main street of the town. They are supplying A hose and restrooms.
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Unread 09-29-2011, 06:08 PM   #4
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How are they running the turn-ins?

Is it open? Will it be in a styrafoam box? Is garnish allowed? What's the judging criteria?

The key is to not stress out and to have a plan and timeline.

If these are judges off the street, a little more fall off the bone and a bit sweeter may be the way to go.

Have a great time!

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Unread 09-29-2011, 06:15 PM   #5
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Double check the rules on sanitation. Most competitions require at least a 3-bin wash set up (wash, rinse, sanitize) and some will require a separate hand washing station. Also, most require you to wear gloves when handling the food, so a box of food handling gloves should be on the packing list. Also, don't forget tongs or whatever you use to handle the ribs and a nice sharp knife to cut them and cutting boards.
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Unread 09-29-2011, 06:26 PM   #6
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Nope, the competition has a page and a half rules and sanitation is not listed. It's a Harvest fair with a BBQ competition added. Not a huge deal
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Unread 09-29-2011, 06:29 PM   #7
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Comps like then tend to get willy/nilly on judging. Truth is, you never know who you'll get on that table judging nor what type of fun stuff'll happen. I suggest raring back, making a few ribs, slap 'em in the box, eat a few yourself, have a few brews, and hope for the best, but dont over-think it, and dont get bothered if you're DAL.
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Unread 09-29-2011, 06:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinsfan View Post
Nope, the competition has a page and a half rules and sanitation is not listed. It's a Harvest fair with a BBQ competition added. Not a huge deal
it is a huge deal. bring 3 wash tubs for cleaning your equipment.

as far as sweetness, i don't think locals would want any more sweet than KCBS judges...which is pretty darn sweet. but not ONLY sweet.

i would nail your best tenderness and not over/undercook to cater to a particular group.

make sure your fire extinguisher is rated for GREASE.

good luck and take pics.

oh, and 1 rack for six people is waaaay not enough. cook AT LEAST 2, and even that is risky. i'd suggest 4.
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Unread 09-29-2011, 06:35 PM   #9
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good luck
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Unread 09-29-2011, 06:45 PM   #10
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I would cook 3 slabs minimum.
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Unread 09-29-2011, 07:08 PM   #11
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i say go to win! but don't try to alter your cook for the judges. just cook the best ribs you can possibly make and have some fun. cook more than one rack just to be sure you got enough... you're gonna be eating a few too! and a wash station is never a bad idea, even if it's not in the rules. also, why don't you try new london on the 15th of october, it's a new competition and it seems like it's going to be a fun time.
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Unread 09-29-2011, 09:19 PM   #12
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All great advice above! Only thing that I see omitted from above is a canopy to keep you and your gear dry...
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Unread 09-29-2011, 09:47 PM   #13
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Take the advise above and definitely do more than 1 rack.
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Unread 09-30-2011, 06:29 AM   #14
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It's not like I'm an expert, with only 5 comps as a teammate (and only one was non-KCBS) -- but here are some thoughts.

I have to concur -- definitely do more than one slab. There's just too much variability to rely on just one slab.

With no standards, the judging can be all over the map...so don't get hung up on how well you do or don't do. For a rookie, just finishing on-time, with a rib that isn't chewy, is a tremendous accomplishment. Winning happens when you have a good formula, good technique and lots of practice.

Read the rules carefully, and pay particular attention to anything that may DQ you. KCBS rules are very clear, and our non-sanctioned contest had rules that were much more open (including no garnish, which I personally think is more difficult that KCBS garnishing rules -- it is near impossible to turn in a box that doesn't have sloppy sauce marks when there is no garnish).
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Unread 09-30-2011, 10:27 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinsfan View Post
I'm doing my first competition in nine days, and I need any and all advice. It's a non-KCBS event and I have a feeling it isn't too serious so I don't think there's going to be incredible judges.

I still need to get my hands on a fire extinguisher. When it says fire extinguisher, does it need to have been inspected/under 25 years old?

I feel like with a non-KCBS competition I should make my sauce a little sweeter and my ribs more fall of the bone since I think people who don't have as much tasting/judging experience would fall for those traits more.

With these kind of judges does a smoke ring matter less, the same, or more? I'll be serving them sliced up by single ribs, as usual.

I'm doing my run through Saturday since I don't have any experience with this brand of spares (new supermarket supplier) so I need to make sure they're alright.

Since it's a one-day competition, pre-rubbed ribs are allowed. I figure arrive at 7:30 AM, hopefully have meat inspected by 8, 5 hour cook and thirty minutes of room/rest.

I'm making sure to bring extra rub, sauce on squirt bottles, ribs in a small ice cooler (1 rack for six people), two chairs, a table, the cooker (ECB), plenty of charcoal (Kingsford Blue), wood chunks (cherry, apple, and white oak), fire extinguisher (hopefully from this century), beverages (non-alcoholic of course), tin foil, general purpose tray, munchies/lunch *gasp*... what else?


thanks for helping out a newbie
Twins... I love your enthusiasm and I'm jealous that I didn't get into BBQ at your age.

But seriously, so many of your posts are questions about how get around safety and health regulations, what gives? Do you really want to be the guy that burned down his cook site because he bought a 25 year old fire extinguisher and it didn't have any pressure left in it?

I usually cook 3 racks for a competition, that way you have plenty of nice center cuts with straight bones and just in case you get a flare up or hot spot that overcooks one rack, you have two others to select from. The last comp I did I ended up taking 2 ribs each from 3 racks, just to get evenly sized pieces.

I think any judge will be looking for a smoke ring, so cook them the way you always do. If you try to get fancy and change your methods, you are more likely to forget something or fark something up.

Other supplies you might need... thermometers, grill gloves, grill tongs, metal bucket for ashes, paper towels, cutting board, latex/sterile gloves, spray bottle to spritz before closing the clamshell, more than one tray (you'll find a use for them), SHARP knife for cutting the ribs, a canopy for shade (for you and the smoker, depending on how sunny/hot the weather is). Basically make a list of EVERYTHING you use when cooking at home and see if you can bring a portable version of it. Also, a notebook and pen or pencil to track your cook and make notes for how to improve your experience next time.

Good luck brother and have fun!
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