This weekend we will be competing in the Snowshoe Grilling Challenge. Grilling contests are popular here in the Northeast but they are a whole different beast from a barbecue competition. The entry fees are normally much lower but the cost of the meat and spices are higher. If the category is steak do you want to be the guy cooking bottom round when the competition is cooking filet migon ? Of course not so that's going to drive the price of competing up. But then you have to think if 8 teams are cooking filet do you want to try to cook the best filet or try to stand out a little by cooking a ribeye. Now for your ribeye to stand up to their filet it may be necessary to purchase prime beef so again the cost jumps up.
Since the entry fees are lower then it follows that the prize money is also lower. Your mindset going into a grilling contest has to be that your doing it for the plastic trophy. Your not going to come out ahead money wise and you may even be lucky just to break even. So why do we do it ? Some say it's a sickness others a passion for competitions but I like to think it's for the enjoyment. We like the people that come to these contests and we enjoys spending time with them. Most of us also share a passion for cooking, and grilling let's us show that bbq is not the only thing we can do.
In a bbq competition there is a lot of time spent waiting. You put your meat on the cooker and just let it do it's thing for x amount of hours. That leaves a lot of time for socializing and hanging out. In grilling there is a lot more prep and a lot less time to do it in. We arrive at the contest site, set up, prep meat and then start grilling. That doesn't mean we don't socialize. I like to use a hit and run technique. With my trusty camera in hand I'll try to visit all the teams, sometimes before we start grilling and sometimes between categories. I've even caught a team prepping their box for the wrong entry and tried to save them from a dq. We also like to shout friendly jabs from our site to a neighboring team, it's all in fun afterall.
I like to joke around with people that grilling competitions are too much like stir fry and there's way too much jumping around but the fact is I have a lot of fun at these contests. Oh and I also happen to enjoy Stir Fry.