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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 10-28-2008, 03:01 PM   #1
Todd Ras
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Default Need some help or suggestions

I have formed a BBQ team with 6 friends and have been practicing all year long and going to do some comps this next year. We thought it would be better off doing some practicing together for a year and get our cooking down (as much as we can) then jumping in head first into comps.

I'm just looking for any suggestions from you guys who do this all the time and have a ton of knowledge. I have learned so much in the few months I have been on here that its mind blowing, but doing comps is a different ball game.

So, any feedback or tips you have would be great!! I'm not asking for cooking secrets, but maybe info on scheduling, what to look out for at comps, what to bring and what we don’t need...things like that would be greatly appreciated!!

I know there is nothing like learning on your own and I plan on taking my lumps as we go, just don't want to look like a fool out there (I don't need any more help in this catagory!! )
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Unread 10-28-2008, 03:13 PM   #2
Jacked UP BBQ
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You won't look like a fool. It's only BBQ, get out there and do your best. Do you, that's all you can do. Don't get frustrated, like NIKE said - JUST DO IT! good luck, you got it!!!
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Unread 10-28-2008, 03:16 PM   #3
Lippy
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Beer, have fun, beer and relax. Stay cool and let it come to you.
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Unread 10-28-2008, 03:23 PM   #4
tonto1117
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Hey Todd,if you haven't checked out the roadmap to competition BBQ section, it'a a good place to start.....has some good list's and other threads that will head you in the right direction. Other then that just read on brother..read on.....

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=13677
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Unread 10-28-2008, 03:28 PM   #5
Bentley
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Dont know how over the top you want to go?

If you want a small idea of what a competition is like these next few suggestions might help.

I will assume all of your team is fairly close? See if you can pick a family member with a home that might have a big lot or extra space on their property. Pick a weekend, act like it is a competition. Have the team show up. Set up, cook. Have the friend or relative act as the Rep. Have them inspect your meat, attend the cooks meeting at 7pm, get your turn-in boxes. If you think you will be at a contest that checks things like health regulations, have another friend or family member act as the health inspector and show up at a random time and check that. Cook like it is a contest, stay on site and cook, sleep on site if that is what you will do at a real contest, get the team timing down on shifts..see if you can hit the turn in times KCBS, FBA, IBCA...Make your boxes up, take pictures, take notes. Have your family and friends judge, get angry at the judge that gives you a 5...I digress. :>)

I dont know if that helps or not. To me it seems over the top, but it would probably give you an idea of where you are strong and where you are lacking.
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Unread 10-28-2008, 03:36 PM   #6
Chipper
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I'm in a similar situation with plan to jump into competing next spring. I am doing lot's of research on cookers, and doing a lot of cooking on a ceramic at home. The suggestions I have seen and tips I have read really help a lot. I look forward to meeting at least a few of you in 2009 at the KCBS event in Salisbury MD.
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Unread 10-28-2008, 03:42 PM   #7
Wine & Swine
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My advice is to be as organized as possible going in with a plan of who is doing what and when it is getting done. A few ideas that my brother, SmokeInDaEye (aka SIDE) has used and seem to be working well;
- Take notes on every practice cook (time, temps, weather, etc) and match these against results
- Make time tables for the cook (ie 9:00 start chimney, 10:00 put butts on, etc) this will keep you on schedule despite all of the excitement of the comp (and the beer that accompanies)
- Take photos of your food (especially turn in boxes) both as reference and for critique on the board
- With six team members I would assign jobs (brisket, chicken, turn in boxes, cleaning, etc) otherwise it can get confusing
- Make equipment lists and double check everything (it really sux to realize you are missing something at crunch time)
- When you are at the comp get out, socialize and ask questions (Saturday night is usually the best time for this)
- Most of all have fun
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Unread 10-28-2008, 03:46 PM   #8
LindaM
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Wow trying your first at Salisbury, MD that looks to be a 100 team contest next year.
Talk about jumping in with both feet
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Unread 10-28-2008, 03:56 PM   #9
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Best thing I was told was to do was setup outside your house as if you are not at home and make sure you have everything you need. If you go inside for something it goes on the pack list. This helped me the most. But more importantly don't feel bad when you ask someone a question or two or three (if Andy or Kim read this they would say I asked more than 3) Your nieghbors are your friends and are good people who love to help out. Enjoy it...cause soon you will be like me and dreading the long winter!!!
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Unread 10-28-2008, 04:16 PM   #10
BurntFinger_Jason
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We just started doing competitions this year, so here are a few tips we've picked up along the way. I wouldn't consider ourselves seasoned vets by any means, but these really helped smooth out our processes.

