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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 09-30-2010, 06:01 PM   #1
Dragline
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Default Getting started?'s and an offer

Well I'm just getting started in Comp's and have been to a few unsanctioned and have had a unbelivable time (you BBq'rs are great people). I have been bbquing for quite sometime for freinds, family and catering have enjoyed good reveiws and comments, I have been reading all the Forums and been getting alot of info, made some posts concerning smoker's, and have made contact with some other BBq'ers but might have found that some can be a little leary which is fine, I surely don't want anyone to feel like I'm wanting secret's just info is all. My question is how can one get started, I know just by going to sanctioned events, but does one start small and work your way up and how does going to events like the Royal work,do you have to be invited or can you compete in the open class,I know the Jack is by invite only, and what events should one cook in KCBS,MBN or which one, it's all rather overwhelming from the outside looking in and I'm sure its personal preference but how does one decide which one to compete in and where to start, whats the best advice. I am going to the Jack and am taking the KCBS Judge's class thought that might help me in the long run to find more info about what I'm doing or should be doing, also am hoping to gather some insight into the cook off world. And lastly since I am going to the Jack I'm putting the offer out there if someone might need help with anything at all even pulling a trailer down if need be (I'm in northern Indiana)just to have the opportunity to watch, learn and listen. I appoligize for the long post and rambling as well as all the questions but just trying to get my head around all this.

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Unread 09-30-2010, 06:14 PM   #2
indianagriller
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Just find a contest and do it, I live in south central indiana and started at Madison Ribberfest and just went from there, you can do a backyard event at a KCBS comp if they offer it or you can jump in with the pros. We did 6-8 contests this year and plan to do a few more next year. KCBS is more prevelant than MBN or anything. Good SMokin Luck!
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Unread 09-30-2010, 06:55 PM   #3
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Well, I wish I was head to the Jack . . .

I started out with a friend from work (HawgsNHeifers on here). We had no idea what we were doing, but he started out asking questions, just like you are - and reading here on this site a lot - and we dove in head first at a competition that had 60 competitors that year because we were well acquainted with one of the hometown folks (Puppyboy on here).

We had all kinds of logistics problems and we didn't have a time line . . . we were truly flying by the seat of our pants! We made each turn in on time, did not get a DQ and we didn't come in last. We called that a success, after some discussion.

It was (and is) a lot of work and a mental challenge as well as a physical challenge. But it's great meeting all the new people and having fun cooking together. I used to love playing in battle of the bands competitions . . . it's kinda like that.

So - if you know someone close by where you are, you might 'pair up' with them - request to be situated close to their site - although you cannot cook on each other's equipment. That way you can help each other out and make it that much more enjoyable. If they are a townie, they can help with local stuff as well. (Like, where is the grocery store?)

If you don't mind being embarrassed by tens of competitors, then enter a bigger contest. If you enter a small contest, they will mostly be your friends by the end anyway - and what's winning and losing among friends?

I hope these thoughts help you out -
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Unread 09-30-2010, 08:34 PM   #4
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My first contest was a contest with about 35 teams that was relatively close to home. We had no clue what we were doing. Not even close. Didn't know about wrapping butts and putting them in the cooler to rest. Didn't know that you should do your prep boxes more than 10 minutes before turn in. Didn't know anything about bite through chicken skin. Didn't know anything about prepping meat at home. We had 1 EZ up, 2 WSM and 1 or 2 tables. We didn't know anything about PVC leg extensions either. My full size truck was so full of stuff (most we didn't use) that there was just room for me to drive and even that was a little cramped. Don't bring chocolate donuts for breakfast in 90 degree heat and leave them on the table overnight.

