St. Patrick's Day BBQ Contest Rules

as of February 6, 2017



Category #1 - Pork Butt    Category #2 - Pork Ribs    Category #3 - Anything But*    Category #4 - Chicken

*Category #3 is a meat entry of your choice, beef, fish, pork (tenderloin). Note: if your choice is pork in this
category it can not be Butt (boston,  picnic or shoulder) or Ribs (baby back or spare ribs).


Barbecue is defined by the organizing committee as meat FRESH OR FROZEN AND UNCURED, prepared only on a wood and/or charcoal fire, basted or not, as the cook sees fit, with any consumable substances and sauces as the cook believes necessary. Meat may not be pre-cooked, sauced, spiced, injected, marinated or cured in any way, or otherwise pre-treated prior to official meat inspection.  Each team is responsible for observing required temperature control and good hygienic practices.

 Rules and Regulations & Judging Procedures  

This contest is for the Backyard Cooks and is considered an amateur event. An amateur who dabbles in a field out of casual interest rather than as a profession or serious interest, or who possesses a general but superficial interest in art of BBQ!

1) The decision and interpretations of the Rules and Regulations are at the discretion of the  Contest Representatives at the contest. Their decisions and interpretations are final to the extent consistent with the rules.

2) Each team shall consist of a chief cook and as many assistants as the chief cook deems necessary.

3) Each team will be assigned a cooking space. Pits, cookers, props, trailers, vehicles, tents or any other equipment (including generators) shall not exceed the boundaries of the team’s assigned cooking space. All seasoning and cooking of product shall be done within the assigned cooking space. Teams shall not share an assigned cooking space or cooking device. Cooking space will be approx. 20' x 25'. Electricity is available, however it is not at each individual cooking site. Contestants shall provide electrical cords as needed. Water is supplied to the Event grounds, however it will not be available at each individual cooking site. Contestants shall provide hoses, fittings and containers as needed.

4) Contestants shall provide all needed equipment, supplies and electricity, except as arranged for in advance. Contestants must adhere to all electrical, fire and other codes. A fire extinguisher shall be near all cooking devices.

5) It is the responsibility of the contestant to see that the team's assigned cooking space is clean and orderly following the contest. All fires must be put out, pits filled (if allowed by contest organizer), and all equipment removed from site. It is imperative that clean-up be thorough. Any team’s assigned cooking space left in disarray or with loose trash, other than at trash containers, may disqualify the team from future participation at our events.

6) Fires shall be of wood, wood pellets or charcoal. Gas and electric heat sources shall not be permitted for cooking or holding. Propane or electric is permitted as fire starters, provided that the competition meat is not in/on the cooking device. Electrical accessories such as spits, augers, or forced draft are permitted. No open pits or holes are permitted, except at the election of the contest organizer. Fires shall not be built on the ground.

7) All competition meats shall be inspected by the Official Meat Inspector during the times established by the contest organizer but not prior to the day before judging. Once the competition meat has been inspected, it shall not leave the contest site. Cooking shall not begin until the competition meat has been inspected by the Official Meat Inspector. All competition meat shall start out raw. No pre-seasoned meat is allowed other than manufacturer enhanced or injected products, as shown on label EXCLUDING but not limited to: teriyaki, lemon pepper or butter injected.

When the contest organizer supplies the meat, the contestant is not required to enter only that meat. Competition meat not meeting these qualifications shall be disqualified; given a one (1) in all criteria by all judges.

8) Parboiling, Sous-vide, and/or deep-frying competition meat is not allowed. If any of the banned processes are discovered before the team turns in, the team will receive zeros. If discovered after turn-in, the team will receive (1) ones in all criteria for that entry.

9) Meat shall not be sculptured, branded or presented in a way to make it identifiable. Rosettes of meat slices are not allowed. Violations of this rule will be scored a one (1) on all criteria by all judges.

10) Any comestible (entry) marinated in and/or which contains chili peppers, mustard, horseradish, curry or other spices that may evoke a taste sensation above or beyond that of typical characteristics expected by a Judge must be verbally confirmed with the Turn-in Official (only), and must not be marked or signified on the turn-in box in any form or fashion. Only Judges that are willing to critic that (hot/spicy) entry will be asked to do so. This could lead to a lower score for that admission due to a smaller lineup of Judges.  

11) The Four Meat Categories:

May be cooked whole or in part (bone in or bone out) and if cooked whole must be separated into Only One of the following: wings, thighs, legs, breast, etc. (no combinations) when turned in for judging. Chicken is a meat category it shall be turned in the same as other meat categories, no garnish, wrapping or stuffing.

