Entering first competition

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hesco
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Entering first competition

Postby hesco » Sat Aug 02, 2014 3:57 pm

So me and my buddy were bored and decided to try to do all three meat cook today on my simple little back yard pit and amazingly they all fit and are looking great so far. (will post food picture later). My question I guess is we are entering a contest the first weekend of September through TGCBA they have one at a church close to the house. Is there anything truly different from cooking bbq in a contest with all three meats than cooking in your backyard? Now to preface this question I have been doing chili cook offs for several years and this year am actually 3 for 3 in walking in those and I am ready to put my big boy britches on and go cook comp q. I think the thing I am most concerned about is what all is required for turn in. Do I need to furnish my own boxes or are they provided to the cooks? How are these events laid out? Are you wall to wall with the cookers next to you or is there typically space between them all? Any feedback is appreciated as well if anyone else will be there cooking let me know so I can maybe pop by and introduce myself and ask any last minute simple stupid questions that I know I will have.
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Big Ed
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Re: Entering first competition

Postby Big Ed » Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:10 pm

First off I'd like to say welcome to an addicting hobby!!! All competitions are different as far as the camp space goes, some are packed in tight and others there's a ton of room. Backyard cookers hit often and I would recommend you to go and judge a couple cook-offs just to see the final product. The turn in boxes are provided by the promoter, Good luck to you and Smoke On!!! :salut:
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Re: Entering first competition

Postby All_Grilla_No_Filla » Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:12 pm

Big Ed wrote:First off I'd like to say welcome to an addicting hobby!!! All competitions are different as far as the camp space goes, some are packed in tight and others there's a ton of room. Backyard cookers hit often and I would recommend you to go and judge a couple cook-offs just to see the final product. The turn in boxes are provided by the promoter, Good luck to you and Smoke On!!! :salut:


Yeah, all that!! ^^^^^^ They're a lot of fun, and you'll meet some of the best people you'll ever meet at BBQ comps. Best of luck, search here for the massive archive of information on the subject, and above all, enter into it with the mindset that you're gonna have some fun and do your best, and then what happens, happens, and you're really going to enjoy yourself...be sure to share your experience with us!
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Re: Entering first competition

Postby garzanium » Sat Aug 02, 2014 11:57 pm

X3. Person running the comp can answer all your questions, they will cover slice thickness for brisket, #of ribs, half chicken ect. No garnishing in TX for most all comp, so no need to worry. I learned everything here:grin:

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hesco
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Re: Entering first competition

Postby hesco » Sun Aug 03, 2014 3:52 pm

Thanks everybody. I am ready to do this and have fun doing it in the process. I know the promoter can answer most quesitons. I am just slightly OCD and like to sort of know everything I can before diving head first into something. I think the biggest change will be the fact I won't be able to just walk inside and get something I need. So we started making a list. Anything we touched no matter how we touched it or what we used it for we wrote it down on a list for ourselves. I am going to go into the first several looking to learn. If I get completly smoked I get smoked but I will learn a new lesson for the next time. Yesterday my brisket pulled apart way to easy and my ribs were at the point of coming off the bone. Everybody loved them. Me I hated the fact they came apart too easily when I tried them. Going to give it a full test run on the 16th just to see what all we need to change before going to cook on the 6th. I can't wait to see what happens with this venture.
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Big Ed
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Re: Entering first competition

Postby Big Ed » Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:07 pm

You want ribs that fall off the bone, the judges use a plastic knife and fork!!!
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Re: Entering first competition

Postby BigDave » Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:42 pm

Welcome to the forum! As having done chili cookoffs and BBQ cookoffs I can easily say there is no comparison. Chili takes 2 or 3 hours at most. BBQ is a lot longer. You get close to a turnin window with chili and it can be turned in as its done. BBQ way different. You miss the turnin window on bbq cuz it ain't done and you are finished for the day in that category.

