Well it’s finally time to get in the competition mindset. Last week I took our application down to the Memphis in May office personally to enter the Killer Hogs in the 2011 World BBQ Cooking Contest at Memphis in May. This will be our 6th time competing at Memphis in May and it always gets me excited.
The entry fee ($1900) is steep for a 26’x50′ spot but the chance to walk away with knowing you are the World Champion is priceless. I asked the lady at the MIM office if the team limit was full and she said that they still have plenty of room, but it always draws 300+ teams.
I also have to plan out the contest schedule for the year. We’re going to mix up our schedule with MBN and KCBS events. Last year I only cooked in 3 KCBS events, but I attended KCBS judging school and judged a few contest to get an understanding of what the judges want.
I’m going to cook even more KCBS contests in the future. I’ll also be cooking in the MBN championship contest around Labor Day. The best of the MBN will be there. To gain entry you had to win a Grand Championship at a MBN contest or receive a pass down. A pass down is given to the 2nd place team if the grand champ has already qualified. We won at Galax, Virginia and will represent that contest in the MBN Championship. It will be our first time cooking in the MBN Championship and it’ll be a bbq battle!
Next on my to do list is to detail clean the bbq trailers and inventory the equipment. The smokers have to be broke down and I always steam clean all of the racks. Also, I need to get some fabricating done on our rig. I’d like to get an electric jack and outriggers to level the trailer when parked. I had some trouble with the wheels last year and need to replace some bearings and buy new tires. There’s always a place to spend money before you ever start cooking.
I’ve also been working on a few new techniques to stay ahead of the competition. The off season is a great time to try out new rubs, injections, or experiment with different temperatures. Practicing is the only way to stay ahead of the competition. Over the break I’ve cooked 3 hogs and numerous butts and briskets. I’ll be bringing some new ideas to the ball game this year. I never try something new for the first time at a contest. I’ve made that mistake before. I always go into every contest with a game plan. Contest cooking should be about repetition not experimenting.
By the time that the first contest rolls around, I’ve nailed down my flavor profiles and cooking times. When I light the fire I want the rest to be second nature. This is the secret to success when it comes to bbq competitions.