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BBQ Champ!

mrmaroon

Well-Known Member
Me and my father have been smoking meat ever since I was about 5 years old. This past weekend we finally went to a competiton with our new "Stumps Smoker". There were 26 teams, one of the teams is the current national champ, two were previous national champions. We placed 5th chicken, 5th Ribs, 4th Brisket, 2nd Pork, and 1st in the people's choice award. We got 2nd place (Reserve Grand) for Illinois. We ended up winning 1875$ so not to bad of a haul! It was about the most hectic 24 hours I have ever experienced. We started smoking the meat at 10pm and finished at 11AM the next day. We both took a sleep shifts of 3 hours on a cot in 90 degree muggyness:thumbdown: The beef we bought was Kobe from japan. It cost 90 dollars a pound!

Anyways, I was pretty excited and wanted to share the glory! If anyone wants to try some award winning BBQ just get ahold of me and I'll send it your way:lol:
 

torbenbp

Well-Known Member
Congratulations :thumbup:

I`ll have two medium Kobe steaks please..;)

Thanks for sharing you passion with us.

Kind regards
 

JimR

Well-Known Member
Awesome stuff, man! Congrats. Wish I could taste some.

Funny that Kobe beef costs less in the US than in Japan...it's up around $400 a pound here.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Congratulations, Caleb!:thumbup:

We're still short of a BBQ Chef for the Coticule Pelgrimage in September...;)

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

mrmaroon

Well-Known Member
malacoda said:
Sweet!:thumbup: I'll take one pulled pork with Carolina vinegar, hold the slaw please.

To late! I made another pork butt today and took it to my grandmothers for supper. We ate almost all of it and what litte that was left I let her have :blush:.

Ill have to take some pictures of the food, equipment, and newly aquired champion recognition hardware.

Regards,
Mrmaroon
 

mrmaroon

Well-Known Member
Well guys, I have great news! Our BBQ team (almost typed BBW) has set a new world record in the KCBS (Kansas city BBQ Society) circuit! We got 4 grand champion placings in a row! Only one team last year got 3 in a row! We are quite the buzz now and there is even talk of rookie of the year!

I'm going to turn this thread into an ongoing journal of our progress, like Jim does with J'nats. If you want to read it then go right ahead! I may even let a few of our secrets slide so you guys can make some award winning Q. The story starts from the beginning.

One day my dad called me and asked if I wanted to go to a BBQ competition with him. He bought a stump's smoker (the classic seen here
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). We packed our stuff into a "rent me at tool center" hauler and went to Illinois! We were going to name our BBQ team "rent me at tool center" because we figured we would be using that trailer a lot and all the big BBQ teams have their names on their trailers!

We got to the competition and cooked 2 briskets, 4 pork butts (is actually the shoulder), 8 racks of ribs, and 24 chicken thighs. Out of all this we turn in only 8 slices of brisket, a sandwich sized pile of pulled pork, 6 racks of ribs, and 6 chicken thighs. We stagger when we can incase the first round over shoots on temperature. We offset about 15 minutes.

During this first comp I had no clue what was going on, I was just there to drink beer and maybe help out a little. I had no knowledge of BBQ. During the cooks meeting, the reps asked if there were any teams that had never cooked before. We raised our hands and everyone looked at us thinking "hell yea, we aren't getting last today!". We had to stay and listen to the rules for KCBS.

At our first competition there were 2 world recognized teams, Quau (the current no 1 ranked team) and Lotta Bull BBQ (ranked about 20th, was a previous national champion). These teams had sponsors and RV's the size of a semi trailer. We figured there was no way in hell we were coming out of here alive. We hoped we would place in the top 10 in ONE category.

After a long night of cooking (we start at 11PM and finish at noon the next day) we turned in our meats. During turn in, there is a 30min gap between each category. The goal is to put your meat in one of those styrophome cases and transport it to the judges. When this is done you wait for results.


