Thursday, August 9, 2012

KCBS Barbeque Competition Jitters and Grilling Tips

Filming BBQ on Location
It is true, even after all these years I'm camera shy.
The First Competition Jitters

People have asked me why, if I'm a lifetime member of the KCBS, I don't compete? Truth be told I've been grilling my way (or the highway) for 30 years (prior to the conception of the KCBS) but that's not really why.  I hate being on camera and hate doing interviews, because I'm really a private person, but that's not really why.

The reason is my livelihood is selling and serving food at most of these events. It is my career. It takes me a long time to prep, get ready and make sure I have enough of my texas beef, pork barbecue and turkey legs to serve the public when they come to eat.  I am, by trade, a food vendor.  The problem simply is time. 

BBQ Competing is True Dedication

I am sure any BBQ Team will tell you the extraordinary the amount of time and painstaking grilling, flipping and prepping that goes into competition barbecue. I know because most of my friends and pals do it all the time. Watching the pork butt, turning it here, turning it there.  If you don't keep an eye on things, your stuff will burn to hell, or dry out.  I don't want to put out a half ass entry. I want to be able to dedicate my whole damn day to it.

Truth be told, it's not about the money, but about the product. I want my meat to be mouth-watering, scrumptious, and yummy.   So I'm here to announce that I have the competition jitters. This weekend, I'll be competing for the very first time, (solely thanks to Scott Walker at the Bel Air Downtown Alliance) in my hometown, while trying to cook and serve my food to the masses.  This is going to be serious pressure for me, and I will have the Monsters on Hand and my wife on speed dial just in case I have a nervous breakdown. I keep having nightmares that I'm busy flipping turkey legs to sell to the public and my competition pork butt is burnt to hell.  Don't want that big DQ on my chart.

Wayne M Schafer and Eric Sessions
Eric Sessions, Professional Competitor and Owner of South Carolina BBQ

Friends in the KCBS

So to my rescue came one of my best KCBS pals to hug me and tell me "It's going to be all right Big Fat Daddy. " Hey, even a real big man needs a hug once in awhile from his friends.  Special thanks to Eric Sessions, of South Carolina BBQ for giving me some pointers.  Here is what he had to say:

  • Don't stress, just go with it!
  • Cook that pork low and slow. 
  • Presentation is key. 
  • Don't use anything in your presentation that may throw off the taste of the meat. 
  • Don't get one blemish on that container or you are looking at a Big Fat DQ.
  • Sleep in your car using the car phone to wake you every two hours to flip your pork.
  • Prepare to sleep all day Sunday. 
  • You can be first place this time, and last place next time. You will never know it all, or master it all, so just have fun with it. 

I will feature Eric soon on this blog.  In the meantime, I'm getting some zzzz's now since I won't be sleeping at all this weekend. Instead of sheep I will be counting briskets...

Competition Update: We basically sucked. I did manage to beat my pal Eric in one category, but Competition grilling is a lot different than grilling for the masses for lunch. One day you are #1 the next #55. OUCH. Definitely is an art to master. For starters, I did not know I could use bbq sauce on my pork that could have helped me a bit. Woopsie. Got in trouble and points deducted for my ribs falling sweetly off the bone.  Love 'em that way darnit. Bottom line, it's not how you like to eat something, or how you are used to making it, they have rules, standards, specifications. Better read 'em before you go into it blindly. So if you think you are #1 take a step back and enter a BBQ competition. It's not as easy as it looks. Hats off to my fellow BBQ Teams. This fallen pitmaster's going to take a moment of reflection, then get back up on the horse and ride.

Big Fat Daddy's Archive