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Competition vs. Homemade

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  • Bkhuna
    Club Member
    • Apr 2019
    • 437
    • Merritt Island Florida

    Competition vs. Homemade

    I just got finished watching "Smoke and Ribbons" a documentary about competitive cooking teams at the American Royal in Kansas City. It got me thinking about all the stuff these teams do to their meats. I watched on team in particular who dumped bottled commercial sauce over their brisket before wrapping it up in foil and others who slathered Parkay over ribs before piling on brown sugar.

    I know each of these teams is trying to stand out from the others for the competitive edge but I'm curious, how many of use do these kinds of things at home?

  • smokin fool
    Club Member
    • Apr 2019
    • 1521
    • Mississauga, Ont

    #2
    Not me, I want to taste the meat not add on's apart from the dry rub.
    I've tried adding things prior, during and after the smoke and have decided that if I do add sauce its after the smoke, usually I'll leave half the meat as is and sauce or whatever the other half.
    All that being said, nothings written in stone around here when it comes to smoking.

    Comment

    • Donw
      Club Member
      • Jul 2017
      • 2810

      #3
      It is just a whole other world from my backyard. Good on the competitors for finding ways to standout, but I believe that when they are feeding their families they are cooking more like we backyard people do. Nothing beats home cooking.

      Comment

      • Troutman
        Club Member
        • Aug 2017
        • 7197
        • Republic of Texallence

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        #4
        You hit the nail on the head. Comp cooking is about pleasing a narrow population of judges who are bound within certain guidelines. Match those guidelines and flavor profiles, while somehow standing out in the crowd, is how you win.

        We backyard warriors are cooking for ourselves and what we like. That's seen here in the forum when folks talk about different ways they like their ribs for instance. Some like them bite through, some fall off the bone, some mushy. We cook for ourselves, and we are our own judges.

        Comment

        • Troutman
          Club Member
          • Aug 2017
          • 7197
          • Republic of Texallence

          • OUTDOOR COOKERS
            22" Weber Kettle - Red Premium Limited Edition
            6 Burner Weber Summit Gasser
            22" and 18" Weber WSM Smoker
            18” Jumbo Joe
            36" double door Lyfe Tyme offset stick burner (SOLD !)
            Pitts & Spitts Pellet Pro 2436
            BBQ ACCESSORIES
            Classic Thermopen
            Thermoworks SMOKE
            Fireboard Pro with Pit Viper fan
            Grill Grates
            SNS for the 22" Weber kettle
            A-MAZE-N Smoker 12" Tube & Tray
            Weber stainless veggie basket
            Weber stainless fish basket
            Weber stainless rib rack
            Phat Mat cooking mats
            Barbestar BBQ Cooking Gloves
            WOOD & PELLET PREFERENCES
            For Beef (brisket, beef ribs, large clods/roasts) = 100% mesquite, oak or hickory
            For Chicken & other fowl = competition blend, cherry/oak/hickory
            For Turkey = 100% hickory or competition blend
            For Pork Shoulder = mesquite, oak or hickory
            For Pork Chops or Ribs = 100% applewood
            SOUS VIDE
            Anova Immersion Circulator 900 watt & 12 & 18 quart Rubbermaid containers with hinged sous vide lids
            INDOOR COOKWARE
            Generic Calphalon non-stick cookware set of pots and pans
            12" & 14" All-Clad Stainless skillets
            Cast Iron 12" skillet by Victoria
            La Creuset Cast Iron 7 quart Dutch Oven - Yellow Round
            La Creuset Cast Iron 7 quart Dutch Oven - Cherry Oval
            Old Revere Wear Copper & Stainless Pots (handed down)

            JA Henckels 15 piece Stainless Knife Set
            Victorinox 12" Fibrox Pro Slicing Knive
            Victorinox 6" Curved Boning Knife
            Set of Dalstrong Japanese Steak Knives

          #5
          Another point I'd like to make. There are probably a few thousand comp pitmasters out there. For them it's a hobby, it's a way to be competitive and for the lucky few it's a business. Backyard cooking and cookers number in the millions and are growing everyday. If you listen to Meathead's latest podcast he talks about this. If we can pull off a successful Meat-Up next year, more than likely we'll attract more sponsors. More sponsors means a larger venue which will attract more people. Backyard events are rare indeed, this is a chance to bring it to the forefront making knowledge accessible and lending credence to this cooking avenue. I for one am excited about that.

