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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 05-09-2012, 09:39 AM   #1
tx_hellraiser
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Default looking to get into competitions need some advice

my family is looking to get into competitions BBQ for chicken ribs brisket. first we are going to do some back yard stuff to get our feet wet for a while. maybe a year or two then move up if we feel like we can compete.


what are some good resources i can look at about getting started BBQ competitions any advice is welcome.

Thanks David
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Unread 05-09-2012, 09:43 AM   #2
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Default Start here

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=15

And use the search bar. Tons of really good info......
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Unread 05-09-2012, 09:46 AM   #3
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My advice is to jump in head first and cook in the "pro" side. Back when we started out in 1996 there weren't any back yard divisions where we cooked. Fortunately we did OK. So, IMHO, back yard is a waste of time because I don't think it proves anything to the cook. Who knows, you win the backyard, you may have won the "pro". Just my two cents.

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Unread 05-09-2012, 09:49 AM   #4
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First, look through the Competition section as suggested above. Also, go to a local competition and talk to the competitors. If there are any Brethren teams there introduce yourself to them and hang out if they will let you and learn as much as you can.

There are also a couple of good books that you can look for. Starting the Fire by George Hensler (A Brethren member) is a good introduction to BBQ competitions. Wicked Good BBQ by Andy Husbands and Chris Hart (Both Brethren) is also very good, but goes beyond competition and has some great recipes for home use).

Finally, if you can fit it into the budget, take a class. You'll pick up a lot of things that take a long time to learn on your own.

BTW, I am going to move this into the Competition section. You'll get more targeted responses there.
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Unread 05-09-2012, 10:58 AM   #5
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The books listed are good resources. Another good book on competition BBQ is Hot Grill on Grill Action's "The Book on Competition Barbeque" Volume 1. It pretty much covers what you need to know about competing in a KCBS 4 meat event.
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Unread 05-09-2012, 11:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert View Post
My advice is to jump in head first and cook in the "pro" side. Back when we started out in 1996 there weren't any back yard divisions where we cooked. Fortunately we did OK. So, IMHO, back yard is a waste of time because I don't think it proves anything to the cook. Who knows, you win the backyard, you may have won the "pro". Just my two cents.

Robert
Agreed. Just enter, cook, learn, repeat.

The learn part starts here.
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Unread 05-09-2012, 11:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert View Post
My advice is to jump in head first and cook in the "pro" side. Back when we started out in 1996 there weren't any back yard divisions where we cooked. Fortunately we did OK. So, IMHO, back yard is a waste of time because I don't think it proves anything to the cook. Who knows, you win the backyard, you may have won the "pro". Just my two cents.

Robert
I agree with what might do well in backyard could also do well in pro, but cost needs to be mentioned here as that can be a very big factor for those looking to take the jump into competition. Much of the time entry fees are half of pro. Yes you don't cook brisket in backyard, but keeping costs down initially isn't something to ignore. Also they may not be looking to prove anything right away. He mentioned getting their "feet wet" and backyard is a wonderful place for that.
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Unread 05-09-2012, 11:18 AM   #8
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The complaint that I have with "backyard" competitions is that the judges may or may not be "real" judges alot of the times they will use local celebrity or just people that are willing to judge. In that case you won't get a very accurate score based on what the judges are doing on the pro side. With that said I started off in "backyard" comps for 2 years and then made the jump to the pro side. I competed in 5 of those events and 2 of those used "real" judges and my scores there were more consistent and I feel more accurate when compared to my scores from when I have competed as a pro.
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Unread 05-09-2012, 11:45 AM   #9
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All advice given thus far is great, but I will ad one thing to it, and that is to "LEAVE YOUR FEELINGS AT THE DOOR"

In your first comp you may turn in some really great stuff, but there are six different people with six different sets of tastebuds, and they each have their own ideas about what BBQ should be. There are trends that can be used as a guideline, but in the end, if you get a bad table, you just get a bad table.

