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What's the Next Step?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

We have been getting a lot of positive feedback lately and most of the local resturaunts don't like us.  I think that is a good thing.  I recently started watching BBQ Pitmasters.  I don't know if I'm getting cocky or something (I hope not), but I am not all that impressed with what they are showing or saying.  I think I could do better.  I am a very competitive guy and my ultimate goal is to be the best at whatever I do.  So I got to thinking about building a competition smoker and competing with the big boys.  On the other hand, my first rig is not completed and I do have a loyal following in the area.  My question is should I continue to build my rig and ultimately turn it into a full blown kitchen on wheels or build a smaller one to compete with?  Either way, I will be entering some local competitions later this season and some state events next year.  Let the opinions commence!!!

post #2 of 19

What is the problem with using your current build in competition? If it is large that should be ok as I have been to comps that also give you the opportunity to sell to the public and a big rig is necessary...JJ

post #3 of 19
Quote:
  I don't know if I'm getting cocky or something (I hope not), but I am not all that impressed with what they are showing or saying. I think I could do better

I've been telling you Jabbo, Florida BBQ rules, we just dont have the name that Texas or memphis, or whatever, but our Shi* kicks but!

 

I watch those shows and look at the color of the meat, and I'm like ..what the h***, Im not going to eat that.

post #4 of 19
Quote:

  My question is should I continue to build my rig and ultimately turn it into a full blown kitchen on wheels or build a smaller one to compete with? Either way, I will be entering some local competitions later this season and some state events next year. Let the opinions commence!!!

I told you from the get go what I thought about that..

 

Two smaller pits are better than one monster,

post #5 of 19

Myself I am going to make a smaller one to go along with my big one. I don't own an RV so I am going to build an insulated RF that will be on large pneumatic tires. That way I can buy a "toyhauler" trailer that will have a sleeping area along with storage in the rear. It will be a bit heavy so my idea is having a ATV winch to pull it into the trailer and have lower it.

 

Another winter project but in a competition there is only so much room you get and the wife to be doesn't care for sleeping in the back of the truck, rain or not!

 

Jabbo one thing you will find and I have a hard time with is how they cook for judges. Personally I think the art of real bbq has been lost in competition. I certainly don't use butter spread in my cooking for family and friends muchless 3 lbs of brown sugar. I taste those and I don't even taste the pork all I taste is sugar and sauce.

 

Just my humble opinion though!

post #6 of 19
Quote:

 I certainly don't use butter spread in my cooking for family and friends muchless 3 lbs of brown sugar. I taste those and I don't even taste the pork all I taste is sugar and sauce.

AMEN

post #7 of 19

My responce would be are you planing on the BBQ shack paying for the competition? Or are you just in the competition for fun and to bolster your BBQ shack? Does the business justify the big pit?

Business is business, BBQ is BBQ, don't let you emotions sway your logic.

post #8 of 19
Quote:

 I am a very competitive guy and my ultimate goal is to be the best at whatever I do

 

Quote:

Business is business, BBQ is BBQ, don't let you emotions sway your logic

 

Quote:

Personally I think the art of real bbq has been lost in competition

Jabbo, my thought is being the best at building a successful business has nothing to do with winning a competition.  In a competition , these guys spend all there effort cooking one little piece of meat at a time until they get every little detail perfect.  Its a world apart from having the ability to have two cases of ribs ready to eat by lunchtime. I'm not saying that one takes more skill than the other or that your not capable of doing both....just would hate to see it distract from the success from your business.

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

I thank you all for all of the great feedback.  I absolutely understand that there is a big difference in competition bbq and everyday bbq.  I have this fighters mentality where I think I can beat anybody and there is a strong urge to find out if I am right.  On the other hand, Foamheart made a good point that brought things back down to Earth a bit.  I think the other part of it is that I really want to build another smoker.  Rib, I know you know what I'm talking about.  I don't need one, but the process was so much fun.  I even thought about trying to make some money off of them.  The competition smoker is an idea I have and what better excuse to build it than to say I am going to hit the circuit.  However, I do need to focus on my business for awhile.  I think I will build my business until it is able to support us completely, than I will shift gears and perhaps build another or start competing.  It would be really sweet to beat ole Myron Mixon, though!!

