You’ve seen it on television, you’ve heard the chatter around the water cooler at work, and everyone that attends your backyard cookout tells you that your BBQ tastes the best, now it’s time to enter your succulent BBQ in a competition! Jump into the competition BBQ game!
Here’s how to get into the competitive BBQ circuit.
Attend a Contest
Find a BBQ contest in your area by checking out KBCS, then do a little research about the competition to find out what day competitors turn their meats in. If turn-in day is on a Saturday, go to the competition on Friday evening and meet the teams. It’s very relaxed and competitors are generally happy to chat it up with you about how to get started in BBQ competitions. On turn in day, the seasoned BBQ competitors won’t be able to socialize much until about 2 pm, after they’ve turned in their last entry to the judges.
Become a Judge
Many competition cooks start their career as a BBQ judge. To become a judge, you’ll pay a small fee and attend a 4-hour judging seminar to learn the rules and criteria for evaluating BBQ. As a BBQ judge, you’ll get to see the meats that are entered for judging, taste everything, and see what you’re up against before you even fill out your first entry form. This is an affordable and fun way to become part of the competition world.
Bite the Bullet
If your BBQ juices are flowing, there’s nothing wrong with jumping in feet first. If you want to take your delicious BBQ straight to a competition, just strategize. Scour online resources such as BBQ forums to explore what other BBQ teams have learned and experienced so that you will be prepared for your first contest. George Hensler has a great book called Startin’ the Fire and he outlines everything you need to know for your first BBQ contest.
Competitive BBQ folks are some of the nicest people that you’ll ever meet. When you enter your first BBQ contest, don’t hesitate to ask your neighbor if you have a question or forget something, they will be happy to help. Have fun and good luck!