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Competition

SteveWPBFLSteveWPBFL Posts: 1,250
edited March 2012 in EggHead Forum
Now that I've had my BGE for a few months and have realized its upgraded cooking capability I'm wundering about the next level, competition BBQ, etc.

Are we talking definite higher level but hush hush, trade secrets and all that?

Are 'competition results' within reach of the average Joe Egger?

Do you need to pay your dues like you do to be great at anything else?

How much better is competition BBQ than what we're all discussing in here on a daily basis? And if it is so much better what's an example of why?


Comments

  • GreenhawKGreenhawK Posts: 398
    I competition cook, and use the egg for chicken.  We use a large sick burner for the other stuff because of the room.  It's nice to have the egg separate for cooking at a different temp than the other meat.  Most people that you see cooking with Eggs have multiples.  Probably one for each meat category that they cook in.  If you had friends that live close to you that can join in with you, that would be great.  Each one of you could bring a cooker.  You could also just pick a category or two to cook in at first.

    We got really close to placing in our first competition.  We did a lot of practicing before, which is about as fun as the competing.  The second comp. we took 5th in pork and 10th in ribs.

    I really enjoy it.  The competitions that are close to us always have bands and other entertainment on Friday night, so we invite all of our friends for a party.  We always cook a ton of food for the party, and let everyone chow down.  I think we have had 50 people in our little square before.  The tough part for me is the staying up all night with the fire on the stick burner, but it is also a big part of the fun and the competition.

    It's hard to say the difference in the quality of food of the people on this forum and the competitions.  I cook every meal like it's a competition, but I haven't tasted the product of anyone else on the forum.  I think it is a fun hobby though.  

    A good source of information is the KCBS and the Smoke Ring.  They both have good forums and info on competition cooking.
    Large BGE

    Decatur, AL
  • rsmith193rsmith193 Posts: 219
    We cook for both fun and competition also. We are also certified judges, there is a diiference in the two. The best thing you can do is find a local comp. and jump in with both feet. Remember two things, first have fun, and second ask others around you for advice. They will always be more than happy to help.
  • One of the biggest things to remember is it isn't what is good to you. You are cooking for the judges and their wants and tastes. I've been fortunate to have as friends a few of the top competitive barbecuers to ever do it. A couple of yrs ago they told me they don't really care to eat what they turn in because todays judges want everything so sweet. They actually keep a book on who the judges are and try to cook to their taste. Texture is a big deal. You and everybody you know may love your fall-off-the-bone ribs but that's a no-no in most competitions. And they have to be ready at an exact time. As far as paying your dues it's more of gaining the experience and knowledge. Almost all events use a numbered blind box method for your food turn in. The judges usually have no idea who's food they're eating so rep doesn't mean much. There's no reason anybody around here can't compete well if they want to put in the time, $ and effort. I've turned what I learned on the BGE into a very good bbq business.
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,295

    Are we talking definite higher level but hush hush, trade secrets and all that?

    Are 'competition results' within reach of the average Joe Egger?

    Do you need to pay your dues like you do to be great at anything else?

    How much better is competition BBQ than what we're all discussing in here on a daily basis? And if it is so much better what's an example of why?


    Howdy Steve.
    Competition Q is certainly at a high level. You may already cook an award winning rib at home. You may cook award winning pork. The challenge is really whether can you turn in consistently excellent chicken, ribs, pork and brisket a half hour apart starting at noon after cooking all night. Sure there is some hush hush, but most of the cats are out of the bag as to what the top teams are doing. Watch Pitmasters. Check out the other forums where competitors hang. It's all out there, and other teams are definitely willing to help.

    Yes, competition quality food is in the reach of the average egger. We jumped in the water in 2002, and were 8th overall in our first competition. We did practice, and may have been one notch above average joe egger.

    Yep, ya gotta pay your dues.  You can jump in any time, but to compete with the talent of today, it's going to take a commitment of time and money.

    Great competition food (not all competition food) is pretty amazing for a few reasons. The food that goes into the box is the absolute best of all that was cooked. The perfect morsels of meat and bark from 2 or 3 pork butts for example. The flavors are perfectly balanced because that cooks are using techniques they've been repeating (and sometimes tweaking to improve) for years. Some of these cooks are competing in 40 contests a year...which means cooking the same 4 meats nearly every weekend. They get pretty good at it.

    Jump in! The water is fine.
    Cheers
    Chris
    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • SteveWPBFLSteveWPBFL Posts: 1,250
    Interesting comments, appreciate the responses.

    The main thing here is maybe after all these years I've discovered what I want to be in life. And that is, a BBQ JUDGE! Wunder how you go about doing that?
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,295
    Judging is fun. It's not difficult to become certified.

    Check out this page for upcoming classes:

    Cheers
    Chris
    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • CrimsongatorCrimsongator Posts: 5,551
    I am starting my 3rd year of doing competitions and have enjoyed it. My suggestion is to find a backyard/shadetree comp that is close. You will only cook ribs and chicken to begin with. The entry fees are less but so is the amount you can win. I jokingly call that 'pro lite'. There are some very good teams that cook and most will chat it up and be happy to give you suggestions. Like Chris said, the timelines are specific and you need to be ready to cook BBQ with a specific deadline in mind. At home if dinner is 30 minutes late, so what. In a comp it means low scores. Give it a try, you'll be hooked.
  • SteveWPBFLSteveWPBFL Posts: 1,250
    I will be on the lookout for competitions in South Flarida. I went to one in Lynchburg, TN. In the late 1980's thinking 'eat' but it all went to the judges. Maybe just roll in set up and cook and see how it goes because unless you're cookin' you're only lookin'!
  • CrimsongatorCrimsongator Posts: 5,551

    Either Friday afternoons or Saturday after turn in is the best time to talk to teams. If you get a good conversation going on Saturday you may get to try some of the leftovers that didn't turn in. We don't mind giving out some as long as it doesn't interfere with the site trying to sell food to people.

    As for contests, it is all about trying to turn in 6 appealing, consistent pieces. You can check out bbqcritic.com to see boxes from what teams are trying. All of the flavors we do are more intense because a judge will only take 1-2 bites per turn in. The sweets and heat are that much more to try to capture the judges attention (in a good way)

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