          Comment

          • klflowers
            Club Member
            • Sep 2015
            • 3047
            • Tennessee

            #6
            My cousin was on a comp team earlier this summer. He said they entered it on a lark. One of the team members used to own a popular BBQ stand before he retired. Not being familiar with comp cooking, they did ribs like they were doing them for themselves. They came in dead last, but they had a several slabs left over and they were able to sell them. They were the only team that sold out.

            To answer the question, no, I don't do q comp style. One day I may try it, but I am lazy and the ribs at least sound like too much work.

            Comment

            • Mosca
              Charter Member
              • Oct 2014
              • 3174
              • PA
              • Large Big Green Egg, Weber Performer Deluxe, Weber Smokey Joe Silver, Maverick 732, DigiQ, and too much other stuff to mention.

              #7
              The basics are pretty straightforward: meat, seasonings, smoke. the farther you get from that, the more complexity you add, the more you create the possibility for error. Apply these things in the proper manner and you will always have success. But, the better you get, the more complexity you can infuse!

              I keep things simple. It fits who I am and people like it. I tweaked a couple rubs and sauces to make them my own, and I repeat them. Parkay and sugar, I’m pretty sure I tried that once. I don’t recall the result, only that I didn’t do it again. It was probably okay, though; they’re ribs. People boil them and they still taste good. (Not as good, but people keep boiling them so they must be okay.)

              I don’t want to be a cheerleader for our parent site. I’m not the evangelist type. But I landed here for a reason, and that reason is that things are explained. There is science to it, people have tried the different ways, and they’ve said, “This. These are the things that give you this particular result.” And further, if you want a different result, you can understand how to get it. (If you want mushy ribs that still taste okay, boil them.)

              Here I can understand taste. You know what? A lot of the things Meathead likes, I don’t particularly like as much. Some things I do, but not everything. But these are ideas, not prescriptions. Cooking is creativity, not paint by numbers. Look at the recipe, think, “I don’t like this part,” or “This other thing would fit here perfectly!” And to tie it back to competition, you might find that your way of making ribs fits perfectly with slathering with Parkay, or maybe butter... and packing on brown sugar... or honey, or maple syrup, or peach preserves. Or Coca-Cola.

              Ideas are everywhere. The more you know, the more you understand, and the more you understand, the more you look to know. And eventually, one day you will just wing it, and pick stuff out of the pantry and the garden and make a meal. Muscle memory for your taste buds. Against advice you might get, I say: Don’t write it down! That meal was unique. If you write it down, the next time you make it might be winter, and you don’t have that fresh garden oregano you used in August. So if you want to follow the recipe, you have to go to the store and buy “fresh” oregano... or, you can make up something different. Obviously, you could use dried oregano, but instead how about using that honey and mustard, and some garlic this time? Glaze some carrots, brown some potatoes in a skillet.

              That was a kind of long riff. I hope it helps, even though it is kind of tangential to the question I think it hits the heart of the answer: have fun and make it taste good.
              Last edited by Mosca; August 28th, 2019, 08:48 AM.

              Comment


              • klflowers
                klflowers commented
                Editing a comment
                Rah rah rah!!!

              • texastweeter
                texastweeter commented
                Editing a comment
                I'd vote for ya
            • glitchy
              Club Member
              • Jul 2019
              • 506
              • Central IA
              • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill
                w/ Big Joetisserie, SnS LP, and Vortex
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              #8
              Wouldn't a competition be like going to a fancy restaurant? Do I put a pat of butter on a steak when I'm done? Sure, but do I make a garlic herb butter every week? I might try it if it's a special occasion. I love to try different things, but usually they are simple things trying to improve the end product that are easy enough that I'd be willing to do it every time. Holidays or special guests and I might do something unique...but then I can't remember how I did it a couple years later when I want to do it again :-)

              My family generally likes things pretty simple, so most of my cooks are just dry rubbed. I might make a chimichurri sauce occasionally and do make homemake BBQ sauce a few times a year, but mostly just rubs and bottled sauce for dipping...and a pat of unsalted butter for steaks.

              If I was spending $1000 plus (meat, entry, gas, etc.) for a single KCBS comp weekend though, you bet I'd pull out any crazy stunt that I think could give me an edge. I don't have any interest in comps because I'd be bankrupt and divorced since I'd need to have every gadget, cooker, and competition hauling/camping/relaxing accessory known to man to feel I was on a level playing field when I met up with big names. I do tend to go a bit overboard and know things to steer away from.