You are doing things right by cooking in the driveway having your own mini-competition. Might I suggest you make copious amounts of notes on when you started fire, when put on meat, weather type, windy or not, raining or not, when was that category done. How long did it take so you can back down from a turn-in time to know when to start fires and such...

Make a detailed list of everything you used and I mean everything such as, spices, what kind, utensils, supplies, how much wood, charcoal, sauce, etc. Make sure you pack that STUFF. Kinda sick feelin to find out ya left something at home and you are not close to a grocery store or if'n you are..do you have time to go there before turn-in. Yep, believe it, stuff gets forgotten.

You will do OK. Good luck! :)
hesco
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Re: Entering first competition

Postby hesco » Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:28 pm

Yeah I have been taking notes on everything. I am very detail oriented person. Some call it OCD. Me I blame the military. I am going to be doing another practice run and see how everything goes got a few things to change on the pit before I cook again. The good thing is the first few we have found to enter are right around the corner from the house so if something is forgotten it can be fetched. But I will probably over pack just to make sure I have everything I need. I just have to make sure I have copious amounts of Rub, Marinade, Wood, and Glaze available in the when I leave the house. I think it is going to be an adventure. I may screw up a few but that is how you learn.
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Re: Entering first competition

Postby Markw142 » Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:13 am

Most comps kinda go like this...You show up anywhere between noon and 5-o'clock get your spot assignment, and set up your cooking area, The head judge or appointed meat inspector comes by and randomly checks to make sure that you haven't pre-seasoned your meat. (trimming is ok, just no spicing/brining/injections etc. (nothing to alter the taste)...Then your party, hang out with friends, make new friends with the teams around you, try not to get too drunk etc, until the time you feel you need to start cooking to make the turn-in times...some start right after meat inspection, others wait till morning, it varies wildly, They may or may not have a cooks meeting Friday night, The flyer for the cook-off will normally give you the events and turn-in times, The turn-in times are again "normally" staggered about 1 1/2 (apart occasionally 1 hour apart). The order is, again usually, "open" (usually anything but the 3 main meats), beans etc...then chicken, then ribs, then brisket. At sanctioned events the head judge (sanctioning body representative) will hand out the boxes at the mandatory cooks meeting Saturday morning (ungawdfully early if you ask me). You get a 20 minute turn in window (10 minutes before and 10 minutes after) from what the judges clock says (no other clock counts, so synchronize). Then as each event approaches you pull, rest, cut, put the required amount(spelled out at the mandatory meeting) of meat in the tray and walk up to the turn-in location.....then around 5pm they have the results announced....have fun and smoke on!
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Re: Entering first competition

Postby ikiru » Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:38 am

Im not a pro by any means, but I have done 3 comps now, so things are still fresh in my mind from my first comp.

btw....these observations all come from someone that does not have an RV (someone that jealously hates every one of you lucky b@stards that have one)...

When I cook, I am also OCD-like. I can't stand a dirty kitchen and I am constantly cleaning after myself (I blame my mom, who was a Lab Tech at the local hospital). In a comp (usually in some dirty parking lot), there is no running water, and if you are lucky to have a generator, you need to pony up for some electricity. Have plenty of paper towels. I find having a soapy bucket and a fresh water bucket helps keep hands clean between messing with meat. A bucket with bleach water is also a must for sanitizing down your cooking surfaces and cutting boards. Make sure your trash can is big. For some reason (probably me going through tons of paper towels) we generate a lot of trash during a comp.

One of the things (aside from running water and a toilet) that you have to deal with without an RV is the elements. Not sure where your comp is, but here in North Texas, sun and wind are my nemesis (is that plural? nemisi?). Get a good quality pop up for shade and a couple tarps for blocking wind, especially around your prep area (keeps your paper towels from flying all over the place). At our last comp, we happened to luck out by getting a spot near a tall fence. We just tacked a tarp up to the windward side of the fence and we were set! Those cheapo tarps from Harborfreight are great for this!

