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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 10-19-2009, 09:14 PM   #1
QansasjayhawQ
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Post Maiden Voyage

Besides being one of my favorite recordings of all time by Herbie Hancock . . .

Wow - competing as our own team at Parsons, Kansas was one helluva lotta fun!

It was also one helluva lotta work! :-)

As it turned out, the entire team consisted of myself . . . and my wife Nancy. We competed under the name of my brother's business, Many Hats Creative. (Long story, but let's just say I owe him one.)

At one point (it was Saturday morning at 1:25AM), I was awakened by the sound of rain falling on my hat as I was sleeping in my chair outside, next to the smokers. I had an alarm set for the top of every hour to feed them with fuel. Getting wet in 35 degree weather with sustained 15 mph winds out of the north . . . that was too cold! But that was the worst point in the entire weekend.

The field of competitors was top notch with many of the 15 teams having been invited in the past (one year or another) into the American Royal Invitational.

Our best finish was tenth in brisket and 11th in pork. The ribs were 12th and we came in dead last in chicken. Well, except for the ringer they threw in, in order to make it an official competition. (Must have 15 teams.) She cooked ONLY chicken and she was the ONLY team we beat in chicken.

One of the high notes is that not one of the 100% certified judges gave us anything lower than a 6 on any of our elements. (I felt really good about that, also being a regular judge and knowing and respecting the judges.) We were within 22 points of the grand champion team (that's a fairly tight field!) and we finished 13th overall beating out a rookie team from Texas in the final analysis.

The best lessons I learned were: Do NOT take an unknown piece of equipment into competition and try to use it. I failed to grasp the (simple, easy) concept of how to use The BBQ Guru that Todd (HawgsNHeifers) insisted would make my life easier . . . I forgot to close the unused vents on the Weber Smoky Mountain. I wound up roasting the brisket within about four hours. Nancy tried to tell me that I should have cooked the brisket just like I have been at home, using the Brinkmann offset. She was right and I will heed her advice next time. I have been producing totally kick-arse brisket at home lately.

Secondly, I tried a new chicken recipe during testing earlier in the week - an herb/garlic marinade with BBQ rub which produces a complex bouquet of flavors that I was sure would just knock the socks off the judges. Fact is - most of the judges are looking for the best, simple, traditional BBQ chicken. So, even though I (and Nancy and my daughter and her husband and my son Michael) LOVED the new recipe - the fact is I should have remained true to my normally simple recipe - 'marinade' in sea salt, freshly ground pepper corn melange and EVOO overnight - then lightly sprinkle with rub before grilling on the Weber kettle with a very small amount of cherry chips on the fire.

So . . . bottom line is that competition is no place for experimentation with either equipment or recipes.

We were so tired by the end! I am still stiff and sore today from loading and unloading everything (canopy with walls, three cookers, tables, chairs, tent and etc., cooking utensils, four coolers with ice, food, groceries, and so forth and so on) using our two small Toyotas, filling every nook and cranny . . . and then repeating the process when we were on our way home . . . only brief catnaps over night Friday into Saturday . . . well, we were absolutely toasted physically and mentally by the time we got back to the house in Lawrence Saturday night.

But the bottom line is that it was great fun and I enjoyed working on it with Nancy there with me! And that's what is important.

I must at this point send out huge amounts of love and mad props to HawgsNHeifers who let us borrow a lot of his equipment! That made it about ten times easier than it would have been without the water heater, the kitchen, WSM and other items!

We will definitely compete again . . . and it's only a matter of time before we get it all under control and predictable and . . . :-) heh heh . . .
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Unread 10-19-2009, 09:30 PM   #2
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Dude nice story and sounds like you learned a ton from your first contest! The key is u had fun. Hopefully you can hit a contest in and around KC next year. Congrats on getting your first one under your belt. Hope to see at a contest next year.

