View Full Version : First Competition Jitters

05-14-2012, 07:46 AM
OK, it's only Monday, contest isn't until the weekend, I already have a knot in my stomach and can't think about anything else. This is crazy. I've been over lists, looking at my time lines, checking supplies, rubs, sauces, disposable stuff, knives, etc. I already had Friday off work so we could leave before noon and get there nice and early, today I just scheduled another PTO day for Thursday as well so I can go over everything one more time. I'm not sure how I'm going to make it through the week, I should have just taken the whole week off. I know the family is getting a little sick of eating Chicken Thighs but if I didn't have to work I could cook em maybe 3-4 more times before the weekend! Of course then I probably wouldn't be able to find any thighs for the actual Comp cook. I'm sure the stores around me have already noticed they are going through a lot more thighs than usual.

I hope it gets easier as time goes on but I also hope I never lose that feeling of excitement as the competitions come and go. I keep trying to set realistic expectations, no DAL and no DQ's and it should be considered a success. Personally I'm hoping to finish in the top half in one or both of the meats I'm cooking and secretly I'll be happy if I finish higher in Chicken and Pork than my Team-Mate finishes with Ribs and Brisket.

And I should probably check if Johnny is cooking this weekend because he gave us all his cell phone number at his class and if by some rare chance I get a walk, I may just have to call him from the Stage! ;)

Big Poppa
05-14-2012, 10:01 AM
Trent....Simplify.....dont over think....

Manage your timeline by giving you tons of time...dont wait until sat to make your boxes....

In managing your timeline you need to have a time line....we go down to the minute with a spreadsheet.

Calm is best.....If you are worried at all start your big meats one hour earlier that your timeline and hold properly......

With your timeline make it 5 minutes early as your deadline...that gives you 9:59 as safety net.....

In your timeline make sure that you time your walk and route to turn in.....I have seen some that are 1/4 a mile away and that causes problems...

I hope this helps

05-14-2012, 10:11 AM
Thanks Sterling. I plan on trimming my chicken and getting it ready and vacuum sealed on Thursday so I won't have to deal with that at the comp. Then Friday after the cooks meeting we plan on building our boxes. It helps that I am taking the 1st and 3rd meat so we each have an hour between turn in times. I'm also planning to have my pork come off right before the chicken goes on or close to that, should give me a couple extra hours if I absolutely need it. Chicken timing I got down pretty good and being a timed cook I feel alright with that. Only scary part there is I've never had to hold my chicken for long periods of time before eating so if they are done early it could pose a problem, but shouldn't be an issue.

If things go well there will be just a few people I can thank for that, and you and your team are near the top of a short list.

Matt Dalton
05-14-2012, 10:30 AM
Here is my 2 cents..first off have fun!..if you don't this s@&t will get real old real fast..meet new teams around you there are so many cool people in BBQ it just amazes me sometimes..try to turn your meat as hot as possible and don't be afraid to turn it in on the early side this past weekend we were 20 feet from the judges tent and every meat was turned in on the early side..also with ribs try to get them from the same rack ONLY if they are all juicy and tender..I'd give up appearance anyday to put all juicy ribs in the box..once you get a few comps under your belt it will get easier and easier..like BP mentioned it's about streamlining..be organized,taste your product(or have your taster ready)and ask yourself "does it pop with flavor?".if not make an adjustment..hope this helps and remember to have a good time!..good luck!

Big Poppa
05-14-2012, 10:30 AM
if your chicken is a timed cook do not hold it for a long period. everything else you can but I dont recomend that

05-14-2012, 12:41 PM
Make sure your boxes are RIGHT SIDE UP when you build them!!! I know it sounds obvious but it happens more than you know. Make sure your boxes close! - just had a team DQ'd because it wouldn't. Double/Triple check for foil and toothpicks!!

05-14-2012, 06:54 PM
Relax dude.. I'm sure you will be fine. Just have FUN!

05-14-2012, 06:56 PM
Make sure your boxes are RIGHT SIDE UP when you build them!!!

Oh I know, I did it once on one of my practice boxes!

05-15-2012, 03:04 AM
Good luck Trent.

05-15-2012, 08:00 AM
Good luck Trent. I know those first time jitters you are feeling as I just did my first comp last weekend. I relied on 3 of my comp cooking friends to talk me through a couple bumps in the road. Make sure you have some phone numbers loaded in your cellphone just in case.

You can handle this though.

Meat Man
05-15-2012, 09:04 PM
Relax, have fun, watch the old time line. Keep it simple, and pre trim as much as you can. Go with what you have been practicing with. Take pics of your boxes, so you can go back and look later. Be prepared to keep stuff hot if you have to.

Big Poppa
05-15-2012, 09:08 PM
Trent one other thing....and we are loading you up...

at a comp cook what you practice.....All of us get these great ideas at a comp and decide to try them at a comp...All of us are guilty. Stay to your recipe technique and just give your self enough time.

05-15-2012, 09:26 PM
I appreciate all the advice from all of you who have been there before and the encouragement from everyone. I hope not to embarrass myself and hopefully surprise myself along with some others.

Meat Man
05-19-2012, 04:10 AM
Trent good cooking today, hope you nail it.

Big Poppa
05-19-2012, 05:17 AM
go get em!

05-19-2012, 10:50 AM
Good luck Trent, have fun!