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Wanting to get into BBQ Competitions

Discussion in 'Upcoming/Recurring BBQ Competitions (KCBS or Other' started by deatony, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. deatony

    deatony Newbie

    Hey BBQ Family

    I would like to start getting into comp. bbq contest. I have attended a bbq cooking class and have learned a lot. Me and a friend have been practicing our chicken thighs, pulled pork, Ribs and briskets all summer on our church family, friends and neighbors. No one has gotten sick...lol. 

    I have a basic cheap offset smoker, but I am putting a budget together to see about getting a decent insulated smoker that I can compete with. 

    Also can anybody tell me the average spend you may do on a weekend contest? entry fees, meat, etc..

    Seems that the way the contest work is that you pretty much cook all through the night for Sat late morning early noon box turn-in?

    I am trying to see what is all involved at these contest. I have been to a bunch of them, but as a spectator I am only seeing the after effects. Seems it necessary to have a camper or RV for these events? 

    Can anybody shed some light on how I can get my feet wet? Or is it a bunch of folks who do catering or have a restaurant that can afford to do these with the 100K setups with the trucks, campers, RV's or those nice Trailers with the smoker mounted on the Porch? 


    Sorry I know it's a lot of questions but I like to know all of the details before I jump head first into something.  
  2. Hi there Deatony,

    Sounds like you are on the right path. I have done a f few contests with a friend from work. We did two KCBS contests and on contest at the fair. We did not have a high end insulated cooker, just a cheap Brinkmann offset and we did OK for ourselves. In the 2nd contest we got two calls to the stage during awards. We were lucky and did not have to have a camper or RV the overnight KCBS cooks we had room for a small tent but did not use it much.

    I am assuming you are looking at a KCBS or similar contest. For the two we did the entry fee was $250. After that it is probably how much you decide to spend on cuts of meat and how many pieces. Also charcoal\wood basic equipment which you probably already have. We went on a budget and used some smaller cuts of pork and brisket so we ended up not having to cook as long as some other teams.

    If you know your equipment well and how to work it you can compete with cheaper equipment and at the contests we went to both as spectators and competitors we saw people using inexpensive back yard equipment up to very large trailer smokers.

    I say go for it. You might want to try using the stuff you have right now before spending too much money though. Make sure you like it before you invest to much. Personally I thought it was a lot of fun and met some great people as well. If you have any more questions feel free to ask. I don't have the most experience but I will try to help if I can.
  3. lcgc

    lcgc Fire Starter

    I think BBQBrett put it perfectly.

    The only thing I can add is search for an amateur competition to get your feet wet. That's what we did and I feel like it helped a lot.
  4. Like Deatony, I am also looking to get my feet wet in BBQ competitions. Any good websites you would recommend that have a calendar of events? I am from Arizona, so if anyone is from AZ or is aware of some upcoming/annual events in Western states I would be very appreciative of your input or suggestions.

  5. I am not in your area so I guess that depends on what you are looking for. There are different things you can find. Not sure about amatuer listings but the Kansas City Barbeque Society has a list of comps from all over. Here is a link to there event page and their main home page. Hope that will help you some.


  6. Heck, start a competition of your own.  Churches, service clubs, community chests, and other non-profits are all looking for ways to raise money, and golf tournaments/raffles/etc. are a dime a dozen anymore.  This is largely something new and fresh in a lot of areas, and would help you get the experience you're looking for without necessarily breaking the bank.  The old adage of, "If you have to ask how much something costs, you can't afford it," certainly rings true with a lot of barbecue cookoffs.  I don't know if there is such a thing as an "average spend" on a competition:  as you've seen, there are folks working with very spartan setups to million-dollar RV's & equipment, and points in between.  I grew up being a grunt at the Houston Livestock (used to be called Fat Stock in the day) Show and Rodeo's cookoff, and you want to see some huge $$ in rigs??  Take a look at that one:  it will blow your mind. 

    If you can't find existing competitions in your area, partner with a group looking to raise some money:  not only do you gather some experience, you help raise some money for your local organization, feel good about what you're doing, and have some fun in the process.  My $0.02.
    geezer likes this.
  7. Chech out SLAP YO DADDY BBQ. . He has won some major comps and loves his Weber smoker mountains
  8. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    So I wanted to get into the comp at wildwood nj this summer but my nephews wedding is the next month and I gotta give him a good gift.
    Anyway.. the entrance fee is 275. Then three day hotel is 900$ them the meat .. figure $1000 then yo have to rent a generator. And the stuff you need to cook.. figure $3500 on the low side
  9. smokinit

    smokinit Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    I have done them for way over a decade it is an expensive sport/hobby most gather up friends and family to form a team to help split costs. Anyone interested in the ins and outs of competing let me know glad to help.
    30abandman likes this.
  10. Not sure if this is the right place, if not please let me know.

    I too want to get into competitions. I have built a 120 Gal RF smoker and getting back into building a 250 gal RF. Have built UDS and use my gas grill. Nothing beats good old stick and charcoal.

    I just got invitation to do ribs for 75 people. Most I have cooked was 13 racks, they were good but could have been better.

    Question I have is how can I find sponsors and maybe other events to start cooking for events and other places. I want to do this right and not get the whole bunch sick as well as being prepared for anything thrown at me. And what are the rules for cooking for events, sanitation, serving, etc.

    Right now I have nothing other than the 120 RF Smoker. I am also in the process of getting a flatbed 8x18 trailer which I am going to build a "kitchen" on it with roof. Going to take a ton of money to do, need to find some sponsors.

    I am open to suggestions and not even sure if my trailer build would be too big for the competitions. So far the local Ribfest competitions will allow me to use a large trailer. Just not sure about the KCBS sanctioned contest.

    If needed you can PM me.

    Thank You in Advance.
  11. If you are looking for a competition BBQ contest, you can check out your local BBQ Network and search for events. The largest is KCBS (Kansas City Barbecue Society). But a few of the other popular BBQ networks are IBCAFBA  and MBN. These associations will allow you to search for local competition BBQ contests, get dates and discover the costs of entering a contest.
  12. travisty

    travisty Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    There is an organization called "Great Western BBQ events, not sure if they do anything in AZ, but they host a lot of smaller competitions at like churches, and Car dealerships, but also host things for Cabelas and have some ties with KCBS. Look them up on Facebook, and you could also try searching "Arizona BBQ" and see if any other organizations come up that way.

    I just spent a year basically getting involved in that community, and also got KCBS judge certified to get familiar with competitions and the BBQ community, that has helped a lot.

    Cabels runs a "Backyard Barbeque" competition for the average backyard jo to compete, and they offer some great prizes, so you could look into that to if you have a cabelas in your area. I am actually entering that competition here in UT, and it will be my first actual competition. Just mostly been cooking for friends, family, etc so far, and also done some small catering things for friends including a wedding I have this summer for 50-75 guests. So im right there with you, just starting to get into it.

    I don't have anything fancy, just a UDS, and a masterbuilt smoker, but from even the KCBS events ive been too, there are plenty of people with UDS's or WSM's. That being said, the big rigs, and set-ups can sure be intimidating, but i think that big fancy equipment cant make up for skill.
  13. dragonslayer

    dragonslayer Fire Starter

    Check out the KC Kosher BBQ competition: http://vaadkc.org/kckbbq/

    It is a little different than your standard competition, but they provide all the equipment and meat so a lot easier to get your feet wet.  It is in a couple of weeks so I would sign up ASAP if you are interested.
  14. cooker613

    cooker613 Meat Mopper

    Thanks. A kosher BBQ competition is being organized here in Phoenix for next February. But would love to get my feet wet first.