When we started, we knew nothing about professional barbecue except what everyone has seen on television. TV glamorizes the competition, which is a blast – but it is very challenging and hard work.
Every team who has won a trophy or money in a competition has truly worked for it.
Experience has taught us a lot – as well as our fellow GBA family members. However, prior to our first competition, we didn’t know about disposable cutting boards or heat resistant gloves? We have absorbed knowledge by talking with our fellow competitors and devising unorthodox uses for some common household items.
We keep a checklist of our most used items, in our barbecue camper. Each season, we double check this list and verify we have plenty on hand of things we might need throughout the year. The list is ever-evolving and we are constantly devising new ideas to help us.
I created a downloadable PDF of the checklist, in case you are interested.
Obviously, there are items you must have – a smoker you are comfortable with; aluminum pans; disposable gloves, etc. These are needed just to be able to function at a competition.
This article focuses on those “extras” which are not necessary but make cooking so much easier.
I have included affiliate links for these items.
In no particular order…
G & F 1689M Dupont Nomex & Kevlar Heat Resistant Oven Gloves, BBQ Gloves, Fireplace Gloves, Gloves for Cooking and Grill, Commercial Grade, Medium, Sold by 1 Piece–placed over your disposable gloves, these make it easier to handle hot pans and smoker racks but still have the dexterity to hold shakers full of rub.
Although made from Nomex, these gloves can be washed in your home washing machine, just do not use bleach and make sure they are completely dry before using.
Invaluable for applying barbecue sauce precisely where you want it and as much as you want. Strongly suggest getting the wide-mouth bottles to make it easier to pour in your prepared sauce.
These do not contain spout caps, however, I just use plastic wrap and a rubber band.
We also place beach towels under our cutting boards when we rub our product. Just shake them out, to avoid mixing any rub – then flip them inside out – then you are ready for the next product.
We use one beach towel under our cutting board for trimming and immediately discard this towel, until we get home and it can be washed.
Keep the tray at its lowest setting because it will get very hot and barbecue sauce should not be boiling when you apply it to your entry. The buffet trays and lids can be placed in the dishwasher. After the warming platform has cooled, clean with sanitizing wipes.
Disposable cutting mats are a game changer and we like these made by BBQ Guru.
They are 18″x24″ and include a ruler on the side for measuring slices or cubes. Also, the middle is a 9″x 9″ square for proportioning your turn in box.
There are other suppliers out there with food-grade cutting mats, the point is…they are a must for a competition cook team.
A reliable temperature control for your smoker is crucial for consistency during a competition.
Smokin J’s Barbeque proudly uses the CyperQ Cloud by BBQ Guru.
It not only regulates your cooker’s internal temperature but also, monitors up to 3 food temperatures. Package includes 1 six-foot pit probe and 1 six-foot food probe, but additional food probes are available to purchase.
A key feature of the CyberQ Cloud is its WiFi capability. You can monitor AND control your CyberQ Cloud remotely from any web-based device such as your smartphone, tablet, desktop, or laptop.
A set of poly-carbonate shakers with various lids. There are many types of shakers and after experimenting with various brands, sizes and textures…we have concluded the poly-carbonate shakers are the best.
We bought a set which contains several different lids with various sized holes.
Most any restaurant supply store will have these on hand. If you want to order online, here is a reliable Food Equipment Supply Company.
Various lids are available at their website.
We keep many on hand so we can prepare all the rubs at once. No fumbling around later when time is of the essence.
Rather expensive at $3.10 each, these “kwik” covers are made for 6-foot long, fold-able tables.
They fit over the 2″ edge of the table, much like a fitted sheet on a mattress. They can be wiped down and reused, but by the end of a competition, we are ready to just throw away everything and rest.
These are our 9 barbecue competition essential tools.