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Any advice on stepping up to competition level?
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Rock'n S BBQ
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Joined: 27 Oct 2010
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Location: Oklahoma

PostPosted: Thu Oct 28 10 1:16 am    Post subject: Any advice on stepping up to competition level? Reply with quote

I want to enter the fifth annual KCBS sponsored event in my home town in June of next year.
Right now I am a back yard smoker but I think my smoked meat is very good.
What do I need to do so I can step up to the world of BBQ competition?
I have seen Myron Mixon and others talk about the meat is the main difference.
Is the meat they use really that much better than my local butcher shop?
If so how do I get my hands on that meat?
I see in the rules that you have to have a hand wash station, could it be a sink of some type? Do the host of the events give you a water hook up or do I need a tank of some type?
Do I need a refrigerator or can I get by with ice chest?
Can a person talk with and get any guide lines for how the judges want to see the plates or is that something that only comes with experience?
Where should I start? Any advice?
I want to go see a few before June gets here but I sure would like some advise on where and how to get started at it.
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Garry
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28 10 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would suggest you attend a KCBS certified judge training class before you compete. That way you will know what the judging process is like.

I buy meat at Sam's Club.

For a hand washing station we use a 5 gallon insulated cooler. I replaced the push button valve with a faucet that can be turned on for a continuous flow. We put a 5 gallon bucket below it to catch the water.

You don't need a refrigerator, a cooler is just fine. We use two coolers. One for the meats and the other for garnish or other ingredients that need refrigeration.

If possible, find an experienced team that would be willing to have you tag along as a helper at a contest.

Most importantly, compete for the fun of it, not because you expect to win.

Good luck!

Garry
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NaughtyNurse
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28 10 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, where is your hometown? There may be local teams that could help you out with more info
Your meat may be very good, but remember that the judges will only be taking one or two bites to make their decisions.
Shop around for your meat to find what you like. I don't use Waygu briskets, but will not use less than choice grade for comps.
Wash tubs will work for dishes, about anything that will dispense water will work for washing hands. We did have one this year that the Health Dept. came around to check your setup. There should be water available on site to fill your containers.
Ice chest is fine.
Look at the stickeys, there are a bunch of pictures of turn in boxes there.
Most important of all is to go and have fun. You'll meet some very nice people. Good Luck!
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Rock'n S BBQ
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28 10 2:21 am    Post subject: Thanks Garry. Reply with quote

I noticed the Certified judge training on KCBS website and thought that sounded like a good idea for me and my wife. I figured it would be fun and something we could do together but I didn't even think about learning about what they look for.
I have heard many people mention Sams Club but I had no idea they were that good on meat. My wife buys our house supplies there to. Is it just any ole Sams club or is the meat part different?
I see some okies on here so maybe I can see if any of them might let me tag along. I didn't know if they would want to let someone see how they do things or not.
And I really do have a blast smoking and I live to be around people so it will just be icing on the cake if I happened to get in the money. Like I said I just don't want to be last.
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Rock'n S BBQ
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28 10 2:30 am    Post subject: Thanks Nurse Reply with quote

Thank you for the advice.
I am in Ada, OK. The event is "Pigs can fly" and I have noticed there have been several of the KCBS members there for the cook off.
I think even some from this very site.
Most of the events are way far north of me so it will be hard to make them but I want 2011 to be my first of many fun comps.
I need to figure out how to contact some of these Okies to see if they might talk bbq with me.
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NaughtyNurse
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28 10 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are correct, there were some ringers there. And some of them from the Smoke Ring Laughing
I'm not sure what you consider "way far north", but you might consider running up to Stillwater, Enid or some of the other comps next spring to see what goes on and meet some of the teams.
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Rock'n S BBQ
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28 10 3:28 am    Post subject: Thats the ones Reply with quote

Yeah I guess that 6000.00 in prize money and only about 20 teams was a good reason to sneak off to Ada.
I saw those and the ones around OKC aren't so bad, I will try to get her to go with me for a weekend outing or something so I can see what all goes on. I still want to see if any of the Okies teams might let me tag along and ask questions.
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OkieJay
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28 10 9:38 am    Post subject: Re: Thats the ones Reply with quote

Rock'n S BBQ wrote:
Yeah I guess that 6000.00 in prize money and only about 20 teams was a good reason to sneak off to Ada.
I saw those and the ones around OKC aren't so bad, I will try to get her to go with me for a weekend outing or something so I can see what all goes on. I still want to see if any of the Okies teams might let me tag along and ask questions.


I am located a little South of OKC and would be happy to talk with you. The wife and I did Ada last year and plan on doing it again this year. A number of other ringers were there and I am sure they will chime in when they get a chance. We will be cooking at Fort Gibson this weekend (Oct 29-30) and will be joined by Vexter, his wife, the Norwegian National BBQ Team and a special guest. It would be a great chance to see a comp up close and meet some good people. PM me your phone number if you are interested and I will give you a call.
Jay
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Biggens
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28 10 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, Stillwater would be a great contest for you to come to ask questions. Pretty much the best teams in the state will be there and pretty much all of them will give you some useful advice.I also agree with just going out there to have fun. I have never done Ada but heard it is realy good contest. We might have to go there ourselves next year...
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Rock'n S BBQ
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28 10 10:10 pm    Post subject: Great!! Reply with quote

OkieJay, I sure hope that is an open invitation because I would really like to be there but I have to be on call at work for one week a month and you guessed it, thats my week. I would still like to pick your brain if you don't mind. Maybe me and the wife can sneak off to OKC and take you all out to dinner or something. One thing about it, I have some time before I try the competition in Ada so I should be able to go watch and help you at a competition. I can wash a mean dish.
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Rock'n S BBQ
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28 10 10:15 pm    Post subject: Biggens Reply with quote

Biggens wrote:
I agree, Stillwater would be a great contest for you to come to ask questions. Pretty much the best teams in the state will be there and pretty much all of them will give you some useful advice.I also agree with just going out there to have fun. I have never done Ada but heard it is realy good contest. We might have to go there ourselves next year...