Judging system
------------------------------------------------------------------
Judging at one of these comps is the fairest thing I've ever seen. Coming from a farming background, all it takes to win a livestock show is getting in the "know" with the judge. This doesn't work for BBQ.

When you turn your meat in (lets say chicken, it's first) you take it to a table outside the judging room. Your box has a number on the top. When the people outside have 6 boxes, they take it in to the judges and they start judging! The rules are kind of complicated, but it is a double blind system. .

-Each judge can only judge each team once, so if they got us on chicken they don't get us again for pork...etc.

-A team can only be judged against another team one time. So if we were judged against Quau on chicken, we wouldn't be judged against them on pork.

-When the rep outside gets your box, they put a new number OVER your old one. This is so you can't find a judge and bribe him to score your number high.

-The results are scored by points out of a 1-9 scale with of 3 categories, appearance, texture, taste.

-appearance has a multiplier of 1, texture 2, and taste 4.

You can see it is a fair system, it also gives a team a basis on how they did as a team as opposed to only how they did against everyone else. With the point system we can see "Oh, we got 270 points at this comp, 268 at another... etc. Instead of 1st, 2nd, 1st get me?

Back to the results
-------------------------------------------------

We went and sat at a table with my dad's friends. They were the reason we went there in the first place. His friend was the head guy for the fairgrounds in that county and put on the BBQ comp. This being our first competition we were anxious to see how we did.

They give the results for chicken first starting from 10th and going to 1st. We got 5th place! We couldn't believe it! My dad grabbed the check and I grabbed the trophy. Next was ribs, we got 5th again! Pork was third and we got 2nd place - I started grabbing the checks now:lol: . Brisket we got 4th place. We were the only team to get top 5 in everything. We also won the people choice award.

The end result was
Chicken 5th
Ribs 5th
Pork 2nd
Brisket 4th
Overall: Reserve Grand Champion
Prize: 1,250$
 

mrmaroon

Well-Known Member
Second Competition: New Palestine, Indiana

After winning an unbeliveable resrve grand as a rookie team, my dad decided to thrown down on some new equipment. You can see our new trailer (goodbye "rent me at tool center") here
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It is the red one with two stumps smokers on the back. Stump is the short guy!

We didn't go to this competition until 2 months after our first. We needed to get the trailer dialed in and our game faces on. My dad is the type of person that once he gets going on something he goes balls out until he just forgets about it. Sort of like me with razors I would say.

We tried a different brisket this time, everything else was the same. Usually we use Wagyu. This is like kobe but it isn't. Kobe beef is from the Kobe breed of cattle and can only be called that if it comes from Japan. Waygu is usually half angus and half Kobe, it is produced here in the US. We purchased an organic brisket with no growth hormones to try.

When we got to the competiton, my dad and I had help from another one of my dads friends in the area. I was also promoted to pitmaster. I had time to learn all about BBQ during the two months off and got a promotion! I went from 10% of the winnings to 40% which is a good jump - my dad retired to CEO of our team.

At this competition we now had two different smokers. We could run two different temps with a brisket on each side, 3 pork buts on each side, etc. Then when we were finished we pick the best ones. We ran our smokers at 240 and 260 degrees F. What is interesting about this is if you start a brisket at 240 and then two hours later start one at 260 it takes only 1 and a half more hours for both to reach the same temperature. Comp BBQ is all about timing, it is better to be done though than it is to be not done!

When smoking any type of meat it is imperative to let the meat rest after cooking. To do this we use an insulated box that holds in heat very well. We let our briskets and pork set for 3 hours before slicing. If you slice right out of the smoker the juices will just flow out and be lost. By letting it set the meat has time to absorb these juices.

At this competition we were against Quau again. At the first comp we only lost by 1.14 points out of 300 - so we were damn close!

