Preparing for competition


 

DaleO

New member
A few years back, we bought a few 19 in WSMs for the annual Silicon Valley BBQ contest. We did very well in the Backyard division, Tri tip and chicken. Now considering starting full KCBS next year when things open up again. I need to figure out how much more we need to invest in. 2x19 in WSM worked fine for backyard division, but might be difficult for all 4 proteins needed for KCBS. My biggest unknown is Brisket, never cooked one on WSM not am I sure if a 19 in is the best choice Vs the 22 in. Perhaps we can get by with 3 pits, I think the pit used for Brisket or Butt can also be used for chicken, while they are resting.

Anyone here compete with WSMs exclusively and what do you use?

Im also looking online for any instructional vids and articles. I know of Harry Soo, wondering if there are others who use WSM and put out vids or articles.

Thanks ,
Dale
 

Scott-Devon

New member
A few years back, we bought a few 19 in WSMs for the annual Silicon Valley BBQ contest. We did very well in the Backyard division, Tri tip and chicken. Now considering starting full KCBS next year when things open up again. I need to figure out how much more we need to invest in. 2x19 in WSM worked fine for backyard division, but might be difficult for all 4 proteins needed for KCBS. My biggest unknown is Brisket, never cooked one on WSM not am I sure if a 19 in is the best choice Vs the 22 in. Perhaps we can get by with 3 pits, I think the pit used for Brisket or Butt can also be used for chicken, while they are resting.

Anyone here compete with WSMs exclusively and what do you use?

Im also looking online for any instructional vids and articles. I know of Harry Soo, wondering if there are others who use WSM and put out vids or articles.

Thanks ,
Dale
Try T-roy cooks on YouTube, he uses WSM for quite a lot of cooking. Found him pretty useful.
 

GaryP

TVWBB Fan
I can't add a whole lot of info as we mostly did backyard(ribs and chicken) but we did do a couple full kcbs comps. My father in law has a 22 and I have an 18 and 22. It was plenty of room. I believe Harry did them on a pair of 18's but that's why he's the man! It already passed this year but the comp in Lodi called backyard on the grape is an awesome way to get your feet wet in kcbs style. Lots of help available if you want it along with face to face feedback from judges.

We have racks for top grates for more capacity when needed. With those three we were never wanting for extra space. And I liked having the extra space on the 22 when it came time to set the glaze on the ribs so they can lay flat. I also regret waiting so long to buy an actual cambro. Get out there and go for it. Good luck!
 

Richard S

TVWBB Fan
I saw two teams at the event I went to last week using WSM’s. One team had an 18 and a 22 and the other had three 22’s however he told me he might only use two of them. I think a 22 would be necessary for the brisket and shoulder.
 

Donna Fong

TVWBB Fan
Dale,
I think that depends on your style and what configuration you feel most comfortable using. I'm limited physically and my vehicle cannot transport that much. If you are big and strong and you have a big truck or rig, then a 22" WSM is fine, particularly for wide briskets. But there is a hack for everything. These are my scenarios from the biggest footprint to the smallest footprint.
1. 1X 22" WSM for brisket. 3X 18" WSMs for chicken, ribs, pork butt (1 meat in each cooker)
2. 4X18" WSMs for chicken, ribs, pork butt, brisket (1 meat in each cooker)
3. 3X18" WSMs. If hot and fast, then brisket in one WSM. Pork butt and ribs in one. Chicken in one.
4. 2X18" WSMs. Chicken and ribs in one. Pork butt and brisket in one.
5. 1x18" WSM. Cook brisket first on top. Then put in pork butt on bottom Pull out pork butt. Pull out brisket. Put in ribs on bottom. Put in chicken on top. Pull out chicken. Pull out ribs. Must have cambro in this scenario to hold meats.
6. 1x14" WSM. Same as above but reduce ribs in width and number. For me, reduce from 3 racks to 2 racks. Reduce number of chicken thighs in half. And pray.

Since I wrap, the scenarios are more complicated than above but you get the idea. I like number 6 and if I had to do another contest for fun, that's the way I would do it again like in Lancaster.
Donna
 

Chris Allingham

Administrator
Staff member
I know it can be done, but shoe-horning a 15 lb orbigger whole packer brisket into something smaller than a 22" WSM seems daunting.
You don't. You trim the heck out of it so you're cooking just the part you intend to serve to the judges.

Here's a pic of a competition brisket trimmed by Harry Soo. It started out at 14 pounds. The three areas of meat in front of the brisket have been trimmed off. It wouldn't be too difficult to fit this in an 18.5" WSM.

Of course, sometimes he starts with an 18 or 20 pound brisket...even more trimming is necessary!

Maybe Donna can correct me, but I'm not sure I ever saw Harry compete using a 22.5" WSM.

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Donna Fong

TVWBB Fan
I'm not sure if Harry has ever used a 22" at a contest, unless he was borrowing one. And that is entirely possible. I know we have never packed my 22" in NorCal.

I cringe whenever Harry trims the heck out of a brisket, as I think it is wasteful. And I know I can make it fit. I trimmed a 20+lber brisket many years ago. We put some wooden blocks underneath and it looked like a missile shooting into space. And it was shockingly tender.

Bob, it was 2014. Blazin' BBQ Throwdown. Kim of Knock UR Sox Off took GC. Diva Q came in 5th. I came in 12th. Sylvie came in 17th and Harry came in 15th. I cooked all meats on my 14" WSM. So that was a 6th, 9th, 20th and 12th place in chicken, ribs, pork and brisket. Of course, my worst score was my favorite entry, but that's competition for you. And whatever Diva was cooking for dessert beat me so I had to take second place with my lemon cheesecake.
 

Bob Bass

TVWBB Guru
Just noticed how well Benny did !!!
Lots of familiar names there...
Also interesting how the program follows a team's location, ie Steve Wilson.
 

John K BBQ

TVWBB Pro
22" WSM is a little awkward to move around but if you have a full size pick up, it's not impossible. Maybe use some kind of a dolly with big wheels if you can't set it up close to the pick up truck at the competition site? I haven't been to visit a competition site in forever but I understand the gateway and hunsaker drums (both more expensive than the 22" WSM) are really popular for competitions and either one of those would be harder to load and unload from a pick up truck IMO.
 

 

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