If you're truly passionate about good barbecue, there's no better way to share your affinity for grilling with the world than by entering a BBQ competition. But if this is your first time competing, it's easy to make a mistake that could derail your chances at doing well. Your first attempt at barbecuing competitively will be much more successful if you keep the following tips in mind.
Research and PracticeAlthough wings may be an option for your smoker, you can't just "wing" a BBQ competition. You need to have a cook-off plan in order to do well. That means researching the competition's rules (and following them to the letter), as well as doing some homework on the best competition practices for grill masters. This can help you decide what you'll be able to grill well in the time allotted. And don't forget to practice! Do a trial run (or several) with time constraints and make sure you can adhere to the rules and produce an amazing meal. Smoking low and slow takes more time than you'd think -- and you can't rush it. Invite your friends over to act as judges so that you'll feel prepared for the real thing.
Keep Things SimpleWhether it's your first competition or your 50th, you might be convinced you need to pull out all the stops in order to place. While you do need to impress and set yourself apart from the other competitors, don't be tempted to do too much. In other words: don't go overboard by using different, complex flavor profiles for each category. Instead, choose one flavor profile that works well for each and focus on the essentials, such as meat selection, preparation, and presentation. After all, 72% of consumers say they grill to achieve a better flavor. If you're able to nail that in a simple and effective way, you'll be much better off than if you fail to deliver on overly complicated smoked meats.
Take Notes and PhotosDuring the practice phase and during the competition itself, it's important to take detailed notes. This can help you to remember every step you'll need to take during the cook-off so that you can execute your pit smoked meats to perfection. It'll also help you keep track when something doesn't go as expected and what you ended up doing instead. This can help you to improve for future competitions. Don't forget to take photos for your own records; visual confirmation of a meat smoked to perfection or a dish gone wrong can take your skills to the next level.
Get the Right EquipmentIf you're really serious about entering these events, you'll want to invest in one of the smokers for competitors your grill provider recommends. You'll need one of the best pit smokers that will provide the flavor you're looking for and the ability to go mobile. While choosing the right size and other bells and whistles will be up to you, you'll need to choose one of the smokers for competitors with trailer capabilities -- and several grill accessories to ensure you can cook on-the-go.
Remember to Have FunAlthough purchasing one of the best smokers for competitors and putting together a grilling plan requires real dedication and hard work, don't forget why you entered the competition in the first place. It's fine to take your love of smoked meats seriously, but you should remind yourself to have some fun, too. The reality is that you might not even place the first time around -- and that's totally okay. You'll probably learn a lot, meet a ton of great people, and get to enjoy the atmosphere (and some amazing food). Don't take the competition too seriously or bring your ego into it. There's nothing worse than a rack of ribs slathered in bitterness or too much pride.
Ready to get started in the BBQ competition circuit? You deserve one of the finest smokers for competitors we can offer. For more information, get in touch with us today.