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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 07-22-2007, 07:36 PM   #1
Jeff_in_KC
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Anyone else ever felt this way? My confidence in my ability to cook is completely shot. I'm not kidding. In two weeks, I've pulled a 25th and 31st in chicken and a 23rd and 25th in pork. I honestly believed my chicken this week was better than my winning chicken at Blue Springs last year. It really isn't just the last two weeks... this year is horrible compared to last year. I guess I just assumed that working to improve and getting more experience all the time would naturally make this year even better than last year. Thank God I didn't have to do ribs and brisket these two contests or I would have been looking up from DAL! My apologies to Andy and Jeff for having to cook with me. GEEZ!!!

OK so I'm not trying to have a pity party here... I just was hoping that you guys had some answers for me. What do I do? What should I do to pull myself out of this farkin funk I seem to be in? Y'all are good at offering advice on lots of things. I'm hoping someone has an answer for this.
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Unread 07-22-2007, 07:43 PM   #2
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I have only really had 1 good finish, a 4th in pork. As a new team I try to remember that the judges are just that judges. You cant figure them out so why try. I used to play double volleyball tounies until age and health took over, that you can pin point, what you screwed up, a bad play etc..this bbq thing is 1/2 luck and 1/2 skill I think,BUT ITS STIL ALOT OF FUN .CHEER UP AND LET THE DICE ROLL!!!
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Unread 07-22-2007, 07:44 PM   #3
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Keep on truckin baby!!! You'll get into the pocket again. It may be time for a recipe change up is all I suspect.
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Unread 07-22-2007, 08:04 PM   #4
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Jeff, all I can say is that I've been there. 2005 was a great year from our perspective. We had multiple calls in most of our contests and never finished lower than 18th in any contest. We won a grand at a small non sanctioned contest and ended the year with four top ten's and RGC (over Munchin Hogs of all people) at Liberty. It was the kind of progression that you want to see.

Then 2006 came. We started a bit lower and it got worse as we went along. 2006 ended in the same place that 2005 did: Liberty, MO. Instead of RGC, we got skunked... no calls. That hadn't happened for us since June of 2004, almost 2 1/2 years. 2006 ended in a very depressing way. Total opposite of 2005.

2007 started in North Kansas City where we ended 33rd out of almost 100 teams. We were fumbling all over ourselves. It was not encouraging and it felt like we had lost everything. Then we went to Mike Davis' class. We drove to Lynchburg and back. It gave us a lot of time to talk and focus on how we cooked. Mike's detailed and simplified process woke us up. We've changed a lot. Marshall, MO was our next contest and we walk with a 3rd in pork, then Sugar Creek (9th ribs, 10th brisket), then Platte City (2nd pork, 2nd chicken, 8th overall), then the GAB (okay we won't talk about the GAB), then BBQlossal (8th overall, 8th in pork - over 80 teams), Warrensburg (7th pork, 7th ribs, 6th dessert, 7th overall), and Burlington (3rd pork, 3rd cooks choice). Not only are we back to where we were in 2004, but we are improving. A GC is starting to seem possible again.

BBQ is like golf, IMHO. No matter how good you are, you get some bad rounds. No matter how bad you are, you can make some good shots. Look at what you are doing and see what changes you want to make. Change a few things and see if you like them.

Hang in there. I was talking with Don Will of Smokers Wild this weekend about how many good cooks there are on the circuit now. Five years ago it wasn't the same. I swear that we roll into a contest now, and I know that 50-75% of the field is going to kick my arse if I don't bring my A game. Its getting more competitive out there. That can be part of what you are feeling, too.
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Unread 07-22-2007, 08:11 PM   #5
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I don't do bbq comps. but, I used to do archery tournaments, motocross and hill climb comps. Its easy to get out of the pocket and really hard to get back on track. The thing that always worked for me was to get back to basics and work through whatever bad habits you picked up on the way, you can pick up habits and not even know it. Best of luck to you all!!!
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Unread 07-22-2007, 08:18 PM   #6
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practice, practice, practice.....Mark will cook almost everyweekend during the winter months and the weekends we dont cook the pit is usually fired up.
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Unread 07-22-2007, 08:22 PM   #7
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Jeff - Aside from the technique/recipes etc. aspect which probably is a factor in addition to luck, quality of other teams etc. I'll ask you this :

Are you having fun or has it become a job for to go out and perform ?

Maybe take a step back and think to how much fun it was when you first started. You can be focused and still have fun, but dreading every move you make to get a call can certainly take away from it all.

Just something else to consider. I'll never forget my HS coach taking out a football onto the field for us to practice with for a six hour practice session. Why is this weird ? Because we were the wrestling team that should have been hitting on all cylinders but we were tanking. We needed to mix it up. All the pressure went away and the next day, we cleaned up with everyone winning their matches against some of the best in the area.

