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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 08-17-2010, 01:52 PM   #1
pigdog
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Default For those of you whom cook competitively.......

how many years was the span from starting q'ing for fun in the backyard to your first comp? I've been toying with the idea of comps, but I have a ton to learn just in the backyard. I guess it would be ok to go out and pull a Paul(1st pitmasters), but I'd rather not.

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Unread 08-17-2010, 02:11 PM   #2
Smoke & Beers
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19 months. I would have done it sooner, but that fear of "pulling a Paul" kept me from doing it sooner. My words of advice...go for it!
I've competed in 2 contests so far...got a 6th place call in Chicken at our first contest thanks to my teammate TrustTheDust and a first place call in Brisket my last go round.
We'll be competing in our 3rd contest ever in two weeks with hopefully equal or even better results...
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Unread 08-17-2010, 02:15 PM   #3
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good for you S and B. Those are definitely accomplishments to be proud of. I'd have to upgrade my cookers considerably.
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Unread 08-17-2010, 02:17 PM   #4
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Do you use your barrels for comp?
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Unread 08-17-2010, 02:20 PM   #5
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2 years. Most of that time was due to monitary and new baby issues.

If I had any advice to give, it would be to find a team in the Mentoring Section of this fine forum (Mods; make my check out to...) and work with them for a contest or two if you can. You'll work your butt off, make some lifelong friends and learn more than you thought possible. Ask questions, take notes, listen... And above all else HAVE FUN!!! This is the greatest hobby (obsession, whatever) on Earth and the coolest people on Earth are as equally obsessed as we are.
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Unread 08-17-2010, 02:41 PM   #6
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tmcmaster is right on the mark! The mentoring area is there especially for those who want to get their feet wet in competition BBQ. If you can't hook up with any local brethren, at least attend a local competition or two. Talk to as many of the cooking teams as you can and observe everything. You will discover all sorts of different methods to produce good BBQ.

Competition BBQ is different from backyard BBQ. If your backyard BBQ is done a little late, it's not that big of a deal. In a competition, it is. A backyard BBQ is the place to experiment with new sauces, rubs and techniques, but definitely not at a competition. I have only done a couple competitions myself, but the focus is more on time management and eliminating any "variables" that could creep into the cooking process. The objective is always to produce a specific result within the exact time frame provided.

As for your question it took me about twenty years to go from backyard cook to my first competition. That being said, I wish that I had done it a lot sooner. But then, I didn't have the BBQ Brethren site to teach me what I needed to know!

Good luck!
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Unread 08-17-2010, 04:24 PM   #7
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Default Just do it!

I bought my first smoker, a Char-Broil Silver Smoker (COS) in 2007 and used it a few times each summer to smoke ribs. I joined this website in 2009 looking for some help with my ribs and began to take backyard bbq very serious. In 2010, I got 2 18.5" Weber Smokey Mountains and a 22.5" Weber Kettle and decided to take my passion for bbq to the next level. It was the knowledgeable and friendly members of this website that convinced me to enter a competiton. So in May 2010 I began practicing heavily in my backyard. After going crazy practicing, making checklists and timelines, making and modifying rub and bbq sauce recipes, I was ready to enter my first competition, The Battle of the BBQ Brethren, in August 2010.
I took 4th place in the pork category and 31 out of 36 overall. I would've done better but I got hammered in the chicken category. (Note: If something tastes good when you cook it in your backyard, don't change the recipe at a competition!) It doesn't really matter what place I came in though, the fact that I had a great time with my father and uncle, met some really cool people, especially the brethren, and learned a few things made it a success.
So, my advice is, if you are considering entering a competition, just do it. Go and have fun and don't take it too serious. Everyone there was a rookie at one point. And you'd be suprised to see how friendly and helpful the other teams can be. If you're serious about it, look in the events section of this website, or on the kcbs website, and look for an event near where you live. Find out if any brethren are competing in this event and pm that person and see if they can mentor you.
Bottom line, if you practice and prepare, and don't go into it thinking you're going to walk away the Grand Champion, you will have fun and you won't regret it.
I had so much fun at my first event that I am now competiting in 2 more events in the next month. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me.
Good Luck!
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Unread 08-17-2010, 06:21 PM   #8
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Johnny did various non-sanctioned stuff for three years before we hooked up. After 18 months of cooking together, we started entering sanctioned shows as "pro" cooks.
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Unread 08-17-2010, 06:31 PM   #9
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Where is the "mentoring" section?

I am looking for a BBQ Yoda in my neck of the woods.
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Unread 08-17-2010, 06:34 PM   #10
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Guess this is going to age me, but +- 25 years. Lots of reading along the way, and
lots of trial and ERROR. The web would've shortened it greatly. Now 6+- years ago
I started judging. It REALLY helped see what was coming across the table and why
something won and why something didn't do well. Then talking to successful
competitors and later helping a few out when not judging. Then about 3 years ago
we started on our own. So far we've about broken even on the money, and to me
that's not too bad for a hobby. I still judge some times too, but I really prefer the
competition and goofing with friends.
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Unread 08-17-2010, 06:49 PM   #11
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Just get involved! If there is a BBQ organization in your part of the country, become a member. Volunteer your time, become a judge, take a BBQ 101 or Competition class. It is not a cheap hobby, so start planning what you'll need to cook the 4 meats on. PNWBA is all about mentoring new teams that want learn.
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Unread 08-17-2010, 06:52 PM   #12
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I cooked for 2 years before jumping in the ring, and the first couple of years I only did 2 or 3 a year before moving on to the current "Hey, we are competing 5 weekends in a row" kind of schedule.

Don't wait, it's a learn-by-doing kind of sport. Look for reasonably priced contests to start, and do a practice cook. Maybe you make great stuff, but can you cook everything at once on the same smoker and have it all done on time? Have a plan, test it, and then dive in.
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Unread 08-17-2010, 08:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiter Q View Post
Where is the "mentoring" section?

I am looking for a BBQ Yoda in my neck of the woods.
In the competition bbq section.
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[URL="http://www.thesmokenbarrel.blogspot.com/"]The Smoke 'N Barrel Blog[/URL] [URL="http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Smoke-N-Barrel-Competition-BBQ-Team/124849310898216?v=wall#!/pages/The-Smoke-N-Barrel-Competition-BBQ-Team/124849310898216"]The Smoke 'N Barrel on Facebook[/URL] [URL="http://twitter.com/#!/thesmokenbarrel"]The Smoke 'N Barrel on Twitter[/URL]
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Unread 08-17-2010, 10:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigdog View Post
Do you use your barrels for comp?
Yep. 2 UDS and a Traeger that we use just for chicken.
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Unread 08-17-2010, 10:14 PM   #15
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Just over a year and a half.

Ken
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