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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 08-12-2012, 09:54 AM   #1
Rubmyrock
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Default How much does it cost to get into competitive cooking?

Would I need to drop several thousand on a pull behind smoker or can I show up with a weber smokey joe?
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Unread 08-12-2012, 09:59 AM   #2
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It's really not possible to answer your question without more information?

What sanctioning body? KCBS, MBN, ICBA, others?
Are you cooking alone?
What do you have to get the equipment to the competition site?

All of these matter.

To give you a simple answer, no, you don't have to drop thousands. Lots of teams compete with a Chargriller or two. Others do well with a UDS or two or a UDS and a Weber Kettle. There are several very successful teams cooking with Weber Smokey Mountain cookers.

BTW, I'm going to move this to the competition section of the forum.
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Unread 08-12-2012, 10:14 AM   #3
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$83.

Actually, +1 above. Sanctioning bodies are different and require different volumes of meat, different standards of how/when it's turned in, different levels of camp cleanliness which can add $$$ too. For example, in KCBS you'll cook a brisket or 2, 2 or 3 butts, 3+- racks of ribs, and 16+- pieces of chicken. MBN, just for ribs, you'll cook 12 - 16 racks. If in shoulder you'll cook 7 - 9 20# shoulders. KCBS you can compete with a few BGE's or WSM's, but in MBN you'll need at least 1 pull-behind smoker, if not 2, because they also have a whole hog category. In NC you have lots of choices in sanctioning bodies; each very different.
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Unread 08-12-2012, 10:25 AM   #4
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Some of the comps have a backyard division. This might be a good starting place. Usually the entry fees are less. I would recommend going to a few comps and looking around, the visitors entry fee is usually very reasonable. Then hit up the backyard division for a time or two (or 20 if you like it there). That would allow you to walk your way into competing rather than diving in head first.
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Unread 08-12-2012, 10:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubmyrock View Post
Would I need to drop several thousand on a pull behind smoker or can I show up with a weber smokey joe?
Find you a used Backwoods Fatboy for $900 and it'll last you 40+ contests, for KCBS.
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Unread 08-12-2012, 10:30 AM   #6
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Also depends on stuff you may already have around the house or don't have and would need. Tables, coolers, chairs, canopies, etc.
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Unread 08-12-2012, 10:34 AM   #7
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Thanks! I have a large BGE and a large Dome Grill but I can't see myself trying to move those. I may buy a stumps since I can get on for a litte over $2000 and haul it in my enclosed trailer. Would a small stumps be sufficient to start.
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Unread 08-12-2012, 10:55 AM   #8
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Pick up a copy of Starting the Fire. The author goes through everything you need to know to start a team and enter your first competition including a good checklist of the equipment you will need.
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Unread 08-12-2012, 11:12 AM   #9
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I think two WSM's is a safe start along with your Smokey Joe. To be safe I would budget $2,000 for everything you need including consumables involved for at least two practice cooks and your first real time comp. This should cover the entry for the first one as well. Whatever you do. simulate a comp and take notes on timing. It donesn't matter how well it tastes etc. if you can't get it cooked and turned on time.

Good Luck! This forum is a wealth of information and support for you. It has been for me.
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Unread 08-12-2012, 11:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubmyrock View Post
Thanks! I have a large BGE and a large Dome Grill but I can't see myself trying to move those. I may buy a stumps since I can get on for a litte over $2000 and haul it in my enclosed trailer. Would a small stumps be sufficient to start.
If you already have an enclosed trailer you have a great start! I have some nice cookers but, in reality, I now know that I could have gotten by with a couple of Weber Smokey Mountains and done just as well - maybe even better. A canopy is a "must have," along with a table or two, but there's a good chance you already have most of the other stuff you need for KCBS and FBA. I didn't notice where you were before I started this answer. I've never done any cooks outside of these two, so I can't speak for any other contests.
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Unread 08-12-2012, 12:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fnbish View Post
Also depends on stuff you may already have around the house or don't have and would need. Tables, coolers, chairs, canopies, etc.
Also depends on if you watch your equipment fly out of the back of your truck and have to replace a lot of it.
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Unread 08-12-2012, 01:43 PM   #12
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It's like owning a boat. You can float and move for cheap in a jon boat. "Footitis" gets expensive and before you know it you start looking at yachts........
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Unread 08-12-2012, 01:58 PM   #13
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Don't forget about stuff you can borrow from someone. For our 1st contest I borrowed pretty much everything except for the cooker, which I made from a old refrigerator. That was by far the cheapest event which ran around $350 as it was close to home.
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Unread 08-12-2012, 02:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubmyrock View Post
Thanks! I have a large BGE and a large Dome Grill but I can't see myself trying to move those. I may buy a stumps since I can get on for a litte over $2000 and haul it in my enclosed trailer. Would a small stumps be sufficient to start.
My buddy Chris with Dizzy Pig hauls 7 Big Green Eggs to every contest in an enclosed trailer. I've helped him load & unload those suckers many times. Dont let that hold you back if you already have the equipment.

As far as I know he's never broken one. We were in a nasty wind storm in Covington, VA about a month ago and several UDS's were trashed. The Eggs held their ground fine.

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Unread 08-12-2012, 02:51 PM   #15
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My first comp was MBN... I hauled a bandera and my buddy brought his backyard traeger. We borrowed an ez up tent. I bought 1 table $37. And we used the same stuff we cook with at home. We were pretty intimidated next to 10 Bones & Big Red Smokers.... We got 5th in shoulders, 6th in ribs. We we're hooked from there!

So in other words it doesn't have to cost much at all. We set realistic goals, don't get DAL or DQ, and We figured we'd let our meat do the talking. Have fun
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