How to Get Started in Competition BBQ: 10 Tips for Success

How to Get Started in Competition BBQ: 10 Tips for Success

If you've been thinking about getting into barbecue competitions but aren't quite sure if it's something you want to fully commit to, this article is for you. In this article, we'll share our top 10 tips for determining if barbecue competitions are right for you and how to get started. From attending an event and talking to the teams to practicing your techniques and investing in quality equipment, these tips will give you a good foundation for success. We've also got an in-depth video buy our team Red smoke BBQ on YouTube logo our ten tips.

Ten Tips to get started in BBQ Competitions

  1. 1. It's a good idea to attend a BBQ Event / Competition first. This will give you a chance to see what it's like and talk to the teams to get a better understanding of the process. You'll see how the teams work and what they're doing to prepare their food, which can be very different from cooking in a relaxed backyard setting. Additionally, you'll see how the hand-ins are judged and get a feel for the time constraints that teams often face. Can't make it to an event? Check out our video competing at Australia's Biggest BBQ festival - Meatstock Toowoomba

  2. 2. Familiarizing yourself with the website or governing body for barbecue competitions in your area is an important step. You can find information on upcoming competition schedules, rules, leaderboards, and results. You may even be able to download a copy of the judging methodology, which can give you more insight into how events are judged. In Australia it's the Australasian Barbecue Alliance

  3. 3. If you're really serious about competing, consider becoming a judge for a barbecue competition. This will give you a chance to learn more about the process and see things from a different perspective. It's not uncommon for judges to have no prior experience, and you can often find calls for judges on local barbecue social media pages leading up to an event. Read the ABA Judging Methodology here.

  4. 4. Before you enter a competition, it's important to determine which categories you'll compete in. Different events may have different categories available, so make sure to check and see which ones align with your strengths and interests, and which one's you have to brush up on.

  5. 5. Practice is key when it comes to competing in a barbecue competition. You'll want to work on perfecting your techniques and flavors so that you can put your best foot forward on competition day. This may involve trying out different cooking methods, experimenting with different ingredients, and getting feedback from others to see what works and what doesn't.

  6. 6. Make sure you understand the rules and regulations for barbecue competitions in your area. These can vary from one event to the next, so it's important to familiarize yourself with them before you enter. This can help you avoid any mistakes or disqualifications on competition day. Read the ABA Rules here and check out the competition promoters rules as well.

  7. 7. Investing in quality equipment and supplies is also important. While you don't need to break the bank, having reliable and well-maintained equipment can make a big difference in the outcome of your dishes. This may include things like a good smoker, thermometers, and utensils.

  8. 8. It can be helpful to find a team or group of people to compete with. This can provide support, motivation, and an extra set of hands on competition day. Even if you don't know anyone who's interested in competing, you can try reaching out to local barbecue groups or forums to see if anyone is looking for team members.

  9. 9. Research and choose the right competition to enter based on your experience and skill level. As well as ABA sanctioned competitions, there are many smaller competitions as well. It's important to be realistic about your abilities and start with events that are a good fit for you. As you gain more experience, you can move on to more challenging events.

  10. 10. Don't be afraid to ask for help or advice from more experienced competitors. Most people in the barbecue community are happy to share their knowledge and experiences, so don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions or need guidance. 

Barbecue competitions can be a fun and rewarding experience, but they can also be challenging. By following these tips and doing your research, you'll be well on your way to competing with confidence. Remember to attend an event, familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations, practice your cooking, and don't be afraid to ask for help. With these tips in mind, you'll be well-prepared to take on the barbecue competition circuit.

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