Also, get some sleep! I literally have my other cookmates force me to grab a couple hours of sleep. This is tough, especially since we cook on backyard cookers. If you are human (sub-human in BBQ Comps) and have a backyard burner, take shifts with your comp mates.
Those guys that pony up for the nicer smokers also get the luxury of sleeping (I hate all of yall too!...dont get me started about those guys who have both an RV and a 40lb gravity feed smoker...yes, that feeling is my jealous eyes burning a hole in your back). Seriously, in our second comp, the guy parked next to us had a 40lb charcoal gravity feed attached to his BBQ trailer shack (fitted with a full sized bed, TV, running water...). We saw him once before he went to bed, and once when his timer went off to tell him to refill the feeder in the middle of the night (he ended up second or third place overall). Meanwhile, I was freezing my arse off (we had an unseasonable cold front move in) feeding sticks into my el cheapo brinkmann style cooker wondering if the experience was closer to the 5th or 6th layer of heck...but I digress (we did get a 6th place brisket call that year though...whoo hoo).

Lastly, the end of the comp is my least favorite part. You are tired and dirty and just want to go home for a bed and shower. It helps to keep everything you use packed away once you are done using it. Large rubbermaid tubs help keep everything together and help in breaking down your site.

Have fun! Take notes (and learn from them of course). Dont drink too much! Make friends. Ask questions of the veterans (and take some things they say with a grain of salt). Dont miss turn in!
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Re: Entering first competition

Postby Wtxsmoker » Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:50 am

My advise... Your friends may/will come out expecting a party like your backyard cooks. At my first comp I pulled my ribs and set aside to rest as I cleaned up my sauce mess and getting my turn in box out. When I returned everyone was sampling my ribs. I had to scrounge out some left overs from I had cooked up for dinner Friday night.
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Re: Entering first competition

Postby Markw142 » Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:33 am

Clorox, or Lysol wipes are a MUST in my book. we use them to keep everything, knives, prep table, hands, (also wear gloves) clean and sanitized...paper towels, extra fuel for the genny, extension cords, el cheapo clamp on lights from Lowes or Home depot. at least 2 garbage cans (my opinion) 5 gallon buckets from also from Lowes or Home depot have proved very valuable. you can fill them with water to hold down your canopy, or use them as your three wash, rinse, sanitize buckets, also good back up seating LOL. Also don't forget to get the sanitizing tablets from a restaurant or bar supply. ( you drop a couple in one of your dish sinks) hmm I usually like to bring at least 2 cutting boards...one for raw prep and one for slicing finished food. knives, and sharpening stones, I usually use an electric knife for slicing, but I have backups just in case. A can opener, lots of drinking water, you can also get some portable bladders to keep hand washing/dish water on hand. Extra chairs, a cot, change of clothes, sunscreen...kitchen sink (yeah like that LOL) This list of course is above and beyond what you'd bring to cook your food LOL (oh and don't forget snacks, food, drinks for the cooks, It can get pretty hungry out there when you smell the magic all night and all you have is some old fries you found in the floorboard of your truck that fell out of a bag sometime in the past and have fossilized LOL)
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Re: Entering first competition

Postby hesco » Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:15 am

Yeah food is going to be the big thing for me. Especially remembering to eat. I plan on using the same method I train my dogs not to get on the counters if people start grabbing for food before I am ready for them to have it. A little shot of some colorox/water mixture to the nose. Works on dogs should work on humans. I need to get another tarp or two to keep the wind at bay and provide some shelter if it decides to rain. Which the long term forecast has it being a rainy weekend. All in all I think it will be a good learning experience. I am going to use it to be better prepared for going off to the Shiner cookoff in October.
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Re: Entering first competition

Postby Swamp Donkeyz BBQ » Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:36 am

Don't forget to drink plenty of water too. You'll get dehydrated before you know it with everything going on.

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