Competition 101: Competition BBQ vs. Backyard BBQ

Competition versus backyard bbqI’ve talked about BBQ Competitions on here a few times.  Some of you have probably seen BBQ Pitmasters and have at least a small idea of what this crazy world entails.  I thought I would spend some time explaining some of the awesome nuances of what has become a nationwide obsession.

In 6 weeks my team, SLABS a’ Smokin, will defend our title as #2 Ribs in the Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest.  This is the most prestigious event of the year.  A few others come close but MIM is still the true World Championship.  So, I thought I would do a countdown to the big event by going over different aspects of competition BBQ like KCBS vs. MBN, tips, scoring, presentation, equipment…and more.

I thought I would kick it off by defining competition BBQ vs. backyard BBQ. 

There are qualities about competition BBQ you won’t usually duplicate in your backyard.  It’s time-consuming and extremely detailed.  And I’m not talking about hamburgers, I mean the big ones:  Brisket, Pork Shoulder, Chicken Thighs and Ribs.  Even the recipes I have shared, and will share on this site, will not encompass every detail needed for a competition.

As an example, in a competition, your ribs must have the perfect tenderness.  They must gently pull clean from the bone.  NOT fall off.  When the judge takes a bite of your rib, the only meat that should come off is their bite.  If more comes off or falls off, you’re docked points.  You’re done.  If it’s too tough – doesn’t pull clean without some work, you’re docked.  Done.

If you tried to do this in your backyard, you’d go crazy.  Unless you REALLY love ribs like I do.  I’m at the point I just cannot serve less than perfect ribs.  But I’ve got real problems.  Some may say I’m OCD.  Whatever.

In general, backyard BBQ is easier, less detailed.  What I’m trying to do on this site is find a middle ground for all of you to have absolutely awesome BBQ.  Maybe it isn’t quite competition quality, but it’s better than standard backyard.  It’s the simple steps we’ve already begun taking:  Brine.  Marinade.  Rub.  WOOD.  Keep making these little changes and you’ll start experiencing the backyard vs. competition difference.  And You.  Will.  Like. 

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