Don’t Forget the Pitmaster
by Dan Hixon, Pitmaster for 3 Eyz BBQ – 2012 KCBS Team of the Year and 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015 Mid Atlantic Barbecue Association Team of the Year
Competition BBQ is all about finding the right flavor profile, the best new sauce, a rub that complements that sauce and an injection that’s going to give your food an edge. And lets not forget the shiny new smokers and a trailer to haul everything. Add in a premium cooler and your good to go, right? Wrong.
Many forget the most important part of the cook and that is themselves. You need to be on your game mentally and physically in order to make those critical decisions on Saturday morning. In order to do that you need some “gas” left in the tank. Everybody is different, but for the most part that means metering out your energy expenditure. Here are some tips:
-Make sure you eat enough and often. Wear a fitbit and just see how many steps you take. Its incredible. You need to eat to keep up with that calorie burn.
-Make sure you drink a lot, especially when its warm. And not just water. Add in some Gatorade as well as water doesn’t replace everything you sweat out.
-Limit alcohol as it will dehydrate you further. Better to drink at night when its cooler if you really want to enjoy a couple beverages.
-Add in a protein shake on Friday and you tell me if you feel the difference come Saturday.
-Be honest with what you can and can’t do. Remember you still need to get home safe after the comp is over. Add a teammate in order to help with the workload if need be.
-Sit your butt down occasionally. That chair time helps you have fresh legs come turn ins.
-Make sure your setup is organized. No reason to walk from the cooker, past 2 tables to wrap, then dodge 3 coolers to get back to the smoker. Be organized and efficient.
The list can go on and on, but I believe these are the most important things. I also think contests are won and lost in those critical moments during turn ins and it is best to be as fresh as possible in order to make smart decisions. So, if you see me sitting in a chair drinking a protein shake, now you know why! Good luck and see you on the competition trail.