PORK BUTT: Pork is defined as Boston Butt or Picnic and weighing a minimum of five (5) pounds. Pork shall be cooked whole (bone in or bone out) and shall not be separated during the cooking process. At no time shall the meat once separated be returned to a cooker. (NO shoulders are allowed)

Shall be defined as Baby Back Ribs or Spare Ribs. The St. Louis (style) Cut of Spare Ribs may be used. Ribs shall include the bone. Country style ribs are prohibited.
                    (either 1 bone and 2 meats or 2 bones and 3 meats may be turned in. there will need to be at least 6 pieces in the box.)

ANYTHING BUT: Beef, fish or pork. No chicken.
Note: if your choice is pork in this category it can not be Butt (boston or picnic) or Ribs (baby back or spare ribs).

12) Judging will start on Saturday at the time listed below.

The 4 categories will be judged in the following order:  

            CHICKEN.....................12:00 PM (turn-in window 11:55 am to 12:05 pm)

            ANYTHING BUT.............1:30 PM (turn-in window 1:25 pm to 1:35 pm)

            PORK BUTT..................2:15 PM (turn-in window 2:10 pm to 2:20 pm)

            PORK RIBS...................3:00 PM (turn-in window 2:55 pm to 3:05 pm)

Times may vary at the contest. Turn-in times will be confirmed at the Cooks Meeting. An entry will be judged only at the time established by the contest organizer. The allowable turn-in time will be five (5) minutes before to five (5) minutes after the posted time with no tolerance. A late turn-in will receive a 1 (one) in all criteria.

13) Garnish is not allowed. Chicken is a meat category it shall be turned in the same as other meat categories, no garnish, wrapping or stuffing.

14) Sauce is optional. If used, it shall be applied directly to the meat and not be pooled or puddled in the container. No side sauce containers will be permitted in the turn-in container. Chunky sauce will be allowed. Chunks are to be no larger than a fine dice, approximately 1/8 inch cubed. Sauce violations shall receive a score of one (1) on Appearance.

15) Entries will be submitted in an approved numbered container, provided by the contest organizer. The number must be on top of the container at turn-in.

16) The container shall not be marked in any way so as to make the container unique or identifiable. Aluminum foil, toothpicks, skewers, foreign material, and/or stuffing are prohibited in the container.

Marked entries or containers with the above listed material will receive a one (1) in all criteria from all Judges.

17) Each contestant must submit at least six (6) portions of meat in an approved container. Chicken, pork and brisket may be submitted chopped, pulled, sliced, or diced as the cook sees fit, as long as there is enough for six (6) judges. Ribs shall be turned in bone-in. Judges may not cut, slice, or shake apart to separate pieces. If there is not enough meat for each judge to sample, the shorted judge(s) will score a one (1) on all criteria, and the judges having samples will change the Appearance score to one (1).

18) The following cleanliness and safety rules will apply: a. No use of any tobacco products while handling meat. b. Cleanliness of the cook, assistant cooks, cooking device(s) and the team’s assigned cooking space is required. c. Shirt and shoes are required to be worn. d. Sanitizing of work area should be implemented with the use of a bleach/water rinse (one cap/gallon of water). Each contestant will provide a separate container for washing, rinsing and sanitizing of utensils. e. First aid is not required to be provided by the contest, except at the election of the contest organizer. f. Prior to cooking, meat must be maintained at 40° F or less. g. After cooking, all meat: Must be held at 140° F or above OR Cooked meat shall be cooled as follows: Within 2 hours from 140° F to 70° F and Within 4 hours from 70° F to 41° F or less h. Meat that is cooked, properly cooled, and later reheated for hot holding and serving shall be reheated so that all parts of the food reach a temperature of at least 165° F for a minimum of 15 seconds.

19) There will be no refund of entry fees for any reason, except at the election of the contest organizer.

20) Showmanship and cooking are separate entities and will be judged as such. Specific information will be provided a contest organizer if there is to be a showmanship award.

