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Thread: Competition vs backyard

  1. #1
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    Competition vs backyard

    I am tossing around the idea of jumping into a couple of small rib cook offs in my area this upcoming summer. Not expecting to win or even place, just looking to have fun and see how my ribs will do against more serious barbecue cooks. Are there any big differences that should be made to the ribs? I prefer no sauce on mine. I just feel they taste great the way they are.

  2. #2
    TVWBB Fan JPowers's Avatar
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    BBQcritic.com is a great website to see what judges are looking for in appearance. The backyard cook can crank out some world class Q, but if they haven't mastered the art of the box, they probably won't get a call.

    http://www.bbqcritic.com/
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  3. #3
    TVWBB Guru Bruce Bissonnette's Avatar
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    Rib cook-offs can be fun. Check out the rules for each contest, some might prohibit garnish in your turn in box, there are several her in Michigan that do not allow garnish. If it's optional, I would use, because people eat with their eyes first.
    Secondly, you're going to have to use sauce. Forget about your personal preferences when doing a contest. You want to cook a tender rib with a sweeter sauce, not so sweet that your teeth start aching, but something that complements the meat.
    When it comes to rib cook-offs or regular BBQ competitions, remember these 3 words when it comes to cooking for judges.....DO NOT OFFEND. Cook your meat well, so it is tender; don't use a rub with too much heat, and don't drown your ribs in sauce.
    -------------------------------------
    Good Talking With You,

    Bruce

    (2) 18" WSM's (1) 22" WSM
    Treasurer, Great Lakes BBQ Association
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  4. #4
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    Thanks for the suggestions!! As I said earlier, I'm just wanting to try it because it's so much fun cooking and I think doing it against others would be a great time. Satisfaction of a decent finish would just be icing on the cake. Thanks again!!! Glad to be part of team Weber!

  5. #5
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    I'd suggest you cook some ribs with different flavors for each rack, invite your family or friends over and see which one they like the most. In a contest it's not about what you like, it's about what the judges like.

    Good luck! Post pics if you can
    Meatcraft BBQ Team, 2 X 22 WSM, 2 X 18 WSM
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    TVWBB Fan WilliamD's Avatar
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    Hey Matt, like you I am also preparing to take the plunge as well locally this summer. Everyone had very good advice and although new here I would like to post an additional tidbit. Know your region/area. Every region, judges seem to look for something different. I am here in the Northeast, so what they are looking for here isn't the same as what they expect in the Southern or West Coast regions. Research what is prominent in your area/region for the cook off and try to tailor/adapt your style of cooking for such.......Just my humble opinion and Good Luck to You!!!
    WSM 18.5 / RecTec RT-680, RT-300 Mini

  7. #7
    TVWBB Member M Morrill's Avatar
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    You can turn in your ribs with no sauce but you will likely have more success with a nice sweet sauce. A good resource for ideas for your turn in boxes can be found on Facebook. Search BBQ TURN IN BOX CRITIQUE.

    You can check our website as we have results and pictures for each event we competed in. Address is in the signature below. Good luck and don't forget to practice as much as you can.
    www.radfondobbq.com
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  8. #8
    TVWBB Wizard Bob Bass's Avatar
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    Matt...

    Welcome to the world of competition BBQ. You'll meet loads of excellent people that share your love for BBQ.

    If I have only one tidbit to offer, it would be... Go into each contest with one goal in mind.... To Have Fun !!!
    As others have noted, you are cooking for the judges, not your family, not your friends and not for yourself. Big difference.

    Rib contests are a great way to start. BUT... Don't go in with the expectation that you are going to win !!!!
    Way too many potential pitmasters have lost their love of the Sport / Hobby because their goals were set too high initially.

    Make the presentation appealing to the eye. Make it look moist and tender. Make it look so good that judges can't wait to sample them.
    BUT... even more important... Cook them to perfection... Just short of fall off the bone.
    For Taste... It is said that your product should not offend the judges. What that means is to make it taste BALANCED !!!!
    Some sweet, some salt, some heat, etc... Nothing too off the chart, if you will.

    It is we judges taking a single bite that will determine who wins !!!

    Wishing You and Your Team, BBQ Excellence !!!


    Bob Bass
    and since I can only do this today and partly tomorrow (term ends tomorrow night...)
    Treasurer - CBBQA California Barbeque Association
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    KCBS, CBBQA, Operation BBQ Relief

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the advice guys! It is all helpful. The people that I have served my ribs to have said they are better than anything at rib fest in Fargo so that is comforting. This contest isn't affiliated with KCBS or any other association. It will be tough to tell what flavors are best liked so I will just have to serve them to everyone I know and get feedback. I feel I have a good base with the rub and cooking technique. Just a few minor tweaks and some testing on sauces. Thanks again. Glad to be part of Team Weber with you all.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the suggestions Bob! I really enjoy cooking on the weekends that I can. It will certainly be more for fun than anything else. I really just want to see how a backyard amateur compares to a comp. The satisfaction of placing would just be awesome. As long as I give them something I feel is the best I can do I will be happy. And if I do place then I guess I have a little extra beer money!haha

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