At this one we took everyone out with no contest. Our results were

Chicken 2nd
Ribs 2nd
Pork 1st
Brisket 17th
Overall: Grand Champ
Prize: 1500$

I think we tanked on brisket because we didn't use the waygu and also we didn't put any burnt ends into the box. More on burnt ends later.
 

mrmaroon

Well-Known Member
Third competition: Jasper, Indiana

This competition was in a much nicer location than the previous two. Instead of being in an open lot, smokers were line up and down the streets of an old downtown area. It was also the jasper strassenfest. Jasper is a very german influenced town. I went to hopefully get some good german beer and food. All they had was bud light lol, but I did get some weinersnitzle. I figured it would be some kind of sausage, but all it was was a glorified breaded tenderloin with saurkraut. It was a nice change of pace from BBQ. At most comps I take only about 6 bites of BBQ. I am so sick of the shit, when I get home I go to long johns and get some deeply fried food!

At this competition we were next to a great team One2BBQ. They two funny guys that BBQ for a living. They run a catering outfit out of illinois. At every comp we've been to we always get next to a great bunch of people and have a great time. BBQers are fun people to be around!

At every competition I bring my standard knife sharpening kit. Two coticules, an Escher, a Norton 4k/8k, a tonsorial gem barber hone I keep in my pocket, and a diamond hone for rough work incase another team wants their knives sharpened. I also bring a strop for slicers.

Anytime someone asks me about my hones I always bring up coticule.be and have a nice chat about different stones and straight razors. Most people think I'm crazy with a big pile of "rocks". After sharpening their knives they see it differently:thumbup: .

This competition we went back to wagyu brisket. We also put burnt ends back in the box. Briskets come in two varieties. Most grocery stores carry "Flats" which is a flat muscle that you make slices from. However, if you go to sams club or a butcher you will get a "Packer" which is a flat still attached to another muscle the "point". The point is used to make burnt ends.

To make burnt ends first you need to know how to make a regular brisket.

First trim your brisket, look at weber virtual bullet for a video on this.

Rub your flat with dry rub. We use a mix of 3 rubs. Lightly dust with obi Q's garlic pepper, lighly dust with fajita fabulosa, go very very heavy with smokin guns hot.

Let set for an hour in a bag

Smoke your brisket for 4-5 hours at 265-275 degrees F.

Wrap in aluminum foil to prevent oversmoking (or just stop using wood if you aren't trying to smoke other things). This part is KEY!!!! Most people oversmoke the hell out of their meats, it leaves a dark black layer of creosote that tastes very bitter.

Cook your FLAT (don't worry about the point) to an internal temp of 195-200.

After that seperate them and put the flat into the insulated box for later slicing

Place the point back into the smoker right next to where the fire comes in still in foil

After another hour remove and slice into 3/4" square cubes and rub them with a half mix of blues hog original and red sauce.

Cook until the sauce sets (never leave them in for more than 20-30 min or the sugar in the sauce will start to burn).

Remove and eat quickly! The reason for cooking them so long is because the point is much more fatty then the flat. You need to render out that fat. The extra smoking and sauce create the smokiest greatest tasting meat of all. They are my favorite thing. We put 6 cubes along with as many slices as we can into the box.

At this competition we placed
Chicken 25th
Ribs 2nd
Pork 4th
Brisket 3rd
Overall: Grand Champ!
Prize: around 1600$

We couldn't believe we hit two in a row! People were starting to recognize the team with the red stumps trailer!
 

mrmaroon

Well-Known Member
Fourth Competition:French Lick Casino

It seems at every competition I go to I learn something about honing or various hones. At this one we went to a casino/resort at french lick, Indiana. For those that don't know, this is also the area where the old hindostan hones are mined. Driving through the amish country we went down a windy road that had been blasted through. At various places there were veins of hindostan running horizontally through the rock. If we weren't in such a hurry I would have ran out and grabbed a few!

Upon arriving we checked in. The people at the check in had heard of us and said we had a target painted on our backs from our 2 in a row rookie win. We thought this was pretty cool and also scary.

