The decisions and interpretations of these rules and regulations are at the sole discretion of the Judging Supervisors at the contest. Their decisions are final.
- Turn-in times will be confirmed at the Cook’s Meeting on Sunday morning. An entry will be judged only at the time established by the Judging Supervisors. The allowable turn-in time will be five minutes before to five minutes after the posted time – no exceptions. A late turn-in will receive a 1 (one) for all three criteria below.
- This competition is a double blind event. Entries will be submitted in a numbered container provided by the Judging Supervisors. The number must be on top of the container at turn-in. The container will be re-numbered by the Judging Supervisors before being presented to the judges.
- Judging will be done by teams of 6 persons, who are at least 18 years of age. Only judges, contest representatives and necessary support staff are allowed in judging area during the judging process. No other activities are permitted in the judging area during the judging process.
- Judges must not fraternize with the cooking teams or enter their cooking sites until after the conclusion of the judging.
- Judges must not sit at the same table as their spouse or significant other, or any other relative.
- The container shall not be marked in any way so as to make the container unique or identifiable.
- This is a non-garnish event. An optional piece of aluminum foil on the bottom of the container is the only item allowed. Lettuce leaves, toothpicks, skewers, foreign material, and/or stuffing are prohibited. Marked entries or containers with the above listed material will receive a one (1) in all criteria from all Judges.
- 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.
- Each contestant must submit at least seven (7) portions of food in the approved and provided containers. Brisket may be submitted chopped, pulled, sliced, or diced as the team sees fit, as long as there is enough for six (6) judges and the Table Captain. Ribs shall be submitted bone-in. Judges may not cut, slice, or shake apart to separate pieces. If there is not enough food for each judge to sample, the shorted judge(s) will score a one (1) on all criteria, and the judges having samples will give an Appearance score a one (1).
- No utensils shall be used in the judging, with the exception that spoons (to be provided by the Judging Supervisors) shall be used for judging in the beans category and knives in case the judges wish to cut the rib meat.
Scoring for Food Items
Each turn-in box will be shown to all judges at the table by the Table Captain. Each judge will score the entry on its appearance. The turn-in box is then passed around the table and a sample of each item is taken by each judge and put on their judging mat in the assigned spot (the number from the box shall be written onto the appropriate space on the mat by each judge). Once all judges have a sample from the turn-in box, each judge will score the sample on taste and texture before moving on to the next entry.
Judging criteria is as follows:
- Appearance: How appealing does the entry look in regards to how the category is defined?
- Taste: How does the entry taste with respect to the how the category is defined?
- Texture: Is the entry properly prepared and/or cooked (not burnt or raw or unevenly cooked, etc.)? Is the texture representative of what the item should be?
All items shall be judged on their own merit and shall be evaluated as to how well the team has represented the contest category.
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.
A score of one (1) is a disqualification and requires approval by the Judging Supervisors 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 suspiciously marked turn-in container, foreign object in the container other than the optional aluminum foil, or incorrect item.
- All judges not receiving a sample will give a one (1) in all criteria.
The weighting factors for the point system are as follows:
- Taste: 2.2858
- Appearance: 0.5714
- Tenderness: 1.1428
The low score will be thrown out. Results will be tallied. A tie will be broken by the computer, as follows: the scores will be compared for the highest cumulative scores in taste, then tenderness, then appearance. If still tied, the low scores (which were thrown out) will be compared, and the higher of the low scores will break the tie. If still tied, then a coin toss will be used.
Total points per entry will determine the champion within each food category.
Judging Procedures for Non-Food Categories
Total points within each entry will determine the champion within each non-food category.
Most Original Team Name: Judges will score Most Original Team Name with a scoring system from 9 to 2. Whole numbers between two and nine will be used to score an entry.
9: Holding their chest and laughing their butt off
7: Big Smile
5: Wane Smile
4: ‘That’s it?’
3: In Poor Taste
2: In Really Poor Taste
Best Booth Decoration: Judges will score Best Booth Decoration with a scoring system from 9-2 based on two criteria: 1) originality of concept and 2) execution of concept. Whole numbers between two and nine will be used to score each criteria separately.
9: Truly Amazing
8: Very Cool
7: Above Average
5: Below Average
2: ‘Why Did They Even Try?’
In order to be named Grand Champion, a team must compete in all six categories. The total points for all six categories (both food and non-food) will be used to determine the Grand Champion. Food categories will comprise 80% of the total score, while non-food items will comprise 20% of the total score.