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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 08-16-2006, 11:57 AM   #16
Q Haven
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Having just started competing this year, the best advice I can give is to do your homework before you go. There are tons of places on the Internet, on this site and others, where you can learn so much about the do's and dont's of competing.

When I went to my first event this past May, I was ready for almost everything that came our way. But I learned a few things:

1. Make sure you buy good tents. Our cheap Wal-Mart tent snapped in the first hour in stiff Rhode Island winds.

2. Make friends with the teams around you quickly. If you forget something or even just have questions, established teams are a great resource. Everyone seems eager to help.

3. Do your research on turn in boxes. There are plenty of teams that put pics of their boxes up on the Internet. The pictures can give you good ideas about what your boxes should look like. Make sure you have the right lettuce and garnish.

4. Remember to have fun!
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Unread 08-16-2006, 12:19 PM   #17
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I cooked more than that at the last comp... but then, I had a new smoker that needed the exercise! :) We did 4 brisket flats because I was injecting with FAB-B Lite, 3 boston butts... 2 to pull, 1 to slice, 6 slabs of spares, and about 24 thighs. We also cooked a bunch the night before to feed a group of people that came by.
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Unread 08-16-2006, 03:40 PM   #18
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Once you get some experience, you will be able to cook less food. Your gut will tell you when buying meat and cooking it as well. A small but very helpful item during crunch time. Get a dry erase board and write on it not to ask for samples during that time period. After turn in you will have sample available. I acually take a table with tongs & paper towels and place it up front and out of the way to place my samples on. When I am done with a box, the food goes in a pan & up front. Spectators are free to help themselves to what they want. It only took 1 time for a spectator to walk in & reach over me during turn in to fix that. I love the public, but leave me alone for 2 hours.

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Unread 08-16-2006, 03:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ModelMaker
My Gawd GGRIFFI!! I hope you have a lot of hungry neighbors thats a ton of food your plannin on cookin up!!
Good luck though.
ModelMaker
I hope so to!

Originally I was only going to cook one brisket and butt along with 3 slabs of ribs and 12 chicken thighs for comp. However after reading several threads here about having multiple butts and briskets I decided to go with two each. I will be using my weber as well so I will be cooking the chicken on that and it should be ok. The only concern I have is having to watch two cookers but I don't see that as a major problem.


Dr. Guy,

I couldn't agree more about the value of searching this site for the info. I have probably saved a bunch already.

g
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Unread 08-16-2006, 03:58 PM   #20
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I've only done one contest but I made it a point to make friends with the people around me. Easiest way to do this? Make some fatties and pass them around!

And don't take too much stuff! That is the main lesson we learned the first time out. We had four truckloads of stuff and didn't use half of it. OF course we have four people on our team. This probably wouldn't be AS MUCH of a problem on a 1 or 2 person team but it can still get out of hand.
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Unread 08-22-2006, 09:27 AM   #21
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Default Lessons from the Road

I thought I'd add some of my personal experiences from our first competition this past weekend. I know a number of the things mentioned on this thread really helped out (zip ties were a lifesaver in the rainstorm and I made sure we had our tent sides down during turn-in times to avoid visitors with empty guts, for example).

* Organization. Create storage boxes, tool boxes, whatever, for everything you need and make sure it ends up back there so you know exactly where to reach when it's crunch time. Also makes loading and unloading much easier.

* Tall tables make a heck of a difference. We brought standard wooden folding tables and realized after getting only 1/3 of the way through trimming all of the meat that bending that far over for long periods of time does terrible things to your back. I saw a lot of PVC extensions (legs inserted into pieces of PVC) and Bad Bones had some great expandable tables from Costco.

* Again, don't try to do everything yourself. Divide responsibilities, whether assigning each person a category of specific duties. Lay it out in advance and stick to it so you're not stepping on each other.

* If there's grass, why setup your site on dirt? It looked great in the sun, next to the bathrooms and turn-in station, but the downpours turned it into a swamp. I think that's an basic rule of camping too but I was a pretty bad boy scout.