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jabbo View Post

I thank you all for all of the great feedback.  I absolutely understand that there is a big difference in competition bbq and everyday bbq.  I have this fighters mentality where I think I can beat anybody and there is a strong urge to find out if I am right.  On the other hand, Foamheart made a good point that brought things back down to Earth a bit.  I think the other part of it is that I really want to build another smoker.  Rib, I know you know what I'm talking about.  I don't need one, but the process was so much fun.  I even thought about trying to make some money off of them.  The competition smoker is an idea I have and what better excuse to build it than to say I am going to hit the circuit.  However, I do need to focus on my business for awhile.  I think I will build my business until it is able to support us completely, than I will shift gears and perhaps build another or start competing.  It would be really sweet to beat ole Myron Mixon, though!!

Jabbo, evening.....    From everything I have heard about competition BBQ, you have to learn to make Q that you wouldn't serve at your home....    Wasn't it a circuit winning competitor that said, "I don't eat this kr@p" when asked about the Q he served.....     In reference to "what the judges preferred".....     From what I have heard and seen, the judges are local folks that have no idea what great smoked Q tastes like....   put you at a disadvantage instantly....   

Not saying the foods bad, just saying judges are basing their taste preferences on what they have eaten and liked at local eateries.... 

Copy the local eateries that are doing well, and you may have a chance..... 

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

Yeah, Dave, I've heard about that, too.  Which is why, if I go that route, I would start local and gradually spread out over a few seasons.  If you can't do well at home, then you probably aren't gonna win anywhere else.  I do have one advantage, though.  The guy that gave me my first recipe and taught me almost everything I know, was a KCBS judge for many years.  He is also a trained chef, has gone to most of the top competitors bbq schools, knows a lot of them personally, and uses a very scientific approach to cooking.  I don't know how much that would help me, but I do know that the flavors I make are a unique blend that most everyone (who has tried it) from here to Arkansas has loved so far.  There is a ton of flavor in my meats and I think that, because they have been cooking the way they do for so long, that the judges might be ready for some real bbq again.  If not I would find out real quick.  But alas, like I said before, I am going to wait a bit and focus on my business first.  I might enter the big comp in Pensicola next March, though, just to test the waters.  

post #12 of 19
Quote:

 I have this fighters mentality where I think I can beat anybody and there is a strong urge to find out if I am right.

I'd just have a problem having some "Judge" detemine my success,

 

I'd rather "beat" them by selling 10 cases of ribs every Friday night, that would be more of a win to me.  Make that judge come to you!

post #13 of 19

Jabbo, stick with whats working for you.  Sounds like you are experiencing great success so far and ride that wave as long as you can.  As far as comps go, there are some that have Peoples Choice where you can vend and cook, but for the most part, if there is a cook off that is in conjunction with a festival, I recommend vending, your guaranteed to make money there, cooking the comp, no guarantee.  There are only a few guys out there that cook competitions as their job.  Unless you win often or sell a product that other cooks use, it's a hit or miss venture at best. 

As far as the judging side of it, as long as it's KCBS, the judges will be trained to look for certain things while tasting and sampling the BBQ, as far as tenderness and appearance, but as far as taste it's like anything else, personal preference.  I am not sure if FBA judges are trained or not, I know our judges here in Texas in IBCA comps are just normal folks off the street, typically mostly made up of the organization sponsoring the event. 

If you do decide to head out and cook a comp or 2, you'll be hooked, guaranteed.  First one out last year for me, 27 teams, I got 2 walks and 1 final table, let's just say I was hooked and have been ever since.  I have spent the last year trying to evolve my process and become a more consistent cook and so far it has paid off with $ to show for it. 

post #14 of 19
Keep in mind BBQ Pitmasters is just another reality TV show. Don't believe half of what you see on it, it's just for show and entertainment.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

I don't want to be on the show, at all.  I want to beat Myron Mixon and Johnny Trigg.  That is a huge goal for me.  The show is what got to really thinking I could do it.  I think I can wait a little longer, though.  The contest later this year is a people's choice event and I am committed to it already.  I gave my word to a friend that I would cook on his team.  I know of a few others locally that will allow me to vend and compete, but they are earlier in the year.  There are 2 events near by that Myron attends twice a year and Mr Trigg shows up at one of them at least once a year.  I am going to take a shot at them soon enough, but, like RIb said, it would be better to make them and the judges come to me!!

