It has been three years since I got certified as a KCBS Barbecue Judge, and I've judged about 15 contests at this point. It has also been about four or five years since I discovered the world of competitive barbecue and thought about starting up a team. I started this blog pretty much as a record of my efforts to do that, and while it has been slow going (six months since my last post...), this past weekend was a major milestone for me.
I had the great opportunity to mentor with the iQue barbecue team, which provided me with the final bridge to connecting my home cooking skills with cooking in a competition. Combined with the knowledge gained from classes given by the Yankee Barbecue and I Smell Smoke teams, I've had the opportunity to learn from some of the best barbecue teams in the Northeast, and from teams that have done well in major national competitions like the American Royal and Jack Daniels Invitational. The tips and tricks I've learned there - not just for cooking, but for the "process" of competiting, which involves not only cooking, but having all the equipment and tools you need, and making sure entries arrive to the judges as hot and clean as the way you intended them to arrive.
I look forward to assembling my team and equipment in the next year and starting to try to my own hand at competing and maybe helping another established team when they need a helping hand.