Entering first Comp

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by joelarry, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. I'm entering my first competition this weekend and was wondering what would be the best temperature to cook at.

    I use a stick burner (375 gal oil drum). I will be cooking brisket, ribs, butt and chicken thighs. Plenty of time to complete the cook.

    Thanks for any input. It's going to be a busy Friday night and Saturday!
  2. ted campbell

    ted campbell Newbie

    If you only have the one smoker I would go with 250 for your pork and brisket.  Once they are done put them in a good cooler covered with towels to maintain temp.  They I would go with 275 in the morning for your ribs and chicken.  Just my 2 cents.
  3. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi and welcome aboard!!

    How much smoking experience do you have? That's a pretty ambitious list of meats for your first comp. I'm not a competitor so won't try to advise you on techniques and strategies, I'll leave that to the experts.

    All I can recommend is what's worked for me temperature wise.

    For ribs, brisket and pork butt I'd run at 275˚.

    For chicken I'd run 325˚-350˚.

    Butt is done when the bone wiggles free and you can insert a probe with little to no resistance, usually 195˚-205˚.

    Brisket is about the same, but start checking at about 188˚. I like right around 195˚ for a target for points, flats really can be done anywhere in that range, just depends on when the connective tissue decides to break.

    Ribs are done when they bend nearly in half when lifted from the middle. Avoid the 3-2-1 method, as they'll be overcooked by comp standards.

    Chicken thighs are technically done at 165˚, but I believe for comps you'll want them between 175˚ and 180˚.

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
  4. Thanks Ted. 262.5 Degrees is what i will use. I cook by IT but never at the same temp for all meats. I will surely be 'scramblin'.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  5. Thanks Maryland. The Thighs are my least concern...I can't win them all. I will concentrate on the beef and pork and cross my fingers on the Chick.
  6. humdinger

    humdinger Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good luck!
  7. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    I recall when watching Pitt masters and such, the competitors mentioned several times the judges didn't want the brisket at the pulling stage.  

    Kind of a delicate stage between too soft and too firm and each judge is different.  If they are pretty much amateur judges, I would lean a bit toward the almost pulling stage, but still firm enough to slice
  8. ted campbell

    ted campbell Newbie


    I haven't done a competition yet but I have been gearing up for one next month.  I have judged a few comeptitions this year and attended several.  The biggest learning experience I had was doing a test run for the contest.  We started on a Friday at my house and treated it exactly as a competition.  Since I only have one smoker I needed to really test my times.  I put on my brisket and pork that night at 250 and took them off at around 7am.  Then cranked up the smoker to 275 to cook the ribs and chicken.  everything turned out pretty good.  A bunch of friends came over and ate the 50 lbs of meat I had made for the dry run.  It was a great time and I highly recommend it.

    There is a site with a lot of information.  The link is below.  This is the cooking timeline for a competition.  I adjusted it for only having one smoker but it was extremely helpful.

    Go to the site howtobbqright and look under Competition BBQ for the cooking times.

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  9. wneill20

    wneill20 Fire Starter

    I cook comps with a Jambo Jr and cook everything at 275* it can be done.

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