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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 02-20-2009, 11:23 AM   #1
musicmanryann
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Default Gettin' Some Darn Sleep!

Me and my fledgling Q Team competed in our first competition last season and are looking forward to getting more in to it this year. After that first competition I found my greatest challenge was actually getting some sleep before things start to heat up before turn-ins. I didn't get one wink of sleep (admittedly, I am a person that needs/desires some shut-eye probably more than the next guy), and the next day I was in a complete daze when I should be bringing my A-game, and stayed that way until Monday morning.

Now this had a lot to do with nerves and the uncertainty of being in my first cook-off, but mostly I was afraid of something going terribly wrong with my briskets and butts while I was off countin' sheep. Namely, trying to keep that steady temp on the three WSMs we were using.

Now this might be a question more for the WSM contingent out there, but how do y'all cope with making sure your cookers are doing their job without you there checking every half-hour to make sure they are keeping a steady temp? I used the Minion Method, but found I still had to adjsut through the night to keep the temps where I wanted them.

Perhaps I simply need to "let do and let God" or learn to deal with sleepless nights, but any thoughts or bits of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 11:35 AM   #2
ique
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http://www.thebbqguru.com/
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Unread 02-20-2009, 11:38 AM   #3
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We took shifts. You can also get a thermometer that will alarm if temps drop below or rise above your predetermined points.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 11:57 AM   #4
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drink, stay up, and enjoy!
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Unread 02-20-2009, 12:01 PM   #5
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I found that my WSM leaks air like a screen door. Where the bottom and middle meet and also the door. Anything you can do to keep these air tight will smooth out your temp variations. That being said I love my UDS.
Sleeping in shifts would be an excellent idea also.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 12:10 PM   #6
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Find you WSM's 'sweet spot'… I've got one that loves 250* , one that likes to be a little lower, and one that likes to be higher.
Figure yours out and don't try and force them far from 'their' temp. Right before you go to sleep, either jiggle the WSM or wack the legs a couple of times to make the ash drop. As was already mentioned, get a digital thermometer with high and low alarm set points. Give yourself a plus and minus 10* range (a little more if you want) and forget it.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 12:13 PM   #7
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good solution is a spicewine
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Unread 02-20-2009, 12:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ique View Post



I second this motion....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (thank you guru)
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Unread 02-20-2009, 12:33 PM   #9
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People sleep at competitions ?
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Unread 02-20-2009, 12:34 PM   #10
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The guru or stoker are both awesome, but kind of pricey.

We just use maverik ET-73 wireless thermometers, mostly as a safety. I've found my WSM's hold pretty well until about 5:60-6 AM, when I'm usually getting up anyway. I just add more lump then to finish.

We got no sleep either the first time out, but our last comp we got 4 or 5 hours, no problem
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Unread 02-20-2009, 01:45 PM   #11
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If you want to do the atc thing and have 3 WSM, I would recommend the stoker over the guru. I use it to control 3 smokers and it works great. I just need to figure out how to force myself to stop boozing and go to sleep. That's a point of emphasis for me this year...

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I've found my WSM's hold pretty well until about 5:60-6 AM
So getting up at 5:60 is the key to your award winning pork?
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Unread 02-20-2009, 01:58 PM   #12
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We use a bank of 4 WSMs, all driven by a Stoker.
It's used as a failsafe more than anything else -- VQ can function well on a couple of 90-minute sleep chunks. We also have to take into account that we usually had a VERY long overnight drive before we got there on Friday. So he's had to learn to be very disciplined about taking a nap after camp setup is complete, and taking an early sleep shift after meat prep is complete instead of wandering around and socializing as much as he'd like.

I totally hear you about being too wound up in your first few outings, but soon you'll fall into a comfortable routine with your cook and getting those critical naps in will be easier!
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Unread 02-20-2009, 01:59 PM   #13
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I did my first comp last year using 4 naturally aspirated WSMs.
The only thing that prevented me from sleeping was the mosquitoes.
Practice on your WSMs every chance you get.
Know your WSMs inside and out, and let them go.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 02:31 PM   #14
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I second the practice sugestion. You really need to know your smoker. Add the same amount of coals each time. Practice with the same amount of meat that you will be cooking for a comp. Take notes of your practice and things will get pretty routine.

The remote thermometers will help you sleep better too. Its a lot easier to open one eye at a remote than it is to get up and walk over to the smoker.
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Unread 02-21-2009, 08:19 AM   #15
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I was in the same boat...get a stoker or guru

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brew-B-Q View Post
I just need to figure out how to force myself to stop boozing and go to sleep. That's a point of emphasis for me this year...
With the crew you're cookin with you had just as well forget that notion
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