Above all else have fun! Because if you're not having fun then its time do something else. Good Luck!
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Unread 05-09-2012, 01:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RX2006JE View Post
The complaint that I have with "backyard" competitions is that the judges may or may not be "real" judges alot of the times they will use local celebrity or just people that are willing to judge. In that case you won't get a very accurate score based on what the judges are doing on the pro side. With that said I started off in "backyard" comps for 2 years and then made the jump to the pro side. I competed in 5 of those events and 2 of those used "real" judges and my scores there were more consistent and I feel more accurate when compared to my scores from when I have competed as a pro.
Good advise. I've had very similar experience.
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Unread 05-09-2012, 01:31 PM   #11
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thanks for all the advice keep it coming i not looking to really place i just kind work on the motions on a comp feel to get used to it and enjoy it. the cost is something i am very aware of looking at the entry fees and such
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Unread 05-09-2012, 04:56 PM   #12
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My advice:

1) Buy all the good books you can and read them.

2) Take a class from a Rod Gray, Johnny Trigg, Bubba Lattimer, Myron Mixon, etc.. There are a lot of good ones out there.

3) Practice, practice, practice.

4) Jump in and spend the money for a good pit. A Jambo, Backwoods, Stumps, etc. Just like classes there are a lot of good ones out there.

5) Pick some competitions close by and start sending in entries. Enter the "pro" stuff as the backyard doesn't pay but there are a ton of great cooks in it that just don't realize how good they are. If you're going to get your arse kicked then do it where you might get some money back!

6) Take a judging class and judge a competition. See what others are turning in and what it looks like.

7) Have some fun!

Don't worry about that dwindling bank account balance. It's a hobby!
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Unread 05-09-2012, 07:05 PM   #13
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I've yet to see a "backyard" comp in Texas. You might find some unsactioned ones at the local Icehouse but "backyard" not sure they exist around here.

All you really need is the willingness to have a good time while you and your family are together.

Jump in the water is fine.
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Unread 05-09-2012, 10:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QueNivorous View Post
My advice:

4) Jump in and spend the money for a good pit. A Jambo, Backwoods, Stumps, etc. Just like classes there are a lot of good ones out there.
I have to disagree with needing an expensive pit.... My drum has beatin some nice Backwoods...

At my first comp the backyard winner from the previous year got dead last....
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Unread 05-10-2012, 07:17 AM   #15
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It's tough to explain to a rookie why to just compete in the sanctioned portion of the cookoff. I'll tell you, for many competitions you can piece-meal the entry fees and only compete in the category that you want to compete (thereby keeping costs down). Historically the judging is the single biggest factor, and that the mark-to-hit has largely been defined. In unsanctioned competitions (back-yard if you will) the mark to hit usually isn't defined and judging is very willy-nilly. If you're wanting to compete to learn and to refine your barbecue, competing in unsanctioned competitions largely will not do this. I'm of the opinion that you're better off starting out competing in the sanctioned portion/comps, even if it's just 1 or 2 categories. You'll learn about hitting HARD enforced turn-in times, hard enforced rules about garnish or not, etc.

Also, something to know early on, not every BBQ competition is the same, not even sanctioned competitions, as there are many varied sanctioning bodies. FYI: they can and do define what is the perfect piece of BBQ differently. Learn the sanctioning body; learn the rules; then compete. And, HAVE FUN. Ultimately it's just about barbecuing and producing great tasting tender meat.

Lastly, know that it IS a competition. I've seen more than a few rookies come to compete thinking that because their grilling evening went well a few months ago that they're ready for competition, only to find out that 95% of the cooks at these things REALLY REALLY know what they're doing. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, and when you need a break, PRACTICE. IMHO a competition is no place to try a new technique or recipe. When trying recipes at home, taste your barbecue stone cold sober. Be like a judge will be. Trust me, food that tastes great after you've had boilermakers for 6 hours doesn't taste so great when you're stone cold sober at 10am having had only coffee and orange juice to drink all morning... Also, get multiple peoples opinion (when they're sober as well), and if you can, compare recipes against one another. Meaning, when hungry, most anything tastes great. Get them to try them side-by-side. Then you'll get an honest comparison and know how you're progressing.

Best of luck!!!
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