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Advice for The Novice Competitive BBQ Chef & Team

Updated on April 17, 2012
BBQ Competitors
BBQ Competitors | Source

You’ve been grilling in your backyard for years and everyone just loves the food you put out. In these tough times you've heard of barbecue competitions and the payouts possible. Why not give competing a try and see if your style of cooking holds up against the best? Here’s what you need to know about competing in today's barbecue competition network.


The world of competitive barbecue is fun and exciting, but it's also expensive. Prepare for the expense of entering the competition and don’t take it too lightly. Plan ahead and learn all you can to prepare for the competition.

  • Go view a competition before you pick one to enter. Meet the teams, taste the food and get a feel for what you are going to be doing and up against when you enter your first competition. Learning a little about the world you’re about to dive into will give you some insight into how you will prepare and compete.
  • Pick your first competition carefully. Choose a competition you feel passionate about and will be excited to go to. You don’t need to be nervous your first time out, you should be excited and ready for the work ahead.
  • Pick your first competition carefully. Choose a competition you feel passionate about and will be excited to go to. You don’t need to be nervous your first time out, you should be excited and ready for the work ahead.
  • Read the rules and get to know the competition you have chosen is all about. Make sure that you understand what is expected and then practice what you learn.

Being prepared will help you feel confident about competing, especially when you are up against professional barbecue competition experts.


There are a lot of details you need to pay attention to in a barbecue competition, so it's a good idea to gather a team of friends to help out on the day. Someone to help with the timing, to watch the smoker overnight if necessary and to help make sure that your entry gets turned in beautifully, will be helpful, but having someone around to go through the experience with you will make it more enjoyable. So whether you choose one person or many to go with you to the competition, make sure you have an extra set of hands to help out.

Along with building a team, comes the choice of a team name. Pick carefully and thoughtfully, BBQ competitions are a family affair and you may do well and want to keep your name for a long time. Keeping it personal is great choice, a name with intrinsic value will encourage and motivate you to always play your A game.

Don’t feel you have to compete in all the categories. It is your first time out. Pick your favorite and only compete in one or two. This will give you the opportunity to concentrate on what you do best, and afford you a better possibility of placing or winning on your first time out. Spreading yourself thin is not in your best interest and there will be plenty of other competitions to show what you’ve got in the other categories.

Make sure you bring all of the utensils, ingredients and tools that you will need for the competition. Once you get there, your kitchen is miles away, so plan ahead. Some sort of awning or canopy tent is also helpful to protect from the elements and give you a space to work. The competition will not provide the things you need, so make sure you have everything with you.

Putting Barbecue Sauce on Chicken
Putting Barbecue Sauce on Chicken | Source

When it comes to your choice of sauce, you have two options; a pre-prepared sauce that you can customize or you can craft you own gourmet sauce. Whatever you choose you want to be sure that it is yours, and won’t be mistaken for anyone else’s. Practice and perfect your sauce for the meat you will be cooking. Make sure that it complements the smoke and other elements that you add to your meat while cooking and that it will be enjoyable

Make sure you think about the final product and presentation. People eat with their eyes as well as their stomachs. Whether they mean to or not, the judging will start with what is seen first, and what is tasted next. If Judges already have it in their head that it doesn’t look good, it will be harder to win them over with the spectacular flavor you have created. Make extra food so you can pick the best pieces for showing off to the judges.

Finally have fun, after all that is why you barbecue in the first place right. Enjoy cooking in the competition as much as you enjoy cooking in the backyard. You will learn that the other people on the circuit are just as much fun as their food, so make friends too. As long as you are having fun, you will be a success, even if it is just because you tried.


Thank you for reading my Hub, please feel free to view my other BBQ hubs aswell as the myriad of other topics I cover.

Once again thanks and if you have any questions, just ask away!



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