Any tips for a new competitor?

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Feb 3, 2015
So in 2 days I'm headed down to the New Jersey BBQ State Championship, which will be my first competition. I know a lot of people don't participate in some of the auxiliary competitions, but I want to try to compete in everything, including the dessert, sauce, and iron chef categories.  I have no delusions of winning anything, but I want to get my feet wet in each area, then decide next time if I want to skip specific categories. 

That said, I'm trying to put together my checklist of things I need, and made trips to Harbor Freight, Lowes, and Chef Central last night, and I think I have all the basics.

That said, what do you wish you knew or what do you wish you brought to your first competition?

Any tips, advice, or positive thoughts would be appreciated!


Master of the Pit
Jan 17, 2013
About 10 miles from the blue turf!
Not familiar with the contest so I don't know how much help I would be. I would say one thing I wished I had done before my first comp was to practice on the presentation portion. Not sure if that would apply to you. Is it a KCBS contest or one that you put greenery in the turn in containers?

JckDanls 07

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
Sep 10, 2011
Tampa area, Florida.
HELP... bring plenty of help... especially if your gonna do every category they offer.... the most important thing is to NOT STRESS... and have fun ... a checklist is a good starting point... have you done any practice runs at home ?? treating it exactly as if it were a comp. and as Brett said... your turn in boxes need to have special attention... good luck and as I said.. HAVE FUN.. that's the most important thing...


Fire Starter
Original poster
Thread starter
Feb 3, 2015
I've done some dry runs with chicken and ribs. Boxed them and presented, etc. I'm less concerned with the brisket and butts, since I make both constantly, and boxing isn't too complex.

It is a KCBS event, and I'm not sure if I'm going to do a parsley box or a lettuce box yet, but I spent a lot of time doing molecular gastronomy, so I'm pretty strong at presentation. Just for kicks... Here's a shot of one of my MG desserts. 


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