This time of year brings back lots of awesome BBQ memories...
The inaugural REC TEC Academy, Memphis in May, and my first KCBS BBQ competition at Banjo-B-Que 2018 are just a few of the awesome memories I made last year. I remember getting ready for my first BBQ competition with anxiety about how the kale should look in the box for judging, but I was completely overthinking it! Now that I’m a little more seasoned, it’s time to pass my knowledge to you. Here's a few things you need to know about competition cooking.
Competition vs. Backyard
There's a big difference in how these two styles of BBQ are prepped, cooked, and served.
Personally, I prefer backyard BBQ: no injections, simple rubs, and (for me) a vinegar based sauce to glaze with. Competition meats have a different texture and are very rich. The quality of these meats can make them pretty pricey. A wagyu brisket or Duroc pork will put a dent in your wallet for sure. Because they are trimmed to accent certain muscles, they can also be somewhat wasteful. However, the trimmings can be ground for sausage and other recipes using ground pork or beef. Good BBQ is a result of clean smoke and temperature control. The PID algorithm in our Wi-Pellet WiFi Controller ensures that the perfect amount of pellets are fed to the fire pot for that thin, clean smoke. I also don’t swap pellets or burn smoke tubes. The REC TEC always creates the flavor I’m after, whether I'm cooking dinner for my family or preparing a Grand Champ brisket box. Let's take a look at how REC TEC's competition season is going so far...
Practice makes perfect! Jody and Chef Greg are ready to compete.
Boss Hog Cook-Off
On May 10, I traveled to Waynesboro, Georgia to assist Cary Chasteen of Hold Your Horses BBQ in the KCBS sanctioned Boss Hog Cook-Off.
I hit the road shortly after filming Funday Friday. My first duties included prepping the “People's Choice” chicken wings to be turned in at 6:20 that evening. I wanted to think a little out-of-the-box, so I recreated a Char Siu pork rib profile. When the raw wings were delivered to our competition site (all wings were provided by the event), they were some of the largest chicken wings I’d ever seen! The judges wanted 20 of them inside a standard, white, styrofoam box... I’m thinking to myself, "There is no way that’s happening." I had also prepped a soba noodle and Asian vegetable salad as a base/garnish. The wings were cooked to perfection on the Bull RT-700. I followed my standard wing recipe: 275℉ for about two hours, then crank the temperature up to 400ºF for about 30 minutes. The competition was great. Hold Your Horses BBQ scored 3rd in Ribs and 12th overall. We also filmed the entire boxing process for all four meats. It was a fun weekend full of camaraderie and awesome food!
Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest
For the second year in a row, REC TEC partnered with The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint to defend their 2018 title as World Grand Champion.
Team Shed placed 9th in the Whole Hog category, thanks to their iconic custom-made smoker built inside the body of an old-school Willys jeep. But, REC TEC brought some serious heat as well. The Bull RT-700 placed us 2nd in the Kingsford Tour of Champions, a pork butt competition that provides Memphis in May attendees the chance to sample each competitor's BBQ. The Shed also placed 7th in Turkey, which was grilled on the Bullseye RT-B380. All week, members of the REC TEC family stopped by booth H210 to share a cold one and enjoy some BBQ. The world's largest stuffed porchetta, smoked on the BFG RT-2500, provided more than enough food to feed the crowd. Congratulations to the 2019 World Grand Champion, Tuffy Stone, of Cool Smoke Competition Barbecue Team. We definitely look forward to returning to Memphis in May in 2020!
Brad's face says it all...
Papa Joe's Banjo-B-Que
This year, there is some added pressure to excel at Papa Joe's Banjo-B-Que, a competition local to Augusta. It’s my first year as a full-time employee and I have access to the best grills in the world. For me, a successful competition is all about planning. Making sure the briskets, ribs, butts, and chicken are all prepped and ready to go on Thursday, as well as having the injections and rubs all lined up by Friday, is key. When it's time to cook, we'll have everything needed to be successful. Getting your kale prepped and turn-in boxes built ahead of time is also a smart move. I suggest building a backup box, just in case. Most importantly of all, you need practice! Each Funday Friday of National BBQ Month has been dedicated to competition meats, so our cook times and flavor profiles are all dialed in. All we have to do now is park the Black Mamba at Lake Olmstead Stadium, fire up the Bulls, and bring home the Grand Championship!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Mueller is a WORLDCHEFS-certified master chef, and the Director of Culinary Innovation at REC TEC Grills. He has over 18 years of experience and is knowledgeable in all things food and cooking.