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Old 09-23-2010, 10:35 PM   #1
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Join Date: 09-11-10
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Default Rookie Mistakes

I am heading to my first contest (KCBS) and am wondering what the common rookie mistakes are or if anyone has compiled a list of the common mistakes rookies make at their first KCBS comp. I am sure I will figure out a couple of new ones


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Old 09-23-2010, 10:45 PM   #2
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Not really mistakes, but there was a thread a couple months back about site setup tips. Might be a couple of good ideas to go over here:
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Old 09-23-2010, 10:51 PM   #3
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Putting something in the box other than the meat and correct garnish. Count your toothpicks and be careful with the foil! Only use green leaf, romaine, or iceberg lettuce and/or curly; flat parsley or cilantro.
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Old 09-24-2010, 01:07 AM   #4
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Stick to your plan and your timeline. Don't get caught up in all the other things happening outside of your site.
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:29 AM   #5
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Tooth picks and slow down. You will want to rush getting your boxes in on time and will end up turning in way early.
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:56 AM   #6
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The #1 mistake I've seen, time and time again, is the team getting very drunk. The
results afterwards vary, but the original mistake was drinking too much and not
thinking clearly. I saw one team get drunk enough they actually passed out asleep
at 5:30am and the first guy sorta began stumbling around just before 12:00noon.
They didnt make a single turnin that day.

6 pieces of meat or more. If you're putting big chunks of meat in the box (ala. a
money muscle or two [or three]), make sure you slice them so that there's at
least 6 pieces of those as well.

Nothing, and we mean NOTHING other than meat & garnish in the box. No flakes
of foil, no toothpicks, no little serving cups with sauce in it, no $20 bills.

Know that the turn-in time is a HARD deadline. 1 second late is a DQ.
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Old 09-24-2010, 07:17 AM   #7
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I wouldn't say there are common mistakes and wouldn't even focus on that b/c if you try so hard to avoid those "common" mistakes you're bound to make mistakes elsewhere. There are so many moving components that anything can go wrong at any time. I speak from experience b/c we were a rookie team this year.

In one contest I forgot a key ingredient for my chicken, in another we broke the tab on the turn in box, we put the garnish in the top side of the box rather than the bottom.

My best able to adapt and recover from mistakes b/c they are bound to happen.

Though I would have to agree with Lake Dogs...the drinking is something to look out for.
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Old 09-24-2010, 07:21 AM   #8
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Some really good advice here. We just did our 2nd KCBS last weekend, and for sure slow down. If your meat is done and resting, take a breath after chicken turn-ins. If you are like me, you will be pacing like a madman. Resist the urge to fill that box too early.

I also think an unspoken part of the comp is how well a team can function on turn-in morning after having little to no sleep. If you are hung over it only gets worse.

And finally, don't do what we did on our first outing, where we decided to modify our cooking method to try and get 2 butts and 2 briskys out of a single WSM, not having done it before in the backyard. Bad idea to alter your method at the contest IMO. Needless to say, we wound up pulling the extra cuts at 2am and letting the WSM do what it was designed to do, how it was designed to do it. Ugh.
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Old 09-24-2010, 07:27 AM   #9
somebody shut me the fark up.

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Great thread...thanks to the OP and the responders (respondents?)

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Old 09-24-2010, 07:40 AM   #10
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Default Well...

Not doing a practice cook and then being "surprised" by how things are different. Best advice I got was to do a practice cook and anything I needed from inside my house write down so I would be sure to have what I needed at the cook.

Good Luck...

One other thing...don't get to worked up about's just BBQ...HAVE FUN
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Old 09-24-2010, 07:43 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by DMDon View Post
Stick to your plan and your timeline. Don't get caught up in all the other things happening outside of your site.
I agree with Don. Sticking to you timeline (in writting) is huge. you WILL start second guessing yourself about 5-6AM.
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:22 AM   #12
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I did my first KCBS event last week - my rookie don'ts:

  • Don't second guess yourself
  • Don't try and hit your timing too tight the first time out - having to pull something out of the cooker a little early is better than a DQ (we didn't get a DQ but we had a CLOSE turn in)
  • Don't make changes on the fly
  • Be prepared for uneven ground; bring shims for tables and cooker
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:27 AM   #13
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I think that a common mistake happens after turn-in. Folks assume that they will show up at a first comp and win the whole thing. When they don't get the big calls frustration sets in and they stop doing comps. Your first comp, IMO should be about getting your feet wet. As you do more you'll get more efficient and learn not to waste steps and you'll enjoy it more. The calls will come.

That's not to say that some teams don't come swing for the fences - and jack one out - on their first comp. But that's pretty rare. As with all things in life slow and steady wins the race.

This all comes from a loser who is probably trying to reationalize why my best finsh in two seasons is 3rd overall (not counting non-sanctioned events where I have done better)
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:58 AM   #14
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have a turn in box check list. in pitmasters series #1 Tuffy forgot to sauce his ribs before turn in. fortunatly this got him a win. for me it has produced the opposite result.
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Old 09-24-2010, 10:20 AM   #15
somebody shut me the fark up.
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Have reasonable expectations.
To date my team has competed once a year and each time we compete we have the same goals. #1, don't miss any turn-in times. #2, Don't finish DAL in any category.

Make sure your ribs are completely cut and there are at least 6 ribs. I turn in 8 because it looks better in the box (IMO).
Toothpicks. If using them, make sure they are clearly visible so you don't miss any, or count them as you pull them out.
Don't slice meat on foil or paper or anything that might attach itself to your turn in. (Last year the team next to us was DQ'd on an entry because there was a strip of foil on the bottom of a slice).
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