Thursday, July 21, 2011

BBQ Competition Cooking Class

    A few weekends ago I had the wonderful opportunity to set through a class on cooking in a BBQ Competition. The class was hosted by Backyard Bash, an outdoor cooking specialty store, and was instructed by Chris Marks of The Three Little Pigs BBQ team. Chris has won the American Royal BBQ competition 8 times as well as many other contests across the country, so it's safe to say he knows a thing or two when it comes to competing and what it means to be successful at it. I really enjoyed this class and had a really good time, despite the fact that the temperature that day was in the eighties by eight o'clock that day. Chris teaches the class using all his techniques, rubs, and spices but he does a great job on pushing you to develop your own flavor profile.
    This class covered how to cook all four categories of a KCBS sanctioned competition; ribs, chicken, pork, and brisket. It also included a competition supply check list, a DVD with a power point presentation of every topic discussed, box presentation for the four classes, as well as a homework slab of ribs.
  I believe this was the point where Chris was talking about the importance of having one guy/gal named as the team captain so as to prevent any arguments when it came time to decide what was going to be turned in to the judges. It was at this point that my Dad, who took the class with me and is wanting to compete as well, looked at me and said "That's you!". I don't remember what I said back, if anything, but I do remember feeling a little shocked and proud that he would name me the team captain like that.
  The prep of the ribs is hands on, which for me is the best way to learn and the most fun. We started with a cut down slab of baby back ribs and were walked through the process of removing the membrane, slathering with mustard, and finally giving the ribs a generous dusting of rub. Once the ribs were prepped and seasoned we placed them on the smoker, where the rested for the duration of the class. At the end of the class we collect our ribs and take them home, where they needed like another hour at 225º to finish cooking.
   This is the same set up Chris cooks with on his BBQ team, which he also  works for the company that manufactures it. I have to say after seeing this thing in action it had me dreaming of owning one, but I'm afraid it's a little pricey for a person whose still hoping to do his first BBQ competition.
   I would like to extend a huge Thank you to Backyard Bash for hosting the class and to Chris for putting it on. I learned a great deal and had a great time doing it. If you know someone who loves to BBQ and wants to, or needs too, further their skills this is a great way to do it. They also host several other classes that are geared more for the backyard cook, which having taken one is well worth the time and money.

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