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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 02-02-2010, 01:32 PM   #1
O-Town
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Gentleman, I hope this is the right spot for this post. My question is this:
Concerning competitive cooking. What kind of cost are involved to get ones self going in the competitions? I have the gear to smoke with and have read up on just about everything I can. The closest answer I have found is it can be high! I am mostly interested for now in the "backyard style events" until I can prove myself worthy of going up against the "pros".....Thanks in advance....
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Unread 02-02-2010, 02:06 PM   #2
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the highest cost will be the meat you cook and the entry fee.the entry fee will vary by the comp.i still do back yard and might spend right about 300.00 for the meat and entry fee.
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Unread 02-02-2010, 02:07 PM   #3
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If you're asking about costs to participate, we budget $850 per competition that's
within a few hours drive. If it's longer, as we're hauling an RV plus a van, the gasoline
costs can jump. As only about $250 of that are entry fees, and the entry fees
can come pretty close to that in some backyard events, I wouldn't focus on only
backyard events even when you get started.

In an earlier post I itemized the actual costs, and it's almost always right at $850.

In KCBS, you'll want 3 racks of ribs, possibly a few more. You'll want a minimum of
12 pieces of chicken (usually thighs), but we go with 16+-. I've heard about folks
going with just 1 brisket; we always do 2 unless the guy gives me a great deal, then
we'll get a 3rd just because we enjoy eating BBQ'd beef. We always do 3 pork
butts; some just do 2.

FBA pretty much same as above. MBN... 12-15 racks of ribs, 6-8 whole pork
shoulders, and a whole hog. I suggest NOT starting with MBN.
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Lake Sinclair, GA (strategically about an hour from darn near anywhere)
Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.
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Unread 02-02-2010, 02:18 PM   #4
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I have to agree with Lake Dogs.

I figured our first competiton (which was a backyard event) was going to cost about 300.00.
It ended up closer to 700 or 800

The reason?

it was my first comp. so I (wisely) spent several weeks prior to the comp. practicing with comp. quality meats.

So not only do I have to buy meat for the comp. I had to buy fuel (charcoal, wood, etc) & meat for the practice cooks

of course you also have your rubs..spices are not cheap.

and then there is the beer.....
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Unread 02-02-2010, 02:22 PM   #5
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in my estimate of 300.00 that did not include the beer.with beer it does get very expensive
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Unread 02-02-2010, 02:23 PM   #6
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Wow, I had a feeling it could run up there in cost...but I reckon it ain't much different than me spending 4 to 5 hundred on a weekend fishing jaunt. Can I assume most of you have sponsors or perhaps y'all split the cost as a team?
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Unread 02-02-2010, 02:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
If you're asking about costs to participate, we budget $850 per competition that's
within a few hours drive. If it's longer, as we're hauling an RV plus a van, the gasoline
costs can jump. As only about $250 of that are entry fees, and the entry fees
can come pretty close to that in some backyard events, I wouldn't focus on only
backyard events even when you get started.

In an earlier post I itemized the actual costs, and it's almost always right at $850.

In KCBS, you'll want 3 racks of ribs, possibly a few more. You'll want a minimum of
12 pieces of chicken (usually thighs), but we go with 16+-. I've heard about folks
going with just 1 brisket; we always do 2 unless the guy gives me a great deal, then
we'll get a 3rd just because we enjoy eating BBQ'd beef. We always do 3 pork
butts; some just do 2.

FBA pretty much same as above. MBN... 12-15 racks of ribs, 6-8 whole pork
shoulders, and a whole hog. I suggest NOT starting with MBN.
hes absolutely dead on with the amounts and the costs
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Unread 02-02-2010, 02:27 PM   #8
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So far the guys have given you the costs for a comp. Have you also factored in the startup costs for equipment? You mentioned that you have the smokers, but how about the other stuff? EZ-up, tables, bus tubs, etc? Don't forget those.
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Unread 02-02-2010, 02:27 PM   #9
Lake Dogs
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Yes, when I was talking about $850, that included food, beer, gasoline (for the autos),
charcoal, meat, spices, broth/injections, etc. etc. Soup to nuts. Most backyard
comps will cost you about the same for everything as a sanctioned cookoff, except
the actual entry fee is usually a little lower...

