Your first Amateur BBQ competition!
So you've got a grill or a smoker. You think you are the king of BBQ. What`s next?
You could join one of the many amateur events held by the CSBBQA across the province. Here is their calendar of events.
Some people are terrified at the thought of competing at an amateur BBQ competition. I know I was. However, what I found was a group of people who were open about sharing stories, ideas, techniques and strategies in order to help me become a better BBQ competitor. I'm glad I took the plunge.
So what happens at an amateur event?
Generally, we get an early start. Load-in of equipment usually happens between 6 and 7 AM. Once everyone is set-up and has fired up their cookers, a team meeting is held where CSBBQA administrators can go over the rules, answer any questions and talk about turn-ins and turn-in times.
Before the meat is handed out, there is an amateur tradition that happens at each comp in Ontario. The early morning shot of Jack Daniels.
Afterwards, the meat is handed out. 2 racks of ribs and 2 full chickens per team. Everyone then heads back to their areas and starts to cook.
The cooking method, sauces, rubs, glazes is all up to the competitors. Each competitor has their own secret blends that they use. This is what distinguishes one competitor from the next and allows an entry to shine.
Usually, competitors have about 5 hours to cook their ribs and chicken. Turn ins happen 30 minutes apart with chicken being turned in first. You must turn your food in within a 5 minute window. To be late, even by 1 second disqualifies your entry. Food gets turned-in in a clamshell styrofoam cointainer to allow for blind-judging. No garnish of any type is allowed in the box.
Judges will then taste the food and grade it on Appearance (20 points), Tenderness (30 points) and Taste (50 points).
Lowest score from the 6 judges gets thrown out.
After the judging, results get announced. A grand prize is always provided for the grand champion. That's the person with the highest cumulative score from ribs and chicken. Some competitions allow for prizes for the best ribs and chicken as well.
So that`s basically the run-down of a typical BBQ competition. Some BBQ competitions also now include a black box or mystery box event. This is kind of like the TV show Chopped. You get a few mystery ingredients and you have a certain amount of time to make a dish using those ingredients. This is also a lot of fun. We expect the Cochrane and Timmins events to have a mystery box challenge this year.
If you have any questions about competing, feel free to ask at our Timmins and Area BBQ Facebook page. In a future post I`ll talk about what you need to compete. It's not as daunting as you may think.