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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 06-21-2013, 06:51 AM   #1
Semper Que BBQ
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Default Competition ready?

So we are planning our first competition in August. It has entry for Brisket, Pork Shoulder, Pork Ribs, and Chicken. 6+1 pieces to enter for the judges. Based on this, from your experiences, how much of each should I cook, and realisticly on a poor mans budget, how many smokers would we need for all of it. I am getting a WSM 22.5 but even with all of its cooking area, doubt it will be enough. Any tips, advice and general knowledge is greatly appreciated.

-Semper Q
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Unread 06-21-2013, 07:00 AM   #2
va_connoisseur
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Welcome aboard Semper Q. To your first question, the one time I did a competition, most folks told me to cook at least twice what is required to turn in so that you can pick from a larger selection.

As for cookers, I have seen many people cook with 2 WSM. It could be done on 1 but I think it would be a lot more difficult, especially trying to time turn-in, keeping things at different temps, etc. Maybe 2 18.5s or 1 22 and 1 UDS.
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Unread 06-21-2013, 07:04 AM   #3
Semper Que BBQ
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Thanks man for the advice.
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Unread 06-21-2013, 07:18 AM   #4
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I think you can get away with a single brisket, three racks of ribs and 16 to 24 pieces of chicken but you probably want to do two butts so that you can remove one a bit earlier so the money muscle slices easier.

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Unread 06-21-2013, 07:19 AM   #5
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On a poor man's budget (I'm with you on that one) cook one brisket, twelve chicken thighs, three slabs of ribs and two pork butts.
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Unread 06-21-2013, 07:28 AM   #6
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I'm planning my first one in August as well, Summerfest in New Holland, PA. What one are you doing?
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Unread 06-21-2013, 07:33 AM   #7
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You are likely to need more than one WSM. I try to do comps as reasonable as possible too just because I don't have a huge comp budget. I do two briskets (because one of them is always better than the other) two butts, three racks of ribs and 16 thighs.
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Unread 06-21-2013, 07:36 AM   #8
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Im going to one this afternoon with the same meats you will prepare plus loin for the public tasting part of it.Like you Im on a budget but from past experience I know Im going to cook a ridiculous amount of meat to get 6 good pieces of each to turn in

im bringing along 2- 9 lb pork butts, one- 12 lb brisket (wish I had another but to late now) 3 racks of spare ribs and 3 racks of babybacks wich will be cooked differently and see which comes out better, 16 thighs, and the organizers will be supplying between 15 and 20 lbs of loin.The good thing is that I can serve all the leftovers at the public tasting.

I have a 275 gallon homemade smoker that I can fit everything in but as I said some of the meats will be getting cooked differently so Im also taking my Akorn and another smaller charcoal grill so i can do different things at different temps at the same time.

This may sound like overkill but last comp I went to I found out things can and will go wrong, I had a small flare up last time that charred my ribs, had I had some more I would have had time to cook them but I didnt so I screwed myself in that category.A storm came in and played hell with the temps on my big smoker, I had nothing else to put food on so I sat out in the rain and lightning all night fighting the firebox and trying to get a tent set up around it.


Despite all this I had a blast and learned a lot, met some great people, got some good advise, drank a lot of beer, seen some amazing smokers, and had some really good BBQ.I even managed to get everything done and turned in on time including the 50 lbs of chicken quarters they supplied for thier public tasting.

Only advice I can give you is its a big juggling act to get all the meat done properly and turned in on time, dont limit yourself on cooking space or cuts of meat, if you bring the bare minimum and something goes wrong its hard to recover from that.And have fun, most of the people at these things are great to talk to and willing to help you out if needed.Think of your first one as a learning experience and it will get better from there.Im off to pack the truck now, got 50 lbs of meat thawed out and it looks like a storms rolling in
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Unread 06-21-2013, 07:42 AM   #9
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You probably can do it on one Smokey Mountain. I have a friend that competed with one large Egg. He had a double rack rig he made and had everything time perfectly. The amounts you've been given are good for a minimum. That is how much I cook.
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Unread 06-21-2013, 07:45 AM   #10
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That said I started cooking comps with two Eggs and it makes life easier. I've added a backwoods party to the two Eggs and it is even easier. Add a second Smokey Mountain and you are good to go but if you can't swing that and still want to compete try it with one.
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Unread 06-21-2013, 07:49 AM   #11
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On my first KCBS contest I brought a 22" WSM and a Home Depot special (Offset cooker). I ended up starting the Brisket and Pork in the Weber. Then transfer them to the Offset once they were foiled. This cleared the Weber for the Ribs and Chicken. Bit of a juggling act, but it worked. So definitely using two cookers for the competition is the way to go. The WSM is an excellent choice for your primary cooker. Now just get a decent cooker to support the Weber.
Meat wise, I normally go with what I can obtain easily. Cryovacs of Pork Butts come two to a package, so I cook two. Two packages of Chicken usually provide enough of a selection. The ribs usually come 3 to a cryovac. However I'm starting to grow weary of these. The cryo packs give me the least control over the product. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has opened up one of these packs on competition day and been disappointed with the contents. Thin meat, curved bones, etc. The Brisket is a tough one. Due to price, it's cheap per pound yes, but it also 15-17 pounds. I usually cook just one, and take my chances.
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Unread 06-21-2013, 07:55 AM   #12
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If you're on a poor man's budget have you considered teaming up with someone? I would recommend seeking a mentor and becoming part of another team before venturing on your own. These comp's are ultra competitive and expectations of winning should be very very low as these teams compete every single week for years. Although, if it's all for fun and in the budget have at it.
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Unread 06-21-2013, 08:27 AM   #13
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You can easily cook a comp on a 22.5" WSM. It's all about timing.

Cook the butt(s) and brisket(s) first, then when they are done put them in a dry cooler to rest and put on the ribs, followed by the chicken.

A second cooker for chicken (a Weber kettle off of Craig's List is cheap) would be nice, but not really necessary.

As far as how much to cook, to me the minimum would be 9 thighs, 2 racks of ribs, one butt and one brisket. I'm not sure I would be comfortable with that, but if you nail everything it would work. I cook 16 - 18 thighs, 4 racks of ribs, 2 butts and 2 briskets. We have a lot left, but it never goes to waste.
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Unread 06-21-2013, 08:38 AM   #14
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i did it with one WSM 22 and a kettle for a few comps. it can be done pretty easily. big meats cook overnight and cooler and ribs go in in the morning and chicken on the kettle.

i did add another 22.5, so i could let the big meats ride until a bit closer to turn in time and have the ability to cook at two different temps and wood combos at the same time, but really, i don't think it made all that much difference in the final product.

i would add though, alot of homework needs to be done prior. a timeline is absolutely critical.
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Unread 06-21-2013, 08:45 AM   #15
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+1 one on the time line. Your timing is critical. You can do the comps on the one cooker but your timing has to be perfect. Keith
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