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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 09-11-2012, 04:17 PM   #1
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Join Date: 07-11-10
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Default Packing A Cooler For A Long Distance Contest

Hi folks,

I will be traveling to the American Royal in a few weeks, driving from California over several days. I plan to leave early Monday morning to arrive Thursday for the contests on Saturday and Sunday.

I will be bringing my meats so I am looking for some advice from folks who travel long distances to contests. My hope is to have all meat trimmed ahead of time, and frozen for the journey.

I am looking for advice on how to best pack coolers with the meat. I am thinking using dry ice might be the way to go. I also have the thought of allowing brisket and pork to thaw along the way, but would need to make sure this is done safely and without risk of spoilage.

What would you suggest as a plan of attack so I can travel several days with 2 contests worth of meat that is fresh and thawed, ready for the competition?

Thanks in advance for any helpful tips or information you may have.
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:51 PM   #2
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Good to see another CBBQA member among the brethren, good luck at the Royal!
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:26 PM   #3
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I'd use blocks of ice mixed with some cubes. It's going to last you much longer. I prefer not to freeze my meat and would more than likely just vacuum seal them. I'd also use the cambro's to store the meat rather than using basic coolers or better yet, get a good sized Yeti and you shouldn't have much of an issue.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:42 PM   #4
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Not sure if it's an option for you Adam but you may want to look at getting a Yeti. They're super efficient and will keep food at or below 40 or frozen for days with very little ice. I got one last year and bought another this year because I was so impressed with the first one. I put one small homemade ice pack (made using a chamber sealer) with each Brisket or Butt in a stainless pan and a 10lb bag of chunked ice dumped out across the bottom and I can keep temps at or below 40 for 2-3 days depending on the outside temp. I use much less ice with the Yeti than I did with any of my previous coolers - by a very large margin.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:51 PM   #5
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Dry ice is the way to go. On long hunting trips we use dry ice with a paper sack on top and bag of ice or so and our coolers are like freezers for days.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:17 PM   #6
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Adam - are you traveling alone or with the family? If alone, I'd almost consider having it shipped out unless the cost is crazy. I'd probably only consider shipping briskets if you're using SFR etc., but if standard pork butts and ribs, I'd place my order with RD which is down the street and save myself the hassle. No way I'd consider shipping chicken, I'd buy fresh locally.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:41 PM   #7
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+1 for dry ice if you have to take your meat with you. Yetis are nice but the $250 price difference between a Yeti and an Igloo Marine buys a lot of ice.
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:13 PM   #8
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Get ONE cooler larger enough to handle all of your meat. The night before, fill it with a couple of 20 lb ice bags. The morning (or immediately) before you leave, drain it and put your meats in it. Fill the remainder with ice. Leave the drain plug open.

This should last at least 24 hours. Don't open the cooler unless you are adding more ice.

You don't need a Yeti or other high-dollar cooler. A regular cooler from your local store will do the job. Pre-cool it and keep it closed.

4 days at most x (1) 20 lb bag of ice per day = $32 at most. You're going to spend twice that a day on fuel.
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:19 PM   #9
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All great advice and if I can help any on my end let me know.

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Old 09-11-2012, 07:30 PM   #10
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I have 3 of the 120qt, 7 day igloo coolers. I pour a 20lb bag of ice into the bottom, put my meat in and then put in 2-3 more 20lb bags of ice. I don't know if sams still has them on sale for $65 or not

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Old 09-11-2012, 07:36 PM   #11
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Buy your meat from Bichelmeyers?
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:12 PM   #12
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If the meat is froze and the lid is left shut. I would think regular ice would be fine.
Use your remote thermometer to monitor tHe cooler temps if you are unsure.
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:30 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by jbrink01 View Post
Buy your meat from Bichelmeyers?
Are their ribs any good?
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Old 09-12-2012, 04:29 AM   #14
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Ok I did Vegas in 2003. 5 days to get there. One extreme cooler frozen meat and filled with ice. Leave the cooler shut. 5 days later still frozen. Had to work to get it ready for the contest. 4 days and you don't need to freeze. Check after 2 days and drain. Probably won't be much water come out so won't need to add ice. Chicken will probably partial freeze.
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:32 AM   #15
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Here is a youtube video of the sportsmanguys testing high end coolers including the yeti, IRP, Engel, Igloo, and coleman extreme. Pretty informative.

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