CAUSES FOR DISQUALIFICATION & EVICTION of a team, its members and/or guests:

A cook team is responsible jointly and severally for its head cook, its team members and its guests.

a. Excessive use of alcoholic beverages or public intoxication with a disturbance. Any alcohol consumed ("Red Cup" rule applies) must be done responsibly and within the confines of your site.

b. Serving alcoholic beverages to the general public.

c. Use of illegal controlled substances.

d. Foul, abusive, or unacceptable language or any language causing a disturbance.

e. Excessive noise, including but not limited to that generated from speakers, such as radios, CD players, TVs, public address systems or amplifying equipment, will not be allowed during quiet time, designated to start at 11:00 p.m. on contest nights and will last until 7:00 a.m. unless otherwise determined by the event.

f. Fighting and/or disorderly conduct.

g. Theft, dishonesty, cheating, use of prohibited meats, or any act involving moral turpitude.

h. Use of gas or other auxiliary heat sources inside the cooking device.

i. Violation of any of the Cook’s Rules above, save and except #9 – 13. Excessive or continued complaints from teams on any of the above rule infractions shall be considered grounds for immediate disqualification from the contest by Representatives, Organizers and/or Security. In addition, any violation of the above rules shall be reported to the Directors who may in addition to the above disqualification impose additional penalties upon the team, the head cook, and its members including but not limited to disqualification from competing in future events for a period of time not to exceed five years. All complaints of disturbance or violation of quiet time shall be reported to the Directors.

CLARIFICATION: If product is turned in and is disqualified, it receives a one (1) in all criteria. If the team does not turn in a product or is disqualified and not allowed to turn in, that team’s category is not judged and receives no score. If a product is turned in and then disqualified for late turn in, no bone in ribs, etc., it is not judged and will receive a one (1) in all criteria.


Our cook-off allows for blind judging only. Entries will be submitted in an approved numbered container provided by the contest organizer. The container may be re-numbered by the Contest Rep or authorized personnel before being presented to the judges.

1) Judges may not fraternize with teams on turn-in day until conclusion of judging.

2) Judging will be done by a team of 6 persons (maximum), who are at least 16 years of age. Only Judges, Contest Reps and necessary support staff are allowed in judging area during the judging process. No other activities are permitted in the judging area, during judging process.

3) Each judge will first score all the samples for appearance of the meat. The turn-in containers will then be passed around the table and each judge will place a sample from each of the containers in the appropriate box on the judging plate. Judges shall not lick their fingers while taking these samples; paper towels, non-scented wipes or damp wash cloths are preferred. The judge will then score each entry for taste and tenderness, before moving on to the next entry.

4) The scoring system is from 9 to 2, all whole numbers between two and nine may be used to score an entry. (9 excellent, 8 very good, 7 above average, 6 average,5 below average, 4 poor, 3 bad, and 2 inedible.)

5) A score of one (1) is a disqualification and requires approval by a Contest Rep. Grounds for disqualification: All judges will give a one (1) in Appearance for unapproved garnish, pooled sauce or less than 6 samples of meat. All judges will give a one (1) in all criteria for sculptured meat, a marked turn-in container, foreign object in the container, incorrect meat. All judges not receiving a sample will give a one (1) in all criteria.

6) The weighting factors for the point system upon deployment of will be: Appearance - .5600, Taste – 2.2972, Tenderness - 1.1428.

7) The low score will be thrown out. Results will be tallied. If there is a tie in one of the categories, it will be broken by the computer, as follows: The scores will be compared (counting all five judges) for the highest cumulative scores in taste, then tenderness, then appearance. If still tied, then the low score, which was thrown out, will be compared and the higher of the low scores will break the tie. If still tied, then a computer generated coin toss will be used.

7a. In the event of lost, destroyed or missing score cards the remaining score cards will be averaged in each category and those averages shall be used as the missing scores on replacement score cards. After there are six total score cards the normal procedure will be followed for dropping the low score. These correct scores will be the official scores for any and all purposes.


In consideration of accepting this entry, I the undersigned, agree to indemnify and hold harmless the City of Sidney, and its employees, Barbecue Cook-off and committee and all sponsors. Including Officers, Directors, Servants, Agents and /or Employees. The Cook-off will in NO CASE be responsible for any loss, damage, or injury to the person, animals, or property of Exhibitor, or Exhibitor’s Agents, Servants, Family, and/or Employees, regardless of how much loss damage or injury is occasioned and by whom. Chamber and Exhibitor further agree that Exhibitor will protect, indemnify and save harmless the “Cook-Off” from any/all claims, suits, and/or judgments (including the cost of defense of any loss, damage or injury to any person, animals or property occasioned by any action or inaction of Exhibitor either solely or in conjunction with the “Cook-Off” or anyone else).

I agree that I will be responsible for my own insurance and under this hold harmless clause that is made a part of this contract. I have carefully read and fully understand its contents. I am aware that this is a release of liability, hold harmless agreement and assumption of risk agreement and that it is a legally binding contract. I further understand that this release is binding on my heirs or anyone making a claim. I sign of my own free will.


Back                     Home

  PHONE : 870-283-4135  or  870-613-1956


Animated picture of pig chef dressed in kitchen whites