Biggens, Stillwater would be ideal.
The one in Ada is along with a pretty good air show so its a good time. I just can't hardly wait to try my hand at the BBQ. Its a long ways away but I'm so pumped and excited I wish it was next week.
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Jo Jo
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28 10 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rock'n S,

I think the most important thing you need to compete is the willingness to learn and have good support. For the most part, don't experiment with a new recipe or technique at a comp. Go with what you know.
As far as meat, I buy my butts at Sam's, chicken at Walmart, and ribs and brisket from a local butcher shop. That's what works for me.
Like other folks, I use a large ice chest for meat, one for liquids I bring (mops, apple juice, apple cider vinegar, BBQ sauce etc.), one I keep available for meat coming off the smoker. The 5 gallon insulated "drink" cooler with catch bucket works great as a "faucet". I also use large storage tubs to keep everything organized: one for my cooker/site, one for ingredients I'm bringing, one for the "kitchen" items. Shoot me an email and I'll send you a check list that I made that helps me get ready.
I've always gone into every comp with the same plan: cook the food the way I know how to cook it, get every thing turned in on time, learn at least one new thing, and most of all HAVE FUN!! Very Happy
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OkieJay
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28 10 11:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Great!! Reply with quote

Rock'n S BBQ wrote:
OkieJay, I sure hope that is an open invitation because I would really like to be there but I have to be on call at work for one week a month and you guessed it, thats my week. I would still like to pick your brain if you don't mind. Maybe me and the wife can sneak off to OKC and take you all out to dinner or something. One thing about it, I have some time before I try the competition in Ada so I should be able to go watch and help you at a competition. I can wash a mean dish.


You bet, PM me your number and I will give you a call next week.
Jay
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Rock'n S BBQ
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29 10 1:00 am    Post subject: Already having fun Reply with quote

You guys are really being nice and helpfull, thank you!
It seems like the main thing is to have fun.
Well the good thing is that I have plenty of time before the June event comes around so I should be able to prepare for it. We have plans for a new smoker that I will be building with hopes of maybe selling them sometime down the road. I really like the idea of doing the judge training with KBCS not only to learn what a judge looks for but it sounds like a fun thing to do on its own.
I am open to any advice anyone wants to give me.
I do have some adjustments to make going from backyard to comps so I will spend my time working on the difference.
I'm thinking the one 2011 event may be all I compete in but I would like to do more the next year.
I noticed that IBCA has an event in Ardmore, OK which is just dwon the road. Are they about the same as KCBS?
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NaughtyNurse
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29 10 1:23 am    Post subject: Re: Already having fun Reply with quote

Rock'n S BBQ wrote:
I'm thinking the one 2011 event may be all I compete in

To paraphrase an old commercial: Betcha can't do just one! Laughing Laughing
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Rock'n S BBQ
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29 10 2:04 am    Post subject: Re: Already having fun Reply with quote

NaughtyNurse wrote:
Rock'n S BBQ wrote:
I'm thinking the one 2011 event may be all I compete in

To paraphrase an old commercial: Betcha can't do just one! Laughing Laughing


LOL You may be right but I'm gonna try and be strong.
Did you see the link to facebook where I have a picture?
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Biggens
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29 10 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The IBCA comp in Ardmore was a couple weeks ago. My wife is the IBCA Head Judge for Oklahoma and she said it was a small but nice comp. She told me that next year they are hoping for more prize money and more teams. I heard the hospitality from the locals was excellent plus she said there is plenty of room where they held it. Our team will be there next year for sure. Since you live in the southern part of the state hop the red river and check out a couple IBCA's and see what ya think. They are really alot more simpler to do, in my opinion. Usually only three meats and no garnishings. That might be the best for starting out(getting one under your belt) before you jump right in.Either way, you will find that bbq cooks are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.
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Rock'n S BBQ
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29 10 3:23 am    Post subject: Question Reply with quote

So at the KCBS event in Ada I would have to do garnishings?
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NaughtyNurse
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29 10 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Per KCBS rules, garnish is optional. And that is a whole other can of worms for some people. Judges are not supposed to consider the garnish (unless it is an illegal garnish) when judging, however I think most people believe that your appearance score will suffer if you don't use it.
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Stu's Q
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29 10 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Rock'n S... nice to hear of more folks in the central Oklahoma area are getting into competition BBQ. The guys on this forum are awesome and will be a great wealth of info for you. I think all of the suggestions so far and specifically the idea of coming to a competition like Stillwater is a great idea. There are lots of contests around that time including Tecumseh, Chandler, Claremore, etc. Honestly, taking a KCBS judging class and judging a competition gives you a leg up because then you know what other boxes look like and what the judges at your table are scoring certain presentations, tastes, and tenderness and gives you insight on what you should turn in and per-fect before competing.

Keep asking questions on the forums and venture out to some of the other forums and keep reading. There is LOTS of info/discussions out there and pictures of turn in boxes, etc that will you tremendously.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Stu
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