Maybe next contest, still go out, try a few new things that you've always thought about trying, don't monitor every move etc. Just go out and cook well and stick to the basics and put together a nice box.. You just might be surprised. Even if it tanks you might have a blast, be able to laugh about it the following contest and then settle in to doing what you know how to do... put out good product that is capable of winning at any contest.

Good Luck...
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Unread 07-22-2007, 09:05 PM   #8
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Jeff, get over it and get on with it, you are doing alright, you are having fun I've been there when you were. I've / we have had the same problems recently but when we looked at our overall total points things have gone as expected and with a few small changes and some practice scores will get better. I personally think the competion has gotten better. Keep the chin up, go to Colorado and have fun come home safely. See ya when you get back, probably at Blue Springs.
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Unread 07-22-2007, 10:16 PM   #9
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We all want to do well. Lord knows I have had my ups and downs in 15 years of competing... But the #1 thing I never lose focus of: Have fun. Heck man, part of your score just comes from good ju-ju in your camp. Relax, feel good about you food and it will swing back your way. There are alot of Grand Champ teams out there now, that were scoring 10 years ago... and you never hear thier name. Some are making a comeback.... some new teams (Look and Bubba and Jeff!!!) are breaking through. I was so glad to hear Set it and Forget it got thier first GC this weekend. Darrell has earned it. Bub and Jeff have 3 this year... Your time will come. Just dont forget to enjoy this thing we have.

My best friends are 90% 'que-ers. I can't even imagine not having all the good times I've had. Heck, How did we meet!! Just relax and put on your best game. All you can do is put yourself in position. The Judges do the rest.

Quit apologizing to me about your scores in Warrensburg - If I was worried about your cooking I would have made you official pellet stirrer. You don't have anything to apologize to me for.
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Unread 07-22-2007, 10:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoDeDo View Post
... made you official pellet stirrer.
I'll stir your pellets in Columbia this weekend, Big Boy!!
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Unread 07-23-2007, 08:43 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plowboy View Post
I'll stir your pellets in Columbia this weekend, Big Boy!!
OK I think your getting a little of the subject.


Jeff, I haven't known you guys that long but from what I can tell your a great bunch to be around. I don't compete so I can't offer any advice that already hasn't been given. The only thing I can say is the more time you stew about it the less time you have to fix it. I have learned a lot of stuff from you guys. I'm even thinking about entering a contest cause you guys look like you so much fun. And that's the key. You stop having fun then it becomes a job. And in most cases ppl hate their jobs. Stop worrying about it and have fun.
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Unread 07-23-2007, 08:55 AM   #12
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Jeff, my advice to you is to drink heavily.

Seriously, these guys have already said it, relax and have fun. You know you're a good cook! Just think of it this way, it will make that first GC that much sweeter.
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Unread 07-23-2007, 09:10 AM   #13
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Yes, relax and make sure that you are still having fun. That is the most important thing to remember. Other than that, I don't know what to say except for maybe go back to the basics. What have you changed since starting out?
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Unread 07-23-2007, 09:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plowboy View Post
BBQ is like golf, IMHO.
It really is. For instance as you're about to drive a ball off the tee you can make all sorts of adjustments to 'fix' a slice. Chin up, elbow down, head still, loosen grip, bend knees etc. Next thing you know you are like a pretzel up on the tee box. Sometime you are better off just staying relaxed and 'grip and rip'... keep it simple.

Same deal with competition BBQ, you can lose your way with too many adjustments and tweaks. I've learned this the hard way a variety of times over the past 5-6 years I've been competing. Often the best briskets I cook are in my backyard where I rub, cook for 8-10 hrs unattended and thats it. I try to remind myself of that when I have the urge at a contest to spritz, check internals, baste etc.

The best way to fix your problem IMO is to simplify.... and cook as often as possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plowboy View Post
Its getting more competitive out there.
No doubt. With all the classes being held there are many more teams that have found consistency across the four categories. NEBS contest a few years ago there typically was 3 or 4 teams with a realistic shot at winning, now its more like 10-12 teams.
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Unread 07-23-2007, 09:40 AM   #15
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Jeff - I can totally relate where you are at! I am pretty new at this. Last year, in my second ever comp, I got a 6th in Chicken. In my 3rd Comp, I got a 6th in Chicken and an 8th in Ribs. After that, I had a few disappointing entries - I knew my stuff was not that good. This last weekend, I felt I really had it goin on and the results were very disappointing. That being said, I had a great time and I am so happy I went! One thing I am going to do is judge a Comp in September. I have taken the class, but I have never judged. In the mean time, I am just going to go back to the old drawing board and tweak a few things. Keep the faith, brother!
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