MIM, wow, many additional costs. The $850 goes to $1600 for us, and we dont
even do whole hog any longer.... I'm seriously thinking this next year of ONLY doing
ribs...
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Lake Sinclair, GA (strategically about an hour from darn near anywhere)
Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.
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Unread 02-02-2010, 02:29 PM   #10
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lake dogs is right. We cook 4 racks of ribs, 4 butts, 2 briskets, and about 5lbs of chicken. You'll need rubs, sauces, tables, coolers, pots, pans, the list goes on. Your first one will cost the most, take notes. Also, figure you guys will need to eat something, drink something other than booze, than you gotta figure in the booze. Id reccomend getting someone to help with the costs. We have a 3 man team and pretty much split everything up pretty evenly, its only fair, if we win something we're splitting the pot.
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Unread 02-02-2010, 02:30 PM   #11
Lake Dogs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
So far the guys have given you the costs for a comp. Have you also factored in the startup costs for equipment? You mentioned that you have the smokers, but how about the other stuff? EZ-up, tables, bus tubs, etc? Don't forget those.
YES! Dont forget those. You'll need at least 1 10x10 tent (dont go cheap
here, you'll regret that decision), and think through/practice taking meat
from table to cooker, cooker to table, cutting/slicing/pulling, you'll need
tubs for cleaning, knives, etc.

Oh, FIRE EXTINGUISHERS. DONT FORGET THAT.

;-)
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Hance - Lake Dogs Cooking Team - MiM/MBN/GBA CBJ and comp cook
Lake Sinclair, GA (strategically about an hour from darn near anywhere)
Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.
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Unread 02-02-2010, 02:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
YES! Dont forget those. You'll need at least 1 10x10 tent (dont go cheap
here, you'll regret that decision), and think through/practice taking meat
from table to cooker, cooker to table, cutting/slicing/pulling, you'll need
tubs for cleaning, knives, etc.

Oh, FIRE EXTINGUISHERS. DONT FORGET THAT.

;-)
But once you have ALL of that, it's smooth sailing........until you have to buy new gear in a few seasons.............
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Unread 02-02-2010, 02:32 PM   #13
Lake Dogs
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I completely understand the logic behind starting with a non-sanctioned back yard
comp. However, I learned more from my first sanctioned comp than I ever learned
in the back yard one... Maybe that's just my experience. However, looking back,
it'll take a few comps before you overcome some of your own misperceptions. Perhaps
if you start off with sanctioned you'll overcome it more quickly than I did.

Best of luck, and frankly, WELCOME.
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Hance - Lake Dogs Cooking Team - MiM/MBN/GBA CBJ and comp cook
Lake Sinclair, GA (strategically about an hour from darn near anywhere)
Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.
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Unread 02-02-2010, 03:36 PM   #14
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I did 9 contests last year and it cost me about $1500. Drove better than 3300 miles at 55.5 cents per mile included in the calculation. Nice to get some quality calls.

I cook 2 butts (4 this year), 2 brisket, 3 slabs and 10 thighs. Usually buy a pack of 15 or so thighs and if I trim at home the culls get boiled up for the dogs.
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Unread 02-02-2010, 04:02 PM   #15
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This is NOT an inexpensive hobby. That being said, you can do a LOT with just a little money.

The first comp I did, I did with one other person. We split the entry fee and the cost of the meat. We did one brisket, one butt, three slabs of ribs and maybe 12 chicken thighs.

Our set up was my Chargriller offset and a Weber Kettle. We had a couple of folding tables (one of which was a folding card table) and a stake-down canopy with poles for shade (luckily the comp was held on a grassy field, otherwise we'd have been screwed). We had a couple of coolers we used for camping, knives, utensils, bowls, cutting boards, etc. from our kitchens, a few rubbermaid tubs that we used as our 3part sink, two folding chairs and brother, that was IT.

We looked so trailer park the only thing missing was an old, rusted out camaro on blocks. But we spent a total of about $300 AND out of 83 teams we took 6th in Brisket and 2nd in Ribs (Florida Smoke and Bones beat us in Ribs, so we felt ok with that). Based off our scores in the other categories we participated in, had we done all of them, I'm fairly certain we'd have placed in the top ten overall.

All I'm saying - and with no disrespect to the folks who put literally thousands of dollars into their rigs and meats per competition - you don't have to have all that stuff to have a great time and do really well.
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