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For the Competitors...why do you do it?

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
So after being a bakyard hack for several years, getting more serious about it for myself and now watching the Pitmasters show, I have to ask why do you compete? The money doesn't seem too good, especially for the folks that lay out a bunch of cash to travel all over to do this.

From my observations there are a few reasons that I'd do a competition, but I'd like to hear of some other reasons why you guys do it.

Here's my thoughts...

1) It's in your hometown (or close by) so it's about the fun, ego, see where you stand against the others, but it's not going to cost much to do it.

2) You own a resturant, and all those plaques, trophies, ribbons, etc. look good and are good for advertising.

3) You've got the expenable income and the time on your hands to travel around the country and do it for the reasons in #1

What say you?
post #2 of 41
I have never done it but I bet it would be fun. I think its all about the competition. I compete in a two day walleye fishing tournament here in MN each year and there is just something fun about being in a big competition and going against all of those other guys/gals trying to win. I would imagine that BBQ competition would be very close to the same feeling.
post #3 of 41
Neighbors, friends, and relatives all love my cooking. However, they are neighbors, friends, and relatives. They tend to be biased for fear I will stop. I just want to know how I hold up to the big boys.icon_rolleyes.gif
post #4 of 41
I sure wouldn't travel far to do it, but I could see entering a competition to see how my stuff stacks up in the opinion of folks who are knowledgeable.

And more than that, to (hopefully) get to taste the stuff made by others.

See, now I'm gettin' hungry PDT_Armataz_01_12.gif
post #5 of 41
Its hard to explain why I do it, I just love BBQ. competition makes you go above and beyond, way beyond what you do in the backyard. when you go to the contest to set-up, you see all the other teams there I wonder what have I got myself into. then after all the hard work and challenges, you get called to the stage its all worth it. the other competitors are always super nice people, the weathers not always so great, it's just about the passion of making great BBQ. If you have the chance to do one, do it, you won't regret it. It helps me strive to learn every thing I can, try new things, rubs, sauces, techniques, etc. started in '98 and still working on it, I've picked up tips on smf, and I thank everyone on here for that. what more can I say, you can get hooked on BBQ, how far you go with it is up to you.PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #6 of 41
Hey, Dude!

I have competed in a couple of local KCBS events (although, here in kansas city, there are competitions ever single weekend...somewhere) and have walked with ribbons at both of them. Don't make any mistake, even a local event is expensive and a heck of a lot of work. If you plan on having a friday night party you start early on friday to get checked in and get your stuff set up and meat going for your party. Then, after you cook all day and host your party, you might think it is time to kick back...WRONG! Now it is time to start cooking for real so you can turn in Saturday at noon.

For me, it is a matter of pride. I like to think I have the ability to produce some amazing BBQ, and this is a way to show it. I am competitive by nature, and I like to think that I know what I'm doing. It is also fun to do. I like to get set up and I even kind of like staying up all night monitoring and watching the smoker. Some of the Chicanery that happens late at night in pretty funny too. If the weather is nice, there is always someone to talk to and the social aspect of the competitions is pretty fun. I guarantee you will make a lot of friends.

It is also a chance to host a giant party for all of my BBQ eating and beer drinking friends, neighbors, and their families. Last year, me and Mrs. Engineer were blown away that some of my neighbors helped us all day to get set up, and going. It really turned out to be a huge party with my entire neighborhood just psyched to be a part of it...in fact one of my neighbors was playing in the Blues part of the "Blues and BBQ festival"...it really was a neighborhood event, down by the river at the city park.

I would never drive long distances to do a comp...simply put, they are too much work. Competition is also expensive. Last year, I spent well over a thousand dollars for the one blowout competition that I did. Granted that included some re-useable stuff like a shelter. You can get by with much less, but entrance fees are maybe a couple hundred bucks, and then you need meat. I cook at least 2 cryovac briskets, 3 racks of ribs, 2 butts, and 20 chicken thighs to get the six samples for the judges. If you throw a party, you will need meat and food for your party. Then there is the alcohol...Get a sponsor like I did!
post #7 of 41
I have always been a competitive person and this is another outlet for that.

I like the challenge of trying to figure out what the judges are looking for and trying to execute the game plan. I was doing well in Florida then moved North and found that my flavor profile that worked down there didn't do well up here (atleast for chicken).......back to the drawing board..........made it to where I can't wait to compete again to see if I have anything figured out, new fresh challenges. Love it.

