COOKED ON SITE – All meat will be furnished the day of the cook-off. No pre-marinating, pre-soaking, or pre-spicing prior to the promoters official START time is allowed. Meat will be prepared from scratch within the time constraints of the cook-off. NO meat will be allowed to leave the team’s site area. The promoter will advise teams of the “START” time.

COOK AREA – The cook area will be 20x20. The area will be roped off and only students will be allowed to be in this area while the competition is taking place. No adults will be allowed in the cook area. If an adult is seen in the cooking area during the competition the team will be disqualified from the competition. The only exception will be if there is an emergency that requires the attention of an adult.

SANITARY CONDITIONS – The team must maintain the cooking area in a clean and sanitary condition. The head judge or designee may disqualify a contestant for unsanitary conditions or entries.

TURN IN TIMES – Prior to the cook off, the head judge and the promoter will determine the turn in times. The turn in times will be posted on site and announced during the cook’s meeting. Standard times are:

  • Dessert 10:00 a.m.
  • Beans 11:00 a.m.
  • Chicken 12:00 p.m.
  • Ribs 1:30 p.m.
  • Brisket 3:00 p.m.

Note: There may be an optional Individual Steak Cook Off Category and Chuck Wagon Dutch Oven Biscuit Category added this year at some Regionals and for sure at State depending on the interest.

Special circumstances, such as, 50 or more teams competing, will cause the turn-in times to be expanded, as necessary. Additional categories that are not listed above may, also, dictate different time variables. Teams are responsible for making sure they know the turn in times for each cook off they compete in. Never assume the times listed above are in place for a cook off.

Instructions for Meat Turn In

Chicken: Each team will turn in a whole chicken Cut in half, fully jointed with skin on, and meat side up with the wing tip on or off. The chicken must fit in the tray with lid closed. If it doesn’t fit, it is acceptable to cut the back bone out of it.

Ribs: Each team must turn in 7 fully cut apart pork spare ribs. No baby back ribs will be accepted at turn in. The ribs must be placed in the tray horizontally and accordion style starting from the lid down. It doesn’t matter how many you place on top and bottom.

Brisket: Each team will turn in 7 full slices, with the ends on, no thicker than 3/8 or thinner than 1/4 an inch; about the thickness of a # 2 pencil. The fat can be trimmed off of the top or bottom, but must have the ends on it. If it is too long you are to wrap the ends around the sides of the box. No blocking of the brisket is allowed. It must be put in the tray horizontally and accordion style from the hinge side of the box down.

MARKERS AND GARNISH FOR THE MEAT – preparing meat products for turn-in, nothing may be added to the meat after it has been placed in the tray. Cook will be asked to correct their turn-in if sauce or juice is added to the meat. There should be no “puddling” of juices or sauces in the tray. Any and all garnishes are prohibited. There is to be no markings on the tray or the foil; nor should the box or foil have any folding, tearing, etc.

PINTO BEANS – will be started at the site from dry pinto beans. There must be nothing larger than the diameter of a dime or small marble in the cup. Each team must use only pinto beans and can cook with any additional ingredients they like. However, if it goes into the cup, it must not be any larger than the diameter of a dime or small marble.

Fill the cup up with beans and juice, to the bottom of the ring which is about 1” from the top of the cup.

DESSERT – Dessert is an open category. The dessert must be cooked on site. Each team can cook what they want, as long as, it is a dessert and it is acceptable to garnish and make it look nice for presentation.

Each team will be given a turn in tray and must make sure that there is enough product in the tray for at least 18 judges to have a bite.

CHEF’S CHOICE – (Not at every event) Chef’s Choice is an open category. The product must be cooked on site and may not be any of the meats being turned in for the meat/protein categories. Each team can cook what you want and it is acceptable to garnish and make it look nice for presentation.

SAUCE - (Not at every event) Sauce is an open category. The sauce must be homemade; not a bought product and must be made on site.

Fill the turn in cup at least 3/4 full. Put enough sauce in the cup for the judges to get a good taste.

COOKING WITH SAUCE – Cooking with sauce is when a meat is cooked with the sauce on it. DO NOT be confused with "saucing" which is when a product is coated with sauce with "warming" it in the pit and calling that cooked with sauce.  Sauce should not be "wet" when place in the box and msut be cooked in.   

WOOD FIRE – All fires for cooking meat must be wood or wood products (charcoal) or wood pellets. Gas lighters, fuel such as lighter fluid, may be used to start the fire. Electric rotisseries which hold the meat and allow it to be cooked over wood are permitted. 

PIT OR SMOKER – Any type of commercial made, homemade, or shop made pit may be used. All pits must use only wood or wood products for cooking.  Guru style vent systems will be allowed.

JUDGING FORMAT – Only the approved High School BBQ, Inc. judging sheets will be used. The judging area will be set up and managed by a trained and certified High School BBQ, Inc. Head Judge. The head Judge’s decision will be final.

DOUBLE BLIND JUDGING – All entries will be submitted in identical containers which have been assembled and brought to the site by High School BBQ, Inc.. The container is a 9 X 9 hinged foam tray with a matched pair of identically numbered tickets; One ticket will be affixed to the tray. One ticket must have the teams name written on it in ink, when trays are picked up.

The signed ticket will be the ONLY ticket used to match to the ticket number on the ticket taken from the box during the awards ceremony.

Each team will be be provided with a piece of foil for each turn-in. That foil will be supplied by High School BBQ, Inc. and may not be substituted with any other foil. The foil supplied is to be placed in the bottom of each tray. The meat, dessert, or Chef’s Choice item is placed on the foil inside the box.

TIE BREAKER – Brisket will be the tie breaker. If there is a tie in points, the team that finishes higher in the brisket category will be the one who places higher. Example teams A and B have 35 points each and are tied for 2nd place. Team A placed 3rd in brisket and Team B placed 2nd in brisket. Team B now becomes 2nd overall and Team A becomes 3rd overall.

WINDOW – A window is an all-inclusive period of time. There will be a twenty (20) minute window which breaks down to ten (10) minutes before and ten (10) minutes after the designated turn in time. This allows anyone who is a great distance from the turn in point to have enough time to have his product checked and correct any mistakes before the window closes. If a team misses the window the product will not be accepted and will not be judged.

CONDUCT – All teams and mentors will be expected to conduct themselves in a friendly, courteous, and professional manner. Any team that does not conduct themselves in a professional manner will be disqualified and possibly expelled from future competitions. Any mentor that does not conduct themselves in a professional manner will be asked to leave the team they are mentoring and may be expelled from future competitions. This includes speaking ill of other teams, mentors, judges, or any other person on site. This is a teaching environment, mentors are expected to be positive role models to the youth they are mentoring and modeling professional behavior, at all times.

2019 High School BBQ, Inc. RULES


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