Dr. BBQ’s Competition Class

Last weekend, Mark and I pulled the smoker up to Detroit, MI, for Dr. BBQ’s Competition BBQ Class.  The class was very much oriented toward Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) competitions, and Ray (Dr. BBQ) certainly has the background to talk about comps!

The class ran from 3:00 PM on Saturday until about 2:00 PM on Sunday, with set up starting at noon on Saturday.  The weather couldn’t have been better.  Highs in the low 70s, low in the high 40s overnight, clear and gorgeous.  The class was held at an engineering/manufacturing firm, and John Ford, the owner, has a GREAT pellet smoker inside, with a fantastic kitchen, so we did the classes inside mostly, taking the food outside to cook.

We started with tips on brisket.  What I learned was that I need to
stop doing flats and start doing packers (whole briskets with both the
flat and the point).  Also, I’d tried Fab B Lite before, but didn’t
know or didn’t follow the instructions to make it 4 or more hours
ahead.  We injected with Fab B Lite, and the brisket turned out great
with it.  I was really surprised!  Before even seasoning or injecting,
though, we trimmed our briskets somewhat to give a good edge for the
turn ins.  The thing that Ray went over several times was to
concentrate not on the whole piece of meat with brisket, pork and ribs,
but to concentrate on what’s going to be turned in.  For brisket,
that’s a section in the middle, so you don’t worry about what happens
to the rest of the brisket.  With ribs, it’s a few ribs in the middle
of the slab, and with pork, it’s the meat opposite the bone or right
around the bone that’s most important.



Chicken was the category I was most hoping to learn something about.
And we did… We learned how to make chicken, using a very well known
method, to get skin that’s not rubbery and chicken that’s great in
flavor.  We marinated in Newman’s Own dressing, with chili powder
added, after trimming the thighs to just allow 2 controlled spots where
a judge could bite the chicken.  The thighs were cooked to 170, then
put in a pan covered with a good amount of barbecue sauce for another
30 minutes.  The chicken came out really moist, and the skin was soft,
not rubbery.


Watching Ray do turn in boxes was a great help, too.  We have been
doing pretty well with our garnish, but watching how he controlled how
the meat would look was great information.


The true test was taking pork and brisket into the office.  I think it
was pretty unanimous that everything was more moist then ever.  We’re
excited now to try it out in competition!



About Curt McAdams

I guess I'm a bit of a foodie, learning to cook from my mom, then getting obsessed with outdoor cooking, competition barbecue, bread baking and just about all things food. Lately, I've been trying to upgrade my photography skills a bit, though I still have a long way to go.

No comments

  1. Great job Curt! Sounds like alot of fun and educational. I sure wish there was something like that around here, although I don’t really want to compete at this time in my life.

  2. Curt,

    It sounds like a great weekend. I enjoyed the pics.


  3. Laura, this is a class that I wouldn’t recommend unless you were going to compete. You do learn a lot about barbecue, but the focus is very tightly in line with what’s done to compete.

    Todd, the weekend seems so long ago now.. My wife and I want to NYC last weekend, and had a blast. Photos from the trip will be forthcoming; it was definitely a foodie weekend! We ate stuff from Carnegie Deli to Daisy May’s BBQ to the River Cafe… Think of it as eating from the deli to Iron Chef America… quite a weekend!

  4. Curt,

    I am taking my wife to NYC in August for her birthday. It will be her first time there. I know Carnegie is a must, still remember the huge sandwich. It is amazing how they still get great taste out of something so big. Generally you sacrifice one for the other. I am open to other suggestion. Especially at least on romantic nice dinner spot.


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