Tons of good info here! There was one thing we started doing last year to safe on meat cost. We always seem to has people asking us to cook something for us. We used this to help defray some of our cost. We would cook the meat we needed for the contest, pick out the best to turn in and the unused meat would go to whoever paid for the BBQ. We cooked as many as four briskets, four pork butts and nine slabs of spareribs. But our cost remained the same or was less.
The best advice? Have fun and make friends!