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Unread 10-20-2009, 07:46 AM   #3
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Great report and glad you learned alot with your first comp. But better yet I am glad you had fun. Keep working on those recipes and understanding your equipement.
Congratulations!
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Unread 10-20-2009, 07:56 AM   #4
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great story, and kinda reminds me of my first time, you did awesome!!! Keep at it!
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Unread 10-20-2009, 09:38 AM   #5
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I'm glad that you had fun and survived the wet and cold! Getting everything turned in on time and no DQs is a great thing for a first time out!
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Unread 10-20-2009, 10:29 AM   #6
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Great story Glad you had fun Hope you do it again next year
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Unread 10-20-2009, 01:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
I'm glad that you had fun and survived the wet and cold! Getting everything turned in on time and no DQs is a great thing for a first time out!
Absolutely!
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Unread 10-20-2009, 01:51 PM   #8
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Glad you had fun and every one came back safe.

I remember my first comp... We couldn't fit everything into our 6x10 trailer, now there's room to spare. Don't worry, learn from each one and take it to the next!
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Unread 10-24-2009, 03:50 PM   #9
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Talking



OK - please bear with me here - Nancy and I got ourselves a digital camera (FINALLY! no more cell phone pics) and I wanted to post some of the pictures from competing in Parsons here.

(This is my first attempt at bringing the image in from a third party site so Phil and all don't have to store the pics on the Brethren's server and use their bandwidth.)

So, here are the ribs right after they came off the Brinkmann offset. I had to cut the racks in half to fit them in the Macgiver style rib rack that Nancy had to fashion out of an aluminum pan (just like the one the ribs are in here) because I forgot to bring the rib rack. Can you believe I didn't even put the rib rack on The List? Oh well, that make-shift rib rack worked great!

In the picture, I am pointing out to Nancy how the meat has pulled back from the ends of the bones just about right . . . and she snapped a picture.
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Unread 10-24-2009, 04:04 PM   #10
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OK - that worked pretty good. That little "Print Me" logo is mildly annoying . . .

Here I am standing next to Todd's HawgsNHeifers Brethren banner that we displayed.

I never would have been able to do this without all the help and encouragement of the folks here on the Brethren forum.

I owe you all A LOT! :-)



And here are the ribs right before we shut the turn-in container. We forgot to take a picture of the chicken. Nancy did the garnish. This one actually drew two sevens, two eights and a couple of nines out of the six judges.

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Two Weber 22.5" kettles One Brinkmann Smoke'N PitMaster Deluxe One LARGE WSM! (special black glossy finish) w/Stoker! WooHoo! KCBS Member/KCBS Master CBJ #24295
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Unread 10-24-2009, 04:16 PM   #11
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Here's a picture of Nancy frying up some bacon in a cast iron skillet on the Weber kettle. She made a bacon explosion that night for our dinner.



This brisket was so far over-done I was happy to be able to get what looked like seven pieces into the box. I'm sure the judges had a hard time getting it out. BUT - it was really delicious!



And here I am holding the pork entry. It really wasn't as dark as it looks - I presented both slices and a pile of pulled. For the pulled pile I tried to include as much meat from near the bark as possible. It scored really good on taste . . .

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Two Weber 22.5" kettles One Brinkmann Smoke'N PitMaster Deluxe One LARGE WSM! (special black glossy finish) w/Stoker! WooHoo! KCBS Member/KCBS Master CBJ #24295
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Unread 10-24-2009, 04:40 PM   #12
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Nice pics thanks for sharing.
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Unread 10-24-2009, 05:52 PM   #13
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Aside from the Jayhawk crap, all looks pretty good :-)
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Unread 10-24-2009, 06:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crd26a View Post
Aside from the Jayhawk crap, all looks pretty good :-)
Thanks!

Well, you know, we DO live in Lawrence, after all . . . :-)
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We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it. - Abraham Lincoln
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Two Weber 22.5" kettles One Brinkmann Smoke'N PitMaster Deluxe One LARGE WSM! (special black glossy finish) w/Stoker! WooHoo! KCBS Member/KCBS Master CBJ #24295
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Unread 10-25-2009, 08:03 AM   #15
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Great job Bro. and nice pics.
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