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Old 03-01-2015, 12:39 PM   #71
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up north,

Great looking rig and Q. No shame in showing off, that is half the fun. Wish I could taste some.

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Old 03-01-2015, 12:41 PM   #72
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Also, don't forget many restaurants also compete. Many have started as competitors and then opened up a restaurant or started catering.

If you own a restaurant/catering business you can't beat the "creds" that winning some competitions will bring.
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Old 03-01-2015, 02:31 PM   #73
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Bamaman,

Not trying to start any kind of argument other than discussion, but competition BBQ and what is served in restaurants is not different in preparation/cooking until it comes off the smoker. Competition BBQ is fresher off the smoker as the teams only have a 10 minute turn-in window for their respective entries. Restaurants have to keep their products available for all of their hours of operation.

Perhaps S-n-L will back me up, but not all competition BBQ is top of the line; even experienced teams have good days and bad days. Some teams are brand new to competition and it takes them time to learn all the tricks of the trade. I explain to people that in an average completion, I get 25% great BBQ, 50% good BBQ and 25% below average BBQ. Some days these numbers vary but I think you can get the idea.

I'm sure that most of the BBQ restaurants listed in this post are producing very good BBQ or they wouldn't stay in business. You don't have to be a judge to get good BBQ as these posts point out. Being a judge is a tough job; somebody has got to do it and I'm glad I volunteered.

Keep hunting that great BBQ and good eating.
You don't say where you're judging barbeque, but I'm out of the Memphis school of Q. I can promise you Chris Lilly's Q is better in Memphis in May than it is in his restaurant. We have seen pigs in recent years get chickenized, and pork is now a relatively lean, white meat. One of our local barbeque restaurants gets their pigs out of an old style pig farm 2 states away as they're out after fatty pigs for better smoke. At Memphis in May, many teams are using custom raised pigs, and even highly bred, rare pigs from places like Italy.

So many restaurants, even those in Memphis, have switched to natural gas hybrid barbeque pits. What used to take 14 hours closely watched by a pitmaster takes 8 hours cooking on a timer--and only 2 hickory logs. Pitmasters now have a life at home--not centered on cooking all night 3 nights per week. The Q is not quite as good, but it's so much cheaper to cook this way. Even Melissa Cooksey at Memphis Barbeque Company in Southaven has switched to a gas hybrid cooker.

I've talked to Q fanatics from all over. Most think the best barbeque anywhere is in Western Kentucky--between Nashville and Paducah. It's certainly not that leather (brisket) they cook in Texas.
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Old 03-01-2015, 02:37 PM   #74
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I've talked to Q fanatics from all over. Most think the best barbeque anywhere is in Western Kentucky--between Nashville and Paducah. It's certainly not that leather (brisket) they cook in Texas.
Dang!! I do believe Texas has been called out here.
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Old 03-01-2015, 03:28 PM   #75
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I guess I'm old school and have been bbq'ing a long time. I don't understand the competition circuit. I would never do to a fine piece of meat what some of these competitors do. By the time they are done with all the marinating, injecting, rubbing, brining, spritzing and mopping you may as well suck all those flavors off a sponge. The flavor of the meat is long gone.
In all my years I have never once injected a single piece of meat. I usually just roll with a spice rub and leave it at that and let the smoke enhance the flavor of the meat. I do brine fish of course and at times poultry.

The one bite delight. That's all they are looking to achieve. I have a close friend who travels the circuit. He happened to be set up next to Myron Mixon at a event a few years ago.

He overheard Myron say to one of his assistants "I'm glad we only have to eat this stuff at comps and not at home."

Also someone's sense of flavor of what's good and what's not is as unique as their dna. So who's to judge? Really.

I have been urged and solicited many times to join local comps but have always politely refused.
Entry fees along can be several hundred dollars and I can but a lot of meat for that.

Not trying to start anything with the comp guys here it's just my opinion on the subject.
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Old 03-01-2015, 08:47 PM   #76
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Dang!! I do believe Texas has been called out here.
Anybody can take a nice expensive cut of meat and make it tast good. It takes an artisan to turn a piece of shoe leather into a mouth watering delicacy. ...... and they don't do it buy drowning it with BBQ sauce either. No sauce on our pits. Dry rubs, salt and pepper. BBQ suace is a condiment.