              Comment

              • Max Good
                AmazingRibs.com's Keeper of the Flame
                • Jun 2014
                • 807
                • Max Good

                #9
                Competitive Q is waaaay different from what real people eat at home. https://amazingribs.com/bbq-and-gril...q-competitions

                Comment

                • FireMan
                  Charter Member
                  • Jul 2015
                  • 7473
                  • Bottom of Winnebago

                  #10
                  It reminds me of a saying awhile back, “what is reality”?

                  Comment

                  • mountainsmoker
                    Banned Former Member
                    • Jun 2019
                    • 1851
                    • Bryson City, NC

                    #11
                    I agree with Max Good Competition is way different from home cooking. I am sure others that others who compete will speak up.

                    Comment

                    • TripleB
                      Club Member
                      • May 2017
                      • 570
                      • La Crescenta
                      • Jambo Backyard Smoker
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                        Portable Kitchen Grill
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                        Weber Gas Grill, Silver A
                        BBQ Guru ATC
                        Favorite Beer: Peroni
                        Favorite Sports Teams: Rams, Dodgers, Kings, UCLA Bruins

                      #12
                      I've competed in 2 comps, but mostly judge. Backyard and competition are galaxies apart. Comp teams generally have better equipment, working in teams, applying tricks of the trade to render that perfectly moist brisket, bite through chicken skin, and those ribs with the "competition bite". It is by far the best BBQ you will ever have....IMHO. They buy Waygu beef, freshly butchered chickens from a local purveyor, import their pork from Georgia, etc. And they really dont care about the money purse. They just want the "call".

                      Here's an example. At one of the comps i competed in, i did brisket and pulled pork for our team. I bought one (1) choice brisket. I noticed a competitor across from me with a brand new Lang smoker. Went over to say hi and check out the Lang. I had just put on my brisket and so had he...... three (3) Waygu briskets. That's $900 of beef and just for one category. Insane what they do.

                      Comment

                      • au4stree
                        Club Member
                        • Aug 2018
                        • 520
                        • Birmingham, AL
                        • Weber Summit Charcoal Grilling Center (WSCGC), PK360(graphite), Jumbo Joe and PBC. Weber kettle @ the hunting camp.

                        #13
                        When I competed we tried all kinds of things to stand out. We had to make it look just right (think crazy glazes for that perfect sheen), it hadb to be sweeter than normal (I prefer tangy rather than sweet or just S&P). We used to scrape the skin on our chxn thighs to ensure the perfect bite, it was nuts. I never cook like that in my backyard.

                        It was fun, we meet some great people and we likely will get back in it when kids aren't consuming our time.

                        Comment


                        • TripleB
                          TripleB commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I hear that competitors are starting to use breast skin instead of the thigh skin on their thighs. Still scrape the fat off, but breast skin is thinner than thigh skin, thus easier to achieve the "bit through".

                          They are also doing what they call the "bloom" cut on their pork, rather than just isolating the MM. It basically exposes all the muscles during a cook, thus good caramelization.

                          You being from Alabama, what do you think of Bob Gibson's White Sauce?

                        • au4stree
                          au4stree commented
                          Editing a comment
                          TripleB. I grew up on that white sauce, practically in baby bottle. Love the stuff.

                          Thanks for the info on the chicken skin. Will have to try that

                        • North Carolina Mike
                          North Carolina Mike commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Wait! What? Kids stop consuming your time? I did not know that could happen. My daughter is grown, married and has 2 kids and I still expect her to call at any time with a new project.
                      • dshaffes
                        Charter Member
                        • Jan 2015
                        • 272
                        • NJ

                        #14
                        I've been a comp cook for 10 years and a backyard BBQ cook for 20 years. Although I agree that the food is prepared differently, I have learned a lot about BBQ doing comps and feel my cooking is better because of it. It's not for everyone, but I enjoy participating in comps and feel great when I score well against other Pitmasters.

                        Comment


                        • TripleB
                          TripleB commented
                          Editing a comment
                          My story above about checking out the guy with a Lang and him smoking three Wagyu briskets, I actually scored higher than him on briskets. Still feel good about it!!
                      • Randy-Phx
                        Club Member
                        • Apr 2018
                        • 500
                        • Phoenix, AZ

                        #15
                        I’v never done competition cooking, but I did go to the KCBS contest in Payson, Az. That said, I am going to the American Royal BBQ contest next month to become a certified judge. I’ll take some pictures and walk around the speedway to checkout different techniques.

                        Comment


                        • TripleB
                          TripleB commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Good for you!!! Total envy on my part. I assume that taking the judging class at the American Royal also gets you into judging some event.... right? Once you judge, you are always on their list and get invited every year. That would be a site to behold. Someday for me maybe....

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