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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 12-28-2010, 02:14 PM   #1
Black Dog BBQ
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Default One Man Band?

I'm planning on doing some comp.s in the future. Do any of you guys go it alone? or do you have a team? I only ask because most of my cooking buds are not as fanatical about Q as I am. To be fair they have other interests and hobbies. Can one man do it alone? Just wondering.
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Unread 12-28-2010, 02:40 PM   #2
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There are a lot of one man teams out there. Ford, from Great Lakes BBQ and Feed cooks alone when he is not vending. So does Scottie from Cancersuckschicago.com at times. The hardest part for me would be turn-ins, and if you ask you can generally find someone willing to be a runner for you.
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Unread 12-28-2010, 02:41 PM   #3
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I have a team, but last year I found myself cooking solo a few times. It is a bit of a challenge, but doable. One thing you'll want to do is get your timing down and plan ahead (have foil pre-torn, sauces out, pans and knifes ready, etc.). Come turn-in time you will experience the fastest 2 hours of your life. It is a lot of work, but very gratifying when you get your name called.
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Unread 12-28-2010, 02:42 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply Ron.
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Unread 12-28-2010, 02:57 PM   #5
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I have help for tasting and that's all. Lots of work, but more fun. Runners help until they drop one. With some pre-planning and organization, one can do well.Steve.
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Unread 12-28-2010, 03:06 PM   #6
Scottie
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As Ron stated, I cook by myself at quite a few contests. Or I have help from my girls who at 13 and 9. In the summer months, my sister, who is a teach, joins us.

It can be done. While I don't like to do turn-ins while I am cooking solo, I do it.

trust me when I say... If you win a GC on your own, it is a special reward...
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Unread 12-28-2010, 03:26 PM   #7
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I'm a one-woman team. Just takes organization and begging real hard not to be 20 minutes from turn-in!
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Unread 12-28-2010, 03:50 PM   #8
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2011 will be the 3rd year I've cooked, basically, by myself. I've averaged about 5 comps per year the first 2 years and plan on trying to double that this year.

As has been stated, organization is key. I found, I don't have nor did I need, near the items / junk that I carted around on my first few competitions.

Also, Sleep is your friend. The morning comes fast and furious. And anytime you walk, as a one person team, its a great feeling.

Good luck!
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Unread 12-28-2010, 03:56 PM   #9
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IBCA contests are much easier to do by yourself than KCBS contests. Having an hour between turn-ins(typically) is nice, plus you don't have to worry about garnish. The key is to be well-organized and to pack as light as possible.
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Unread 12-28-2010, 04:08 PM   #10
Black Dog BBQ
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Thanks folks. I'm a contractor by trade and since my father retired I work a lot on my own. Kinda used to the pressure and staying organized. I appreciate your advice and all the info I've been getting from this site. I plan to start slow and keep my eyes and ears open.

Thanks again
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Unread 12-28-2010, 04:18 PM   #11
Rich Parker
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I cook on my own and love it. I don't have anybody to blame but myself. Sometimes my wife will show up on Sat to run the boxes but if you talk with organizer before the event most will help you get close to the turn ins.

A couple of things that helped me was making sure i did as much as possible before the comp which included prepping all the meat, washing the garnish, mixing sauces, and mixing rubs. If you get a good rep you can sometimes get your boxes before the cooks meeting which then allows me to get them done sooner. Don't procrastinate!
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Unread 12-28-2010, 04:43 PM   #12
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I say go for it, I done them myself , with help from my wife running the boxes.

it's easy, trim all meat at home, make your boxes at home, have all marinades mixed, sauces figured out, and spices ahead of time. when you get to the contest, get the meat inspected, and go visit.

the nice part is that all decisions are yours.

I also compete with a another team (it's in my signature), and that is a blast too. shared costs, having fun with friends, and not having to worry about every little detail.
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Unread 12-28-2010, 07:00 PM   #13
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The box runner would be main thing.....Suprising how many teams that do well delegate to single train o thought....
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Unread 12-28-2010, 08:03 PM   #14
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I am also a solo act. I have a couple of buddies who come during turn-ins to run the boxes and hold them while I'll load the boxes. They also come in handy when it's clean up time. I usually ask them to show up no later than 11:00 and they've never let me down. I feed them when they are there and it works well.

I would agree that timing and planning are very important. To help out, I try to have all of my trimming of the meat done before I get to a comp. Prepping at a comp can take a lot of time and if the work is already done, I can focus on getting things arranged the way I want them and sometimes the reps will let you have the boxes early so you can get started on them early on Friday.

From the moment I get up on Saturday, it's all work with very little time to sit and relax, but as someone stated earlier, when you do well and you did it alone or almost all alone, it is very rewarding. I was at a comp in 2009 and had an higher overall score than a very good team with a lot more amenities and experience. One of the teammates came over after the contest and congratulated me on a good job. I didn't win any award that day, but the recognition from a cook I really respect made my day.

Don't be afraid to give it a try!
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Unread 12-28-2010, 08:21 PM   #15
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You should talk to Todd also... 9 times out of 10 Plowboys BBQ is a one man show... 4 Legs Up is many times as well... I cooked solo a few times this year.... I dont like itl. I hate cooking without my wife, but will do it in a pinch. At one smaller contest, I didnt have a runner (usually you can find one if you ask around), but it is doable with the right planning.
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