What we did know was that we had a great time, made all of the turn ins and didn't finish last in any category. Made some friends there and been having fun bbq'ing ever since. Go for it.
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Unread 09-30-2010, 10:54 PM   #5
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What we did know was that we had a great time, made all of the turn ins and didn't finish last in any category. Made some friends there and been having fun bbq'ing ever since. Go for it.[/QUOTE]

This is good advice!
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Unread 10-01-2010, 09:42 AM   #6
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Yes, anyone can enter the "open" event at the American Royal. To cook on the invitational night, you have to be invited - like the Jack. To get invited to the Jack, you have to win a Grand Championship, and be a little lucky in the lottery.

Taking the judging class and offering to help teams out is a good start. What everyone else is saying is also right: just do it. You won't win GC on your first time out, but you will learn a lot. Many teams are willing to share tips, at least until you start winning. Just make sure you approach people when they are relaxing, and not when they are prepping meat or doing turn ins.

Don't worry about starting small, sanctioned contests are all run the same way - one of the nice things about them. I would pick an affordable contest that is close to you, and then take on more if you like it. (Which you will )

Taking a cooking class is a good idea too. Maybe you make the world's best backyard bbq, but many of the classes will also cover things like preparing boxes for different types of contests, how to garnish, and what works in a contest. (They will tell you to cook for the middle of the road. Funky experimental flavors and super hot spices won't win. You want classic bbq flavors that are well executed.)

Read the rules of the sanctioning body for the contest you want to enter. Don't get disqualified because you used the wrong garnish, seasoned meat at home, or decided to turn in chicken breasts stuffed with sausage. (Not legal in KCBS, your chicken turn in has to be only chicken.) The rules aren't hard, but you need to know them.
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Unread 10-01-2010, 11:28 AM   #7
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You should absolutely check this book out, it's very well written, funny, and enjoyable... And it's targeted precisely at you.
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Unread 10-01-2010, 04:44 PM   #8
Dragline
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Thanks guys I do appreciate all the advice keep it coming
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Unread 10-01-2010, 04:46 PM   #9
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Thanks for the link Prairie Smoke, am ordering the book
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Unread 10-02-2010, 09:24 AM   #10
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Think about taking a class. There will be a ton to choose from in a few months. If you don't mind coming to Iowa you are free to hang out with us next season at a comp to get a feel for how things go.PM if you want
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Unread 10-02-2010, 01:22 PM   #11
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I did my first comp just to see how good my Q was. I was only going to do butts and brisket, cuz it was all I cooked at home. Folks on here encouraged me to do the whole thing, so I did.

Do one. You will not be disappointed I promise. Even if you don't do well, you will learn some great things and meet the best people in the world.

I do at least one a year now just to make sure I get a chance to see all of my friends from here, learn something new, hopefully teach something new to someone, and to encourage others to get into BBQ at home.

And I do it to hear my team name at the end. (As my buddy Pimpsmoke says, "I'm a vain bast*rd and I just wanna hear my name called".)
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Unread 10-02-2010, 06:32 PM   #12
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Do a competition judge class if you are going to cook KCBS. That got me started down the right path.
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Unread 10-02-2010, 11:49 PM   #13
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Umm, I was wondering how much meat do you even bring? and How many boxes of each do you turn in? I know this is somebody else's post but I think it would be better to ask it here than clutter up the board with what probably is a stupid question. Is that in the contest rules?
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Unread 10-03-2010, 07:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beast Drinker View Post
Umm, I was wondering how much meat do you even bring? and How many boxes of each do you turn in? I know this is somebody else's post but I think it would be better to ask it here than clutter up the board with what probably is a stupid question. Is that in the contest rules?
Good question.
I cook 2 briskets, 2 butts, 6 racks of ribs, and (if turning in thighs) 18-24 thighs.
Turn ins are one box of each meat with at least 6 individual servings.
Hope that helps.
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Unread 10-03-2010, 08:09 AM   #15
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I cook 1 brisket, 2 pork butts, 3 racks of ribs, and 12 - 14 chicken thighs. That is the quantity that comes in each package from the store.

If you trim everything at home before you go than you can make sure you have good meat before you get to the contest.
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