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jabbo View Post

I don't want to be on the show, at all.  I want to beat Myron Mixon and Johnny Trigg.  That is a huge goal for me.  The show is what got to really thinking I could do it.  I think I can wait a little longer, though.  The contest later this year is a people's choice event and I am committed to it already.  I gave my word to a friend that I would cook on his team.  I know of a few others locally that will allow me to vend and compete, but they are earlier in the year.  There are 2 events near by that Myron attends twice a year and Mr Trigg shows up at one of them at least once a year.  I am going to take a shot at them soon enough, but, like RIb said, it would be better to make them and the judges come to me!!

 

Good luck, beating one or both of those guys would certainly be a feather in your cap!
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by 75tranzam View Post

Keep in mind BBQ Pitmasters is just another reality TV show. Don't believe half of what you see on it, it's just for show and entertainment.

Until you have listened to an interview with some of the folks who have appeared as contestants on the show, please don't group BBQ Pitmasters in with all the other so called "Reality" crap on TV.  There is obviously an element of the episodes that are made for TV, but for the most part, they are 100% real.  Majority of the interviews I have heard with the contestants, most say it is harder than any other comp they cook because of the TV crews needing another take on a procedure or a different camera angle when the pit is opened.  Until they go back to a format like season 1, I will never be truly happy, but for a comp guy like me, I can't get enough of Pitmasters.  On another note, if you haven't caught the newest BBQ series on Travel Channel, it's worth a watch, BBQ Crawl with Diva Q, a female cook out of Canada who spends most of her year here in the US cooking comps and winning.

 

As far as beating Mixon or Trigg, it happens every weekend.  As much pub as these guys get, they don't win anymore than anyone else does.  I understand the sentiment, but a true and better determination of your Q success would be simply getting walks in more than one category at a large comp instead of just finishing ahead of those 2 guys.  Florida has it's own group of highly successful comp cooks out there week in and week out, including a recent competitor on Pitmasters, Rob "Rub" Bagby with Swamp Boys BBQ, he won his episode against 2 other quality comp cooks. 

post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bruno994 View Post

Until you have listened to an interview with some of the folks who have appeared as contestants on the show, please don't group BBQ Pitmasters in with all the other so called "Reality" crap on TV.  There is obviously an element of the episodes that are made for TV, but for the most part, they are 100% real.  Majority of the interviews I have heard with the contestants, most say it is harder than any other comp they cook because of the TV crews needing another take on a procedure or a different camera angle when the pit is opened.  Until they go back to a format like season 1, I will never be truly happy, but for a comp guy like me, I can't get enough of Pitmasters.  On another note, if you haven't caught the newest BBQ series on Travel Channel, it's worth a watch, BBQ Crawl with Diva Q, a female cook out of Canada who spends most of her year here in the US cooking comps and winning.

 

As far as beating Mixon or Trigg, it happens every weekend.  As much pub as these guys get, they don't win anymore than anyone else does.  I understand the sentiment, but a true and better determination of your Q success would be simply getting walks in more than one category at a large comp instead of just finishing ahead of those 2 guys.  Florida has it's own group of highly successful comp cooks out there week in and week out, including a recent competitor on Pitmasters, Rob "Rub" Bagby with Swamp Boys BBQ, he won his episode against 2 other quality comp cooks. 

 

Actually I have a personal relationship with Tuffy Stone and think I can speak from experience about BBQ Pitmasters based on things he has shared with me in casual, candid conversations. I enjoy the show and watch it every week. Just wanted to add that my reply is not meant to attack or argue with you, just point out that the shows intent is to entertain.
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 

I agree with you Bruo, that walking consistently should be, and is, the ultimate goal.  But with the name recognition these guys have, it would be a huge advertising point.  If and when I start competing, I will probably focus on the Tri State Area here as this where my customers are.  I might venture out to other areas from time to time, though.  I do not disparage these gentlemen, or any other competitors, in the least.  In all honesty, I just want the boost it would bring my business and the respect that comes along with consistent wins.  Like I have said before, the one thing that drives me more than anything else is the thought that someone might be better than me.  It is a deep seated psychological issue and I don't know where it started but it forces me to constantly educate myself and strive for perfection with everything I do.  It is who I am and at the end of the day I can say I know I did the very best I could.  

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