Switched My Two HSBBQ Teams to Weber Performers for Half Chickens

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hotch

Newbie
Original poster
Jun 2, 2024
7
16
Prosper TX
Myself along with Jack Cashman, (Cashman Q) are mentors for the two Prosper ISD High School BBQ teams. Eagle BBQ and Wildcat BBQ.
HSBBQ Inc here in Texas is a true full on BBQ competition with 12 or so regional comps held all over Texas and the State Championship in Round Rock at Dell Diamond in May. Cooking Dessert, Pinto Beans, Chicken, Ribs and Brisket. All on site Saturday with no pre prep, proteins are provided and proteins must be cooked with wood or wood products. No pellet grills, no temp controllers and no propane. All within a roped off area

Both teams have been cooking proteins on RV offsets for a few years now.
We have the students for anywhere between 2-4 years before they graduate.
One morning early this spring I woke up at 3:00am thinking “we are teaching them to cook competition BBQ on $$$$ stick burners but what about cooking/smoking at home for family, friends and life after High School.”
Most don’t have cookers/smokers at home much less a $$$$ stick burner. I got to thinking what would be a great cooker to teach fire control, cooks low and slow, also hot and fast, is great for both direct and indirect and grilling.
I needed a cooker that can do all that on a budget the kids and their families can afford. And Weber Kettle hit all the marks.

I went to FB marketplace and found many there in all conditions from pristine to salvage. The first one I got to test with was $50. It needed both grates and a lot of clean up! Picked it up and went to work. Got clean, replaced both grates and got a pair of weber baskets. Do a few test runs here at the house and logged the data for cooking at 285-300. Figured out how many briquettes HOT and how many Not. Make it simple and repeatable for the kids.
Maked the lower vent 1,2,3 and 4. Barely open, 1/4 open, ½ open and wide open. Back to FB for #2. Same for getting it ready. I did add probe ports, cool touch upper vent handles and side tables. #2 got the Slow and Sizzle donated by Flame TechGrills.
Then had the kids this past spring switch the half chicken to 22" Weber for our practice cooks before State. Both chicken kids excited! I walked them through everything from start to finish.

Now they concentrate on chicken and the Weber for a better cook and there is no interruption on the stick burners while the others concentrate on their ribs and brisket cooking. They cooked/smoked some of the best half chickens on the Webers.

I then went back to FB MP and got 3 Weber Performer carts for comps.
The two standalone Weber Kettles are now travelers. Any one of the team members can check them out to take home and cook/smoke on them and have.
 

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They are a great tool and about anybody can cook on them, love my performer, never owned a stand alone model, seen the performer and that's all she wrote lol
 
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I've read about that program in TX and wish we had that here in GA. I was just talking about that with a local FFA advisor a week or so ago. Great job Hotch for you and the other mentor spreading the BBQ love!

Keith
 
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