Just replicating stuff in the backyard got old.........competitions keep it fresh. It is nice to have a challenge. Everyone at a contest can make great food.....the challenge is separating yourself from everyone in a way that appeals to judges.

And as a bonus, I have met many so great people out there.

Probably could come up with about 20 more things, but that is the top.

Love the challenge and competition.

Edit: In my avatar I am holding a trophy for first place chicken.......I switched to that avatar just to remind myself that I know how to cook it and to stay focused on figuring out what they want up North.
post #8 of 41
dude i think i know what the answer is and i too question why to do a competition, smoking to me is having fun, chillin out with some friends eating good and drinkin all day and night, competition just seems like work and stress and not what smoking is all about. odds of winning seem slim and the cost of competing just does not seem to outweigh if you do win. must be more for people who own bbq joints and look for the trophyies to put in their places.
post #9 of 41
EGO.......................This aint raising dam childeren

...I can dam farking cook dam better then any damn smoker damn out there damn it.....Dam....

And i dams wins a damn bit too.....
post #10 of 41
I don't know if I am supposed to write something in back woods slang or for real in english?

So back woods slang first, I dun dern thout I make preddy darn good bar bay kue and always hoped two be proven dat uh fact!

Now for the real reason,

I am always interested in what others think, judging from the KCBS methods of training judges, their own opinion of what they conjure at the traditional barbeque is what they are trying to judge on.

So I put it forward to see what a couple of people think of what we cooked. Do not care about the placing, I care about the individual scores! What did each person care about, what did they think about each category?

For me the real test of barbeque comes from payment recieved for the caterings completed with no complaints.

But the judges scores give me an indication of the overall individual thinking of the cooking. I take the judges scores that are out of control (no consitency) and drop them, and then look at the normal distribution of the rest, that tells me alot about how center of the spicing spectrum the food is being presented. At the center I am happy, on the hot spectrum I know I am burning customers, off the spicy end and I know I am boring customers. So for me the judges scores are important, not the placing.

Don't get me wrong, it is nice to place high, but the real wealth lay in the judges scores after plotting the bell curve.
post #11 of 41
never competed..........not sure i want to. i like the idea but like fatback joe said, it's really up to the judges as far as flavor goes. i don't care for sweet meats......so why go through the trouble to change what i believe in to get approval from someone i don't know or argree with that person's flavor profile. i know i put out really good food (i am my own toughest critic) and i have yet to have anyone NOT rave over my food.....BBQ or otherwise. that being said it doesn't mean that i would win a contest and it certainly doesn't mean that a certain community would support my "style" of food in the real world of dollars and cents in the restaurant biz.
post #12 of 41
Judging realy blows in KCBS at the larger events....Now you live in kansas they may have alot of experienced judges etc....At the first comp of 2009(not my first) in salisbury they was 100 teams and knowing a master judge he mentioned after comp that 1/2 the judges were first timers....

This is a huge issue these days-competency of judging.......Standards...

From my side competing with a new team this year it is to my advantage....I actualy used to feel bad for the newbies years back....
post #13 of 41
I don't at all worry about the judges, like Pit Masters I understand a game when I see it. But I do like seeing the score sheet, it helps with understanding what the perception is of what was tasted. Even though it is not consistant due to training being so poorly performed at every event KCBS puts on (think they make money with it?) it still lets you know what people think. And people is what catering is about.
post #14 of 41
Alex the post I quoted seems to be missing... did you kill it or did someone else?
post #15 of 41
Good lord BOB...I deleted out of respect...I did not want it to come across wrong....Dont think i said anything to bad,but certainly dont wanna write chit that comes out the wrong way my friend...
post #16 of 41
i didn't think anything was wrong with it......it kinda substantiated what i was trying to say.
post #17 of 41
No problem with saying they have a long way to go in judge training. It is true, they have terrible consistancy. And most of it goes back to "be a judge in a day" type thinking. It is a flaw that under checked will eventually negate them as a true circuit worth following. Let them find out now while they can correct it, not later when people start avoiding their sanctioned events because its a crap shoot with no rhyme or reason.
post #18 of 41
Was just me chef rob my friend....I get to typing and not reading and wasnt sure what i typed....Bbaly yourself etc are folks i listen too.....What did the kinks sing...Paranoia will destroy yah...LMAO
post #19 of 41
I totally agree with both of you, it is something they will have to fix or be relegated to the dust bin of "also rans"
post #20 of 41
alx, now you got that song in my head.........haven't heard that one for years! i was actually typing at the same time as you so when i posted i looked up and saw yours i thought i wasn't too far off base.
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