We failed miserably.
We didn’t win, and very seldom placed in the top 10. I would continually ask other teams what I was doing wrong, and no one would give me any pointers. One team, in particular, gave me pointers on chicken and even let me try a piece of his. I was blown away at how far off base I actually was.
That’s when he told me the ONE BIG SECRET that changed my life.
He said, “You know, there’s no shame in taking classes from other pitmasters”.
I didn’t even know this was an option but I started researching classes and found one of the top classes in the country was in Kansas City.
The class was not cheap - it cost $1,500 plus airfare and hotel for the weekend - but promised everything so I took the weekend and flew to KC for the class.
I was floored at the information that was put out. The attention to detail, trimming and cooking was beyond anything I could have imagined. I thought I knew a lot, boy was I wrong.
After taking the class, the first competition I did after that I got 2nd overall. It completely renewed my love for BBQ and the competition game.
I found other classes in Chicago and Las Vegas, which I took, and although a lot of the information was the same, each class gave me something I didn’t know and really elevated my game.
We started winning, and winning a lot. In 2010, we went to Mexico and won the only event ever to be held there.
As a result of our showing at that event, we were drawn to represent the state of Arizona in the Jack Daniels World Invitational Championship.
From there, we continued to build on our experience and competed in the American Royal, the Sam’s Club Invitational, won multiple individual championships, numerous first place’s and perfect scores of 180.
When we finished our competition career, we finished 9th in the nation in chicken out of over 19K teams and 24th in the country overall.
But I realized I NEVER would have cracked that code unless I got the chance to learn from other proven, competition pitmasters.
The problem is, most people don’t have the time or money to spend close to $2,500 to fly out for a weekend class. And even if you do you have to hope you can remember everything that was covered because you can’t take the teacher with you.