My award winning friend (ribs, brisket, and chicken) cooks BBQ for competition, and BBQ for his friends. Quiet frankly, I can't stand the stuff that he wins the competitions with.
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Old 03-02-2015, 04:55 AM   #77
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My award winning friend (ribs, brisket, and chicken) cooks BBQ for competition, and BBQ for his friends. Quiet frankly, I can't stand the stuff that he wins the competitions with.
That is what I said a couple days ago, I helped a buddy Saturday at fire on ice Bbq comp and when he was pouring liquid parkay on the ribs one of his other buddies says, "why don't you do that at home?" He says he never does them the same at home as you do fo comps, at a comp the judges take one bite and you have to wow them with one bite.
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Old 03-02-2015, 06:17 AM   #78
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Competition BBQ has changed since I started judging due to different influences such as food shows, trying different things to influence judges and hence, winning, other teams copying what is winning, etc.

In the judges tent and talking to cooking teams, this is a comment I've heard at times from New England to Louisiana where I judge: "If it wouldn't be for (well known names on TV), we would still be judging or cooking BBQ."

Several teams have also told me that they aren't cooking in a comp the way they cook at home for friends, or the way they like to cook, because of the winning trends in the comps.

Even with the changes, I still enjoy most of the BBQ, the social atmosphere with the people, judges and the cooking teams involved, and the travelling to these comps which allows me to find the places all the posters on this site are recommending.

Winter is breaking, the new season for me is about to start, so safe travels to all and I hope you find plenty of good BBQ the way you like it.
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Old 03-02-2015, 12:06 PM   #79
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Thanks guys for the topic. Barbecue is a subject close to my heart. I still miss my 4 college years eating Vitamin Q every other night at Little Pigs on Highland Ave. in Memphis. Their barbecue beans were incomparable.

High quality pulled pork is available in our local supermarket, and often get it for $4.99 per pound on sale. At that price, we our grills are reserved for grilling. I just wish we could afford to cook and eat baby back ribs. We hit our local Big Star @ 10:30 a.m. to clean them out of yesterday's steaks at a big price discount. Otherwise, we'd be eating hamburger steak.
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Old 03-04-2015, 09:43 AM   #80
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Just find me, and you'll find some good BBQ. I'm an old school pit master from NC. I used to bug the old black pit masters that ran the pits around my home, and they would get me to help them. And of course, I was very young. But, I remembered what they did, and what they told me, and what I saw them do.


I make a BBQ sauce, but it's on the side, never on anything on the smoker or grill. And yes, I have a grill that is big enough, and controllable to smoke on.


As far as a piece of shoe leather, and make it tender and edible, I got that too. I make a 17 lb (ish) brisket good enough to make a Texan cry. I proved it, in my back yard. I don't do competitions any more, but I have been on the podium a few times with all the different meats, and a few times for chili too.


I love to cook, smoke, BBQ, grill, and we have a new addition to the back yard. Just after Christmas we finished the install on our wood fired oven. It's been fired up every weekend since Christmas, except for maybe one or two!!! Of course pizza, and breads. We've also done oysters on the half shell, Italian meatballs, pan pizza, chickens, Cuban sandwiches, and just about anything from the inside oven.


Keep cooing and eating, it's our heritage!!!
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Old 03-07-2015, 04:07 PM   #81
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There is a little place in Eureka Springs AR,,, Bubba's BBQ ... It has always had Great food !!! No rv parking,, even hard to find a spot with a car.... A true testimonial of the quality of food in my book... (hard to find a parking spot !!!)
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Old 03-10-2015, 08:14 AM   #82
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Ok BBQ junkies. Headed to Tennessee in a few weeks. Staying in Pigeon Forge,Nashville and Memphis. Were are the must go BBQ joints. I will give my reviews when I get back. We smoke a little at home and while camping. I just recently purchased a Davey Crockett pellet smoker/ grill. This was my first pork butt in it.


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Old 03-10-2015, 08:43 AM   #83
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Ok BBQ junkies. Headed to Tennessee in a few weeks. Staying in Pigeon Forge,Nashville and Memphis. Were are the must go BBQ joints. I will give my reviews when I get back. We smoke a little at home and while camping. I just recently purchased a Davey Crockett pellet smoker/ grill. This was my first pork butt in it.






In Memphis the Rendezvous is the "must go" place and the dry rub ribs are the thing to get. In Pigeon Forge Bennett's is pretty good. There is a little place on US321 just out of Gatlinburg toward Cosby call "Hungry Bear" I believe.


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Old 03-10-2015, 09:11 AM   #84
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Thanks Steve.
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