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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 09-05-2013, 08:58 AM   #1
Got Wood.
Join Date: 08-12-13
Location: Crandall tx
Default Is this Normal

Getting ready for my first comp so I tried a test run last weekend with all the meats on my Oklahoma Joe offset smoker. I had one brisket, one pork butt then later added 2 racks of ribs and a couple of half chickens as well. I failed to have my ribs and chicken finished on time because they took a lot longer to cook I guess because the brisket and pork butt was in the smoker at the same time. Ribs on average take me 4 1/2 to 5 hours but took almost 7, and the half chickens took longer as well. I had my temp set between 285 and 310 almost the hole cook. Can anybody with a smoker like this or offset smoker give me some advice? I was thinking of starting way ahead of time and if the meat is done way sooner I could always put it in a cooler to rest.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:36 AM   #2
Lake Dogs
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There's the long way to this, but I'll get to the summary. I think you're going to find it very hard to compete with just the one Oklahoma Joe. Perhaps it with a WSM, and even then perhaps with a Weber 22 for the chicken. Also, it sounds to me like you're skirting the extreme minimum to cook. Almost everyone cooks at least a tiny bit extra, just in case. Particularly when you cook only 1 of something, the competition gremlins set in and toss the meat on the ground, or have that fire go crazy the one time in two hundred and burn it, etc.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:43 AM   #3
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Join Date: 06-14-12
Location: Buna, Texas

I see Texas on your location, so are you planning on cooking IBCA or just the occasional KCBS that comes to town? If it's IBCA, you won't need to worry about the pork butts, however, there are a rare few IBCA comps where pork is included other than ribs, check with the event organizer on this. Chicken halves are also IBCA, not KCBS.
As far as time frame and ability to cook a contest on one smoker, if it's KCBS, I would take Lake Dogs advice and cook your chicken elsewhere, kettle or other type of charcoal grill. If it's IBCA, you can easily cook all 3 meats (brisket, spare ribs and chicken halves) on one offset. Although there is probably at least 50% of IBCA cooks that charcoal their chicken instead of smoke, so most do bring a separate grill or drum for chicken. Most Texas comps you have at least 1 hour between turn ins, so by the time chicken goes on (somewhere between a 2 to 3 hour cook) , your brisket should be resting in a cooler or cambro by that time.
Now to answer your question as to ribs not being done, what do you mean by they were not done? Not tender enough? Or what? The most important thing to cooking a contest is knowing your timeline. Knowing your timeline takes practice, lots of it.
Hope some of this helps, feel free to PM me anytime.
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:10 AM   #4
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I'd be curious to know how much you opened your cooker during the process. The one thing that always screws you when trying to use a single offset is having to check the tenderness of the larger cuts while trying to cook the small stuff. You're getting some great advice about pairing it with a weber or another small smoker/grill for ribs and/or chicken. Also, if you can get your bigs off and resting as you mentioned, you can throw the small stuff in after.
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:01 PM   #5
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Join Date: 06-10-13
Location: heart of tx.

Another vote for a separate chicken cooker, those silver Smokey grills are great for cooking chickens and are lighter and easier to haul around. You can also cook the chicken closer to the firebox to shorten the time some. However imo the biggest single factor there is going to be 4 meats in one cooker and you have to check each one regularly so yes as already stated each time you open that lid you. Increase time for doneness. I used to cook all three ibca meats in one 24" offset not problem but it does take practice to get the timing down.
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:52 PM   #6
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Join Date: 09-03-12
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I'm not an expert on the Oklahoma Joe, but I am 100% certain that you did not average anywhere close to 285 where the ribs where sitting. If it were that hot, you would have been pulling them off in pieces after 7 hours.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:07 PM   #7
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those big meats need to be resting as the other smaller meats are cooking if youre gonna pull off all meats on one smoker. Of course, i am not fmailiar with cooking on one of those, i have a large veritcal smoker that I have plenty of room and time to cook all four on.
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Old 09-05-2013, 04:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by MikeJ65 View Post
I'm not an expert on the Oklahoma Joe, but I am 100% certain that you did not average anywhere close to 285 where the ribs where sitting. If it were that hot, you would have been pulling them off in pieces after 7 hours.
I agree....No way you cooked ribs at 285-310 for 7 hours without them being in pieces. What are you checking your cooker temperature with?
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