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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Getting Ready for a Contest

Well Folks; Let me talk about getting ready for a contest. I'll start by saying, I got a huge ego, and when it comes to my BBQ team there is only one Pit Master and it's me. I know some teams have more than one Pit Master and each one cooks a different category, and it works for them. "The Man, The Grill, The Magic" competition BBQ team has one Pit Master, and its me. When the team gets a call, it's because I cooked some great BBQ and if the teams finishes Dead Ass Last, it because I cooked some bad BBQ. That's not to say that my brother in-law Greg, and My son Bill aren't important members to the team, they are. It's just that I spend a lot of time practicing and trying  different flavor profiles and working on the time lines to insure a good result. Greg and Bills job during a contest is to help set everything up, and keeping me calm and on point. They are watching the Temps, of both the smokers, and the meat. I have a time line written out and they watch it and make sure I'm ready to do the next step. They really keep me on point, so that I don't have too many things to keep track of, and I can just  focus on making Great Q.

Now I'm not going to bore you with a list of everything I take to a contest. I will give you a couple of quick pointers that even if you don't do a contest you can use if you are just cooking a picnic and you're not cooking at home. The first thing is make a list, sit down and write down everything you need to BBQ. I mean everything from the the pop up tent, to all the meats, to the pits and charcoal.  What seasoning and rubs are you going to use how about sauce and ice. The prep tables, knives, paper towels. Without a list, I promise you will forget something and when you're 20 minutes from the nearest store its not the time to find out you forgot the the BBQ sauce. You can find some very good lists on the BBQ Brethren Forum, make copies and check off each item as you load. Now if you are doing a contest you may want to do a practice cook at home, taking everything you think you need outside, and any time you have to go inside for something write down that item. Now when you get done anything you didn't use take off the list. Remember everything you take, you have to pack, unpack and repack to take home after the contest. No need taking anything you aren't using. This is where my teammates Greg and Bill are a big help. After I get done cooking 4 categories of BBQ, I'm worn out and loading everything back up by myself is really tough. I've done this and I don't like it, I'm getting too old to work that hard for a hobby.

That's just a quick overview of what it takes to cook a BBQ contest. If any of you are thinking of joining the fun of cooking a contest please contact me and I will help you with making a list and what you will need to do a contest. I didn't even talk about how much meat you will need, and the prep you need to do to cook each category.  There's a lot of planning and work to cooking a BBQ contest, but if you do one, I'll bet you will be hooked. It's a lot of fun, and you will meet some great people.

Last but not least, I didn't list adult beverages. There is nothing like a cold beer while you cook each category and toasting the winners with a cold beer after the contest adds to the fun and friendships you are making. This is where my brother in-law is the best teammate for me, he doesn't drink, so I have a driver to take me home safely and without getting a ticket.

Next week, Fried Chicken on the Grill.