1. Keep a neat and organized work site, including plenty of table space. When turn in times come around, you'll want to know exact where all your supplies are in case they are needed.

2. Use raised tables to do all of your prep work. We learned this lesson the hard way, and my back is still feeling it. Next time you are at a competition, look at the legs of the prep tables that teams are using. Lots of them will have PVC risers that lift the table up. You'll have to buy a certain type of table that can be fitted with the risers, but you'll be much more comfortable while working.

3. Look into getting a Coleman hot water heater. This thing was recommended to us after our first competition, and it's a godsend. It basically gives you hot running water in your camp. They're a little pricey, but it makes cleanup and sanitation much easier.

4. Bring a really sharp knife for carving. Whether or not it's electric is up to you, just make sure it's sharp. I'd hate to see your future award winning BBQ get all torn up by a dull knife.

5. Purchase an atomic clock to display in your camp so that you can be synced up with the official turn in time. This will avoid any confusion on time and will be available for all to see. They have them at walmart for $15.

6. Get your garnish done early in the morning. This ended up taking us longer than we expected, so it's nice to have them done and waiting for the meat.

Just go ahead and take the leap of faith of entering your first competition. You'll learn way more by on-the-job experience than you will by reading and watching. Everyone is friendly, so just ask questions and you'll find out who's willing to help you out. Good luck!!!!
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Unread 10-28-2008, 04:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wine & Swine View Post
My advice is to be as organized as possible going in with a plan of who is doing what and when it is getting done. A few ideas that my brother, SmokeInDaEye (aka SIDE) has used and seem to be working well;
- Take notes on every practice cook (time, temps, weather, etc) and match these against results
- Make time tables for the cook (ie 9:00 start chimney, 10:00 put butts on, etc) this will keep you on schedule despite all of the excitement of the comp (and the beer that accompanies)
- Take photos of your food (especially turn in boxes) both as reference and for critique on the board
- With six team members I would assign jobs (brisket, chicken, turn in boxes, cleaning, etc) otherwise it can get confusing
- Make equipment lists and double check everything (it really sux to realize you are missing something at crunch time)
- When you are at the comp get out, socialize and ask questions (Saturday night is usually the best time for this)
- Most of all have fun
Most of all... stay sober and bring a fire extinguisher.
-good to see you last weekend John.
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Unread 10-28-2008, 04:21 PM   #12
Transformer BBQ
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Also... if you are doing the practice contest at home thing... there is no reason your turn ins can't be at dinner time... and you start cooking early in the morning. and just do everything accordingly (change your clocks if you really want to be matched up)...

That way you don't completely fark up your sleep cycle for the weekend... save that for real life contests.
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Unread 10-28-2008, 04:24 PM   #13
BurntFinger_Jason
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I forgot the best piece of advice that we received....once you are a big time famous BBQer winning the Royal, be sure to continue helping the new teams the same way you were helped. :)
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Unread 10-28-2008, 04:32 PM   #14
Wine & Swine
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Quote:
Most of all... stay sober and bring a fire extinguisher.
Oh this would lead to two other points;
- Do not get REALLY (I mean REALLY) drunk and kick over your smoker (loaded with butts & brisket) in the middle of the night even though it will result in possible divorce (if you are cooking with your spouse), some really great excitement/stories for your neighbors and better scores
- Do not wear shoes and learn to walk on hot coals
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Unread 10-28-2008, 04:39 PM   #15
Solidkick
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Try to take a KCBS judging class if possible........
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