Saturday, April 14, 2012

One Contest, Four Meats, One WSM

My post from a couple days ago about Slap Yo Daddy's success in Las Vegas has got me thinking.

Wouldn't it be great if competing in bbq contests were affordable again (and fun)? Somewhere along the line, the cost of competing started getting in the way of my enjoyment. For awhile I thought I was the only one, but here and there on various bbq websites, blogs, and forums I've started noticing other competitors hinting at the same line of thought.

What if contest competitors left their RVs, customer trailers, etc. at home and competed on equivalent bbq equipment?  Identical WSMs, Backwoods Party's, or even Big Green Eggs would make good candidates.

I think it would be a great idea for a contest organizer, not to mention a great way to promote a bbq contest. The International Race of Champions (IROC) was stock racing's version, why shouldn't KCBS, FBA, or GLBBQA get behind it? Golf and bowling have handicapping; sprint cars, open-wheel, and even truck and tractor-pulling have cubic inch, bore and stroke limitations in certain classes. Why not bbq?

This would be a way to keep costs down for everyone in the sport.  Competitors could keep down costs for smokers, supplies, transportation, etc. and contest organizers wouldn't be under so much pressure to keep raising the prize money pools to attract and (in many cases) maintain contest entrants.

I need to give it some more thought before I commit to anything, but right now I'm toying with the idea of entering a few contests this season and cooking them on my WSM.  Wouldn't it be great to roll into a bbq contest in my Ford Fusion Hybrid and pull the bbq smoker out of the trunk? I bet that would turn some heads. What do you think? Anyone else want to try it?

50.3 mpg on my 18.2 mile commute to work, 70+ mpg running errands around town
Pulling my old cargo trailer with the Explorer, we averaged about 12 mpg and a lot of the expense of competing flew out the tailpipe.  My Fusion averages 42 mpg in normal interstate driving using cruise control. On a 400 mile round trip to an event, that's a $93 savings on the gas bill alone.

Less money for gasoline = more money for meat.

Now...if I can just figure out how to fit my Caravan portable tent in the car.


Anthony said...

That is a great idea for leveling the competition. But, a question: Would the leveling of the equipment make it more fair? In other words, does a guy with a fancy trailer-pulled smoker have a finished-product advantage over a skilled guy with a WSM, Big Green Egg or UDS?

If not, why care? The difference with auto racing is that the equipment affects the performance. Would a BBQ competition limited to backyard style equipment limit the quality of the BBQ produced?

Thank you for a great blog.


The BBQ Guy said...

I think it depends. The air conditioning, running hot water, shower, refrigeration, etc are definite advantages. If it rains, snows, etc the trailers and RVs are an advantage versus a tent. But ultimately it depends on the overall goal. If the goal is to increase participation then keeping costs down is vitally important. If the goal is to keep it a small elite fraternity of contest participants then by all means keep it status quo.

panthers76 said...

Perhaps the creation of a backyard division would be the answer? If you make people scale back that had already invested in equipment, they might start their own competitions or not come at all.

Our team is starting a semi full schedule this year. We have a trailer and the need to haves. But, we will be camping in the trailer and showering at on site facilities.

The BBQ Guy said...

I think it comes down to philosophy. If the goal is to grow the number of competitions, competitor/spectator participation in the events, and make it more lucrative for the participants one way to do it is to put some limitations in place to level the playing field (i.e. reduce expenses). If the goal is to keep it an elite fraternity and make it difficult for new people to participate then the sky's the limit on spending money. Don't misunderstand me...I could spend a lot of money and continue to participate. I choose not to because I have decided to reallocate my resources to saving for retirement instead of spending money on bbq contests.