Are you going to start competing for the first time this year?
If so, post up and let us know who you are and what your plans are.
I plan on trying my hand at some competitions this year for the first time. My team name is Huminie's Hogalicious BBQ.
I have been BBQing for years in my backyard and I have some friends who compete who have been urging me to start competing for quite a while. Last June I cooked up a brisket and pulled pork feast for my daughter's high school graduation party and fed about 70 guests (and cooked enough for many more). That was the moment I thought to myself that I should try my hand at competing. I started doing some research and found this site. I then learned of an upcoming contest in Stockton a few weeks away and made plans to attend. Ben and Ric were very friendly and helpful and made me feel welcome. I got to talk to many of the teams and best of all helped out in the judging tent during turn ins and judging. It was all over then.
I started practicing presentation, cooking times, flavor profiles. I also decided to attend another contest, this time looking for a team to help. Ric took me under his wing and showed me just about everything he did in competition. My wife even made his turn in boxes, and he "let me" cook breakfast for the team.
By this point I had most of the items needed to compete available to me and I signed up for a rib cookoff in Redding. This was my first time doing any sort of contest on my own. I got a chance to set up my site, and take a swing at turning in product to the judges. I had every step of my process written down on a white board with the exact time it needed to happen to make sure I didn't miss a step. I made a fairly crucial mental error, but overall was pleased with my performance and placed 9th out of 43 teams. I was very happy with a top 10 finish my first time out.
Next, I made a trip out to Kansas City to take in the American Royal. I got to meet a ton of great BBQ folks and see how the world's largest BBQ contest was run. I got to visit with some friends who competed and see how they do things.
In early December I purchased a Backwoods Fatboy smoker and since then I have been working to learn it and figure out my timing with it.
I plan to compete in several contests in central and northern California this year, including Ric's Backyard BBQ Championship, Morgan Hill and Stockton. Going further afield will depend on finances and how well I am doing.
Looking forward to a fun season of cooking and meeting lots of new friends! Can't wait to get started!