Monday, June 6, 2011

A good question.......................

What happens when it rains at a contest?

The very short answer here is, you get wet. What I mean is, as B. T. Barnum was alleged to have said, “the show must go on!”. If you have been around competition BBQ cooking for any time at all, you will quickly become aware that weather, and its changing nature, WILL come into play at some time in your contests cooking life.

The first and most important way to deal with the weather is to be prepared. Watch the weather forecast prior to the event, not that weatherpersons are all that accurate, (sorry to offend weather-type personnel, but it is the only job I know where you can be wrong most of the time and never have to offer an explanation and still get to keep your job). I suggest investing in one of those portable weather band radios with the alarm feature, especially when you have humid summer skies and the chance of thunderstorms. Many times severe weather is preceded by warnings broadcast on weather frequencies, this is good information to have.

If the man calls for high winds, make sure you have everything tied down and secure. If the rain is expected to arrive overnight, be sure you have everything away and under cover before you decide to bunk down for the night. Nothing is worse than being awakened by a fast moving down pour and remembering your truck windows are open and you have left your $100 instant read thermometer out on a table to get wet. Use your head and prepare.

Weather consideration should also come into play when setting up your cook site. Be sure you don’t have extension cords lying in areas that may collect water. Also, depending on the amount of rain in the forecast, you might want to avoid low lying areas when selecting your site, if you are given a choice, think ahead and choose wisely.

Set your canopies and cookers in an area that offers protection from the elements if you can. Knowing which way the wind will blow is very valuable information when it comes to site selection and set up. This is particularly true if you have a cooker that is affected by weather. High winds and cool temperatures can play havoc with your cooking temps so it is best to set up as efficiently as possible. You might consider a blanket or cover for your cooker, just be sure to use a product that is made for such use and not a blanket off your bed that has a chance to burst into flames after 3 hours on top of your unit.

Be sure you have proper clothing, including footwear. If heavy rains are predicted, be sure to pack raingear, boots, and dry socks. It is also a good idea to bring along a few extra changes of clothes in the unlikely event the cloths you are wearing get wet. Of course anyone that knows me and my well know relationship with the ever-present Mr. Murphy of Murphy’s Law fame, if things can get wet, they will get wet, and this INCLUDES socks.

Rain, wind, sun, hail, even snow, the contest will go on. The guy that is the best prepared to handle what ever Mom Nature tosses out, is the team that will do the best. Be prepared, use your head and plan ahead. It goes without saying you will never be able to control the weather, but you can make a few adjustments and preliminary moves to try and reduce the control the weather has on your and your contest cooking experience. The most important tip, is to always be safe.

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