* Make sure your tent is well staked. At about 2am it lifted up and took off like a 12x12 foot kite, breaking a couple legs. Luckily we were able to bend them enough to put it back up, otherwise it would have been an even nastier night in the rain.

* When in doubt, use multiple gauges, especially on our relatively inexpensive smokers. Drilling an extra external thermometer or bringing one extra wireless thermometer would have alerted us much earlier on that the smoker temps were way too low, instead of finding out six hours before turnin and racing to catch up (unsuccessfully on the brisket, unfortunately).

* Above all else, don't take it too seriously, at least out of the gate. I almost drove myself nuts after a bad showing instead of focusing on what did work, what we had overcome, and what we accomplished. One great showing (fifth in grilling on Sat) and one bad showing (37th on Sun) equals one average overall showing with a ton of great lessons, new friends and memories.

- Clint
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Unread 08-22-2006, 10:29 PM   #22
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Clint,
Well said, and replies like your's is what I was looking for. It is really nice to pull up a thread like this when you are new to the sport. Also, I will never be able to compete like the pros with my schedule and budget, so your advice about not taking things too seriously really rings true!
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Unread 08-23-2006, 05:40 AM   #23
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Noah, we only compete now and then... we did 2 last year, we'll do 3 this year, and 4-5 next year. That's as much as we ever expect to do... But we try our best, while having fun!
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Unread 08-23-2006, 09:24 AM   #24
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Just a small tip for "staking your tent" on cement, Grab 4 of those colapsable water jugs used for camping, fill them with water and tie them to each leg of your tent. Beats the heck out of bricks because you dump the water out and only transport empty plastic jugs.
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Unread 09-12-2006, 03:22 PM   #25
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Noah (and others who posted here),
Thanks for the benefit of your experience. In addition to the place here in Florida, we also still have our place in Covington, Ga. I plan to visit the competition there on the 13th and 14th of October. I hope to meet you and others there. I've never been to a competition so I'm really looking forward to it.
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Unread 09-12-2006, 03:37 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thunderbelly
Just a small tip for "staking your tent" on cement, Grab 4 of those collapsible water jugs used for camping, fill them with water and tie them to each leg of your tent. Beats the heck out of bricks because you dump the water out and only transport empty plastic jugs.
Funny that Bill would revive this thread and that this was the last post.
Yesterday, I bought a lot of 5 collapsible 5 gal bottles off of EBay for about $14 delivered.
No more concrete blocks to deal with--YEAH!

TIM

Twas gonna tell ya about this Chad--but you get to hear it here first
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Unread 09-12-2006, 05:15 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thunderbelly
Just a small tip for "staking your tent" on cement, Grab 4 of those colapsable water jugs used for camping, fill them with water and tie them to each leg of your tent. Beats the heck out of bricks because you dump the water out and only transport empty plastic jugs.
Well iffen ya got a cordless hammer drill---tapcons are the answer---and a tube of grey caulk covers the holes

Buzz
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Unread 09-12-2006, 05:31 PM   #28
ique
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Fat
Well iffen ya got a cordless hammer drill---tapcons are the answer---and a tube of grey caulk covers the holes

Buzz
Good idea but I guess we didnt do that at the Royal a few years ago? I recall an ezup launching and ending up a few rows away!
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Unread 09-12-2006, 06:07 PM   #29
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file that underlessons learned--after that it has been hammer time!
Our ezup went through the roof of "Everybody Loves Raymonds" tent--he was cooking out of Cali. then now he is in Minnesota running a distillery--cooked next to him a few weeks back--both laughed about that incident--now!
Buzz
maybe looking for another competitor
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Unread 09-12-2006, 08:22 PM   #30
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This site and one other has provided me with the most usefully information.
but the only way to get better is to actually go cook under pressure.
Nothing like it I love It have yet to have a really bad time some just better than others just like????? well you know
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