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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 01-22-2010, 08:17 AM   #1
Bamabuzzard
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Default Tips on entering first bbq competition

A friend of mine and myself are considering entering a local bbq competition this Spring. We're kind of intimidated, no VERY intimidated about doing this.

Is there any tips y'all could give that would be beneficial for first timers? Such as how much meat to bring etc?

Thanks in advance.
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Unread 01-22-2010, 08:34 AM   #2
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I've yet to enter a comp on my own, but have worked with a few teams. Here's a "ballpark" of what they've cooked for a comp:

2 briskets
2 pork butts
6 racks of ribs
18 - 24 thighs or 4 to 6 whole chickens

Best of luck to ya!

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Unread 01-22-2010, 08:34 AM   #3
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I typically bring 2 Butts, 2 Briskets, 4-6 racks of Ribs, and 18 pieces of Chicken. I do my trimming at home, when I can, then foodsaver them so the inspector can see them.

We do a couple of dry runs at home, before the season starts. Make it as realistic as possible, all the way thru to actually making boxes and turn-in. Take notes of things that work and what doesn't, how the site is set up, what you really need vs what is nice to have. The good thing about a practice is that if something is missing, you can run in the house and get it. At a comp it not that easy. Try to limit the trips inside.

But the single biggest thing to remember is to have FUN!!! This is something that you enjoy doing, don't make it harder than it has to be. When is becomes work (unless you plan on vending), its time to find something else.

Shoot me a PM or email at biguglybbq at verizon dot net, if you have specific questions.
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Unread 01-22-2010, 08:49 AM   #4
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Have you been to a competition before? Try to find a local team who is will to let you observe (and maybe even help) so you get an idea of the schedule and level of acitvity at different times. Then, as mentioned above, practice! Practice the different meat categories to get your timing down, and then practice setting up and cooking as if you were at a comp. That will help find some of the little things that you may have forgotten to put on your packing list.
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Unread 01-22-2010, 08:52 AM   #5
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some bits of advice that helped me when I started out:

start your fire an hour earlier than you think you need to
It's easier to control a small fire than a big fire
Try to do more cooking and less drinking - party all you want after turn in
wipe your knife blade after every cut
whatever they may tell you, it's a sauce contest. Sauce everything!

Like others have said, the most important thing to do is have fun!
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Unread 01-22-2010, 09:05 AM   #6
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Have Fun!!! You can figure the rest out later...
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Unread 01-22-2010, 09:12 AM   #7
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Barnabuzzard, check with your local KCBS affiliate and inquire if a judging class is available. Can't hurt to know what the judges are looking for, assuming you enter a comp using KCBS judges.
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Unread 01-22-2010, 09:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Ugly's BBQ View Post
I typically bring 2 Butts, 2 Briskets, 4-6 racks of Ribs, and 18 pieces of Chicken. I do my trimming at home, when I can, then foodsaver them so the inspector can see them.

We do a couple of dry runs at home, before the season starts. Make it as realistic as possible, all the way thru to actually making boxes and turn-in. Take notes of things that work and what doesn't, how the site is set up, what you really need vs what is nice to have. The good thing about a practice is that if something is missing, you can run in the house and get it. At a comp it not that easy. Try to limit the trips inside.

But the single biggest thing to remember is to have FUN!!! This is something that you enjoy doing, don't make it harder than it has to be. When is becomes work (unless you plan on vending), its time to find something else.

Shoot me a PM or email at biguglybbq at verizon dot net, if you have specific questions.
Bama, you'll be fine. See above. This is fantastic advice. All points
are dead on. Have at very least 1 dry run through, with ALL the meats,
all the timings, use a 30 minute turn-in window. You dont have to have
a box, but it'll help. If no box, use a tupperware thing or a plate and
definitely work through slicing the meat, pulling the pork, getting the
money muscle out, etc.

Also, have a LIST of items to pack. More often than not we see first
timers miss something, and sometimes it's BIG/critical (the item that
wasn't packed). Packing list, then for me, I have a timing to-do list.
This way at 3:00am, with little or no sleep, I remember to do this or
that. More often than not, what I miss is something around 7am or 8am
with sauce. That to-do list, for us, is critical.

Then, the biggest and most accurate piece of advice was above, have
FUN. Know that stuff happens. It happens to every team, almost
every time. Just watch BBQ Pit Masters. Even old Myron screws up or
misses something once in a while. If you're having fun, it really wont
matter.

Bring backups of those things that can fail and you cant do without. If
it's lighting, if you only bring one light, sure as the world the bulb will
go out, or some such thing. Have backups where you can. We always
have a few extra knives, 2 sets of lights, LOTS of water, lots of gloves,
too much wood (hate to run out of fire; that would SUCK). Extra
spices too. I pre-mix my rub. However, I bring most of the ingredients,
just in case... I've loaned out some of them a time or two also. Having
extras is nice when the guys next to you forgot their black pepper....

Best of luck!!!
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Unread 01-22-2010, 09:19 AM   #9
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I know Hammond isn't exactly in your backyard, but take Ford up on his offer. He was looking for a food runner to help him in February.

Tip:
Try to come up with a gameplan. You don't want to just "wing" it and throw something together.

And of course, PRACTICE. And I don't mean cooking stuff and throwing it on the table for your buddies to sample (that's important, too) but I mean...try to do a "mock" competition where you give yourself some turn-in deadlines and go through the motions of cutting/pulling & plating up some turn-in boxes.

Lastly, go easy on the booze Friday. Save it for Saturday afternoon.
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Unread 01-22-2010, 09:47 AM   #10
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I would give this thread a click.
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Unread 01-22-2010, 09:54 AM   #11
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Make a game plan and stick with it.

Try going to a comp and judging or just go around and ask questions and see what the folks are doing.

Remember that many of the teams out there have been cooking for many years and they know what the judges are looking for. Do not get discouraged. Most of us have learned that lesson well.

If you plan on making changes. make sure they are small ones, that way you can fine tune what you are doing.

Make a plan and stick to it!!!
Make a plan and stick to it!!!
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Unread 01-22-2010, 10:12 AM   #12
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Buzzy, if you get a chance to observe a contest being judged, even if it's not a KCBS
competition, you can learn quite a bit. I'm a certified judge and have been for many
years. It surprised me how many team members were in the judging class vs. folks
that actually wanted to be judges. There's a lot to be learned. However, 90% of it
can be learned just by watching the judging process closely and frankly observing
what comes across the table. This way perhaps you'll avoid many mistakes.
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Unread 01-22-2010, 10:18 AM   #13
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Here is my advice (from a previous thread).

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Unread 01-22-2010, 10:58 AM   #14
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Pretty much what they said...^^^...

1. Practice...get your cooking times down...
2. Taste...get your flavor profiles down...
3. Turn in boxes...get your garnish down...
4. Game plan...write it down...
5. Packing list...get your equipment down...
6. Have fun...get your groove on down...

Good luck!
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Unread 01-22-2010, 11:05 AM   #15
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My advice is don't do it. You'll get addicted and want to do it over and over and over again! The only thing I'd disagree with from the above advice is the two briskets. For a first competition I'd only do one, but that's just my opinion. The best advice is to have fun and try to soak in what is going on around you as much as possible.
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