BBQ competitions have become very popular in the last few years, and with good reason. If you haven’t visited one, you owe it to yourself to experience the sights and smells, the excitement and most importantly the great food and drink. The teams are prohibited from serving their food to the general public, but you’ll find previous winners vending their BBQ in a carnival like atmosphere that usually includes live bands, rides for the kids and much, much more.
If you happen to make friends with one of the teams and are invited into their cook site (as happens often), you might even get to sample some competition level BBQ. But one word of caution: From Early, early morning on turn-in day until 1:30pm, most teams are all business, and do not appreciate being disturbed in any way. Come on Saturday, or after 1:30 on Sunday when the last entry has been turned in, and you’ll find most teams open and inviting.
If you’re considering entering a competition yourself, visiting one is a great place to start. Talk to the teams, watch them work, check out their cook sites and equipment and take notes. Next, get certified and judge a competition or two so you can see what the turn-in boxes look like, and what appeals to you and the other judges. Finally, gather your equipment, find a good source of quality meats and start practicing so you can develop your plan of attack. The plan should be the culmination of all those steps above. It should be in writing and very detailed. It’s easy to forget something in the heat of competition.
I’ve attached Bob’s Hogs Timetable for our upcoming competition in Rochester, NY to show you the level of detail I’m talking about. I’m also giving you a peek into the ‘secret’ methods we’re using these days in competition. Exact recipes are not included, but you’ll get the idea. Click on the clock to have a look, and good luck!
Roc City Ribfest 2012
Rochester, NY May 25, 26, 27
6:00 AM Leave New Windsor, NY
12:30 PM Arrive in Rochester, set up camp and socialize
9:00 AM RCRC Cooks Meeting
9:15 AM Prep RCRC turn in box
9:30 AM Fire up the UDS and set temp to 275
9:45 AM MEAT INSPECTION
10:00 AM (or right after meat inspection) Marinate RCRC ribs and put into the Cambro with ice
10:15 AM Trim, inject and rub the brisket, wrap and back into the cooler
10:45 AM Trim, inject and rub the butts, wrap and back into the cooler
11:15 AM Rub the ribs
11:30 AM Put the ribs into the UDS
11:45 AM Marinate the chicken and put them back into the cooler
12:30 PM Spritz the RCRC ribs
1:30 PM Apply agave nectar and more rub, add juice and cover the rib pans with foil.
3:00 PM Test ribs for doneness. Rest if done, cook longer if necessary.
3:15 PM If done, put the ribs in the Cambro to rest. If not put back on the cooker
3:30 PM Take the ribs out, open one at a time, slice and quickly cover back up.
3:40 PM Remove the turn in box from the cooler, open the box and remove the damp paper towel
3:45 PM Heat rib sauce
3:50 PM Pick the best 10 ribs, sauce, season and arrange in box.
3:55 PM Spritz with water, take a photo and close box
4:00 PM RCRC Rib Turn In
6:00 PM RCRC Award Ceremony
7:00 PM Remove chicken from marinade, wipe and rub
7:20 PM Put chicken in the Cambro with some ice overnight
7:30 PM KCBS Cooks Meeting
8:00 PM Prep turn in boxes
9:30 PM Fire up Big Bertha and set temp to 250
10:00 PM Marinate the ribs and put them in the Cambro with ice
11:00 PM Put the brisket in Big Bertha, bottom grate
11:30 PM Put the butts in Big Bertha, top grate
11:45 PM Go to sleep
5:00 AM Turn the brisket over, baste with pan juices and shake on some rub
5:15 AM Turn the butts over, spritz, glaze and shake on some rub
6:00 AM Fire up the UDS and set temp to 275
6:30 AM Foil the Brisket and put it back in the cooker until done
6:45 AM Foil the Butts and put them back in the cooker until done
7:00 AM Fire up the Stumps Baby and set temp to 275
7:30 AM Rub the ribs
8:00 AM Put the ribs in the UDS
9:00 AM Spritz the ribs
9:25 AM Melt three sticks of margarine in the microwave
9:30 AM Pour margarine over the chicken and put into the Stumps
9:45 AM When butts or brisket are done, vent for 10 minutes then put into the Cambro to rest
10:00 AM Apply agave nectar and rub, add juice and cover the rib pans with foil.
10:25 AM Baste chicken with pan juices and shake on some rub
10:30 AM Cover chicken pans and put back into the Stumps
10:45 AM Open up the brisket, cut off both ends and make burnt ends
11:00 AM Put burnt ends into Big Bertha in a covered foil half pan
11:15 AM Heat chicken injection and sauce
11:20 AM Take chicken out and select 6 best pieces, inject and sauce
11:30 AM Test ribs for doneness. Rest if done, cook longer if necessary.
11:40 AM Put chicken back in the cooker for 10 minutes
11:45 AM Remove the turn in box from the cooler, open the box and remove the damp paper towel
11:50 AM Arrange chicken in the turn in box
11:55 AM Spritz with water, take a photo and close box
12:00 PM Turn in Chicken
12:05 PM Take the burnt ends out of the cooker and put into the Cambro
12:05 PM Take the ribs out, open one at a time, slice and quickly cover back up.
12:10 PM Remove the turn in box from the cooler, open the box and remove the damp paper towel
12:15 PM Heat rib sauce
12:20 PM Select the best looking and best tasting ribs, sauce, season and arrange in box.
12:25 PM Spritz with water, take a photo and close box
12:30 PM Turn in Ribs
12:35 PM Open the butts, one at a time, separt the parts and cover with foil
12:40 PM Remove the next turn in box from the cooler, open the box and remove the damp paper towel
12:40 PM Slice the Money Muscle and pull the rest
12:45 PM Heat pork sauce
12:50 PM Select the softest most tender pieces, sauce and arrange in the box
12:55 PM Spritz with water, take a photo and close box
1:00 PM Turn in Pork
1:05 PM Unwrap the brisket and separate the flat from the point
1:10 PM Remove the last turn in box from the cooler, open the box and remove the damp paper towel
1:15 PM Heat the brisket sauce
1:15 PM Slice the flat pencil thin, drag through sauce, season and cover with foil on the cutting board
1:20 PM Arrange the burnt ends and slices in the turn in box
1:25 PM Spritz with water, take a photo and close box
1:30 PM Turn in brisket
1:35 PM Time for a beer (or two)
2:00 PM Clean up and pack up
4:00 PM KCBS Awards Ceremony