Competition Rookie Trial Run (chicken - ribs - pork - brisket) w qview

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by roper33, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. I entered my first competition (June 1), and decided to make a mock trial this weekend to get my times down, and get some feedback on the food. 

    As luck would have it, the weather was awful (45mph winds and rain falling sideways) when we began our cook. My team consists of myself, and a friend from work. It was more convenient with our Friday work schedules, and my "judges" saturday schedules, to have the food ready at 5/530/6/630 rather than the usual 12/1230/1/130 times, so we adapted our timelines.

    Below are the info on each meat.

    Chicken Thighs

    For budget/weather reasons, I didnt create actual turn-in boxes, but about 8 of the 12 pieces i cooked looked very similar to this. The flavour was very good, but the skin was just a touch rubbery, will need to try and crisp the skin better without burning.

    Chicken was brined in basic brine (water/kosher salt/brown sugar/molasses). Used my basic KC style homemade rub, and finished with a homemade sweet and smoky bbq sauce.


    Ribs were done very basic, i used st-louis cut spares, and cooked them 2-2-1. Used my homemade KC rub, and finished with my sweet and smoky sauce.


    Pork was injected with a basic mix (apple juice, cider vinegar, brown sugar), and rubbed with a sweet rub. Smoked over a blend of maple/cherry/hickory. Only got pics of the "money muscle"... forgot to take pics of the pulled, but it was good!

    Brisket (my first ever full packer brisket)

    The brisket started off as a USDA select, 17.3 lbs. After i trimmed the fat off aggressively, leaving a 1/4-1/3 inch fat cap on the back, it was about 14 pounds by the time it went on the cooker

    Brisket recipe was followed pretty much direct from the Fire it Up Book by Schloss and Joachim (Espresso Brisket), with homemade injection/rub/mop/sauce. It came out surprisingly great, especially the burnt ends...MMMmmm burnt ends! Considering the weather conditions and the fact this was my first ever brisket, I am very happy with my results.

    I'll be doing another trial run in a few weeks, and make it a bit tougher (no going into the house except bathroom breaks, or to get more beer!), and hopefully the weather cooperates a bit more, but either way we know we can cook in any weather :)



    Rope-a-Dope BBQ
  2. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Everything looked great, Craig! Looks like you're on your way.
    roper33 likes this.
  3. Good idea doing a trial run or two before the comp.  It should be a big help, especially with getting your timing down.  If you can try to get some boxes to practice with as well. Me and my bbq partener did our first boxes the day of the turn in.  Wished I would have done a practice run.  Luckily we had some friendly people next to us that gave us some good pointers.

    Hope things go well for you at the contest and keep us folks on the site updated.
  4. so ms smoker

    so ms smoker Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

      Looks like you got it going on!  Yes, practice the boxes. Make it look good, then carry it to the end of the driveway and back and open to see if it still looks the same. That's the way the judges see it!

  5. Looks great.  How many cookers were you running?  Just wondering.
  6. I just used 2 cookers. A Weber OneTouch Gold (for brisket and chicken) with the Smokenator attachment used during most of the brisket cook, switched to conventional indirect with wood chunks for the chicken and brought it to 350 from 225. I cooked the pork and ribs in a Brinkmann Gourmet Charcoal Smoker. I would like to upgrade and either get a WSM or build a UDS, but for now thats what I have to work with. I also have a little smokey Joe that I use to cook personal meals, warm sauces, and to use to light my chimney if needed while the other 2 cookers are in use.
  7. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Nicely done Craig!

    I applaud your willingness to put yourself out there in competition and Lord knows you can get plenty of help right here on SMF!

    Good luck in the comp!

  8. So... first comp went very well, finished 4th overall (9 teams total), and got a call in pork! I also had to deal with torrential downpours, wind and mud, which just made things that much more fun and challenging! Here are a few pics, sorry i don't have more, but I was too busy to take pics of my pork and brisket boxes.


  9. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    congrats on a 3rd place in your first comp! Not alot of people can say they got an award there  first time! did you get the skin to crisp up this time around on the chicken? if so, how'd you do it?
  10. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Congratulations on the call and the 4th place overall.

    The rib box looks fantastic.

    Keep up the good work.

  11. The skin was a bit crisp on the outer edges... but the top was still a touch rubbery. I had my chicken cooker (mini wsm) running at about 300-325... next time i'll shoot for 375-400 and i think that should crisp the skin a bit better... its a constant learning process :)
  12. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Congrats!!! Those thighs and ribs look fantastic!!!
  13. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I love that you are using the mini in competition!! I love mine and it is my go to smoker! I've been experimenting some with the diffuser and have found that I can get some super hot temps using just the steamer tray that came with the pot. I have two pots so I can switch setups pretty easy.
  14. In mine, I just drilled about 40 holes in the bottom of the pot. If I used briquettes, the temp stays constant at about 325 with zero effort. If I use Lump, I have to play with the vents a bit or it will jump to 400+ (which i may try a batch of chicken in t that temp to see if it makes the skin nicer).

    I have a 12 in frying pan i used as a 2nd deflecton/drip pan (i prop it up an inch with 4 golf ball sized tin foil balls) when i cook pork in there, briquettes with that frying pan and a bit of water in it, and it will stay at 220-240 until the fuel burns out. It really is a handy smoker, next time i see a Smokey Joe on sale i'll probably buy another one and get a 2nd mini going. 
  15. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have two steamer pots. One I cut the bottom out of and my original pot I drilled the holes. I like the open bottom pot best. You can pile extra fuel in there for longer cooks. I just use a 12" terracotta plant tray as a diffuser. Like yours  Ican run it at 325* all day or any temp below that.

    You can see my builds and mods here:

    Haven't really got the double decker to work out yet. But I haven't played with it enough.
  16. That's awesome! Darn good job! Congrats on placing...soon hopefully I'll be able to enter some comps working more and more on my time management here at home.. Beautiful looking ribs and chixx....thanks for sharing. Thumbs Up! :drool
  17. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks great!  CONGRATS!!!!!  You did awesome!!!!

    Proud of you!!!!

  18. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Looks real good and the very best to you and your team...I envy you...
  19. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Good looking Q ,Bret . Good luck in the Comps. and ...
  20. comosmoker

    comosmoker Smoke Blower

    Very nice looking Q, Roper!!!  Good luck in your future competitions!  [​IMG]   [​IMG]   [​IMG]
    roper33 likes this.

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