The scariest part of this place was its casino. My dad is a gambling fanatic and I knew he would be there for a while. Luckily we had 3 other helpers, Paul and Joe - my dads friends, and Lary - my dads brother. We got all our stuff injected and marinated and dad went to the casino. 3 hours later he came back and was 600 or so dollars in the hole.

After a night of heavy drinking we threw the meats on and went to talk to other teams. We met this one fellow who we nicknamed "Homebrew". He was there with his friends obviously for entertainment and booze. He let us sample two of his home brewed beers which were very tasty. This guy was so shitfaced that he couldn't talk right. He sounded very high pitched and stuttered quite a bit. He passed out on a cot on the middle of the road. He finally woke up at 1PM the next day when the semi trucks drove around him and woke him up.

My dad decided that he would go back to the casino and win his 600 dollars back. This part scared me a little, because I thought it might cut into my 40% of the winnings! Assuming we did win of course, I am usually optimistic, my dad is more humble.

Parsley Boxes
--------------------------------

The absolute worse thing you have to do at a BBQ competition is parsley boxes, they also tie with trimming chicken, but that is for the next segment.

To do a parsley box you first chiffon lettuce and place it in the bottom of the box. Then you cut little pieces of parsley and place them INDIVIDUALLY into the box until it is just a bed of parsley. You set the meat on top of that. Parsley boxes take about an hour apiece and I usually do them. Paul is the only other person that helps on this job. If doing it alone I usually get three done before I start seeing double from all the parsley/beer. Then I finish the last one during the heat of battle in the morning.

BBQ GURU
---------------------------------
Our stumps smokers are vertical smokers. The have a gravity feed for charcoal that feeds it down a chute and it only burns at the bottom. There is a ball valve on the outside that controls the air flow for temp regulation. It sucks the heat into the smoker from the bottom right and exits at the top left smokestack.

This is a good system, allowing us to add charcoal every 8 hours or so instead of 1. The problem with it is temperature regulation. Although stumps smokers are insulated 2" thick, a brisk wind could spell disaster if you aren't awake to watch the smokers. Because of this we use a "BBQ Guru".

This BBQ Guru is a fan that goes into the ball valve. It is connected to a little computer that you can input the temp into. You place a thermometer in the smoker and if the smoker is to cold it blows more air into it. This works great and it always holds the temp within one or two degrees.

The only problem with this system is if your temperature probe falls out of the smoker. during the heat of battle we accidentally knocked it out with a rack of ribs. 15 mins later we came back and the computer said 98 degrees. It was reading the outside temp and the fan was blowing into the smoker trying to get it to raise! The actual temp inside the smoker was 350 degrees, a little hotter than the 275 we set it to!

Our ribs got a little more glaze on them because of this, but it didn't spell disaster.

At this comp we placed
Chicken: 2nd
Ribs: 12th
Pork: 18th
Brisket: 1st
Overall: Grand Champion
Prize: Around 2000$

This was our lucky three in a row! We really had a target on us now!
 

wdwrx

Well-Known Member
Congratulations! 17th to 3rd for brisket is a good jump! And a great write up!
I'll be following along.:)

As a quaint and provincial Canuck, I'm slowly come to the realization that we western Canadians are a little behind the times when it come to BBQ. Cutting edge around here is a plain old propane fired grill. I picked up a cheap "Big Chief" smoker a few years ago and played around with it a bit, with some pretty impressive results, but that was just dabbling. I'm going to have to break it out again and fire it up; I'd love to try doing brisket that way.
IIRC there is (was) a TV program that follows that cuircit, I'll have to make it a point to tune in this winter and pay a little more attention. Seems to me that it's a pretty competetive group.

Wishing you well on future competitions,
-Chris
 

mrmaroon

Well-Known Member
The show you are referring to is BBQ Pitmasters. During its first season it was more of a documentary of KCBS competitions. However, they must not have done well because they switched it all up and now it is like Iron chef. You won't really learn anything watching the second season. I stopped watching it :O
 
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