Rules & Judging
Alaska BBQ Association
A. GENERAL RULES AND PROCEDURES
1. The following are the rules for Alaska Barbecue Association (ABBQA) sanctioned contests and are required to be read aloud at the cook’s meeting.
2. Each team must have a Head Cook who will be responsible for their team’s actions and adherence to the event’s rules. The Head Cook may not competitively participate with other teams in the same event. Additionally, the Head Cook may not enter more than one team per event. Shirt, pants, kilts, etc., and shoes are required to be worn by all team members.
3. Competitive foods must be presented to the Food Inspector at the beginning of the event before food preparation work can commence. No competitive foods may be pre-cooked, marinated, cured, etc., prior to the food inspection, unless the event coordinator has stipulated otherwise. The Head Judge shall make the final decision as to whether any competitive food product shall not be allowed.
4. The heat source for cooking the competitive foods must be from charcoal, wood, and/or wood pellets. No gas or electric grills are permitted, unless the event coordinator has stipulated otherwise.
5. Each team must maintain a clean cooking area. Your entire assigned area must be cleaned at the end of the event. All materials and garbage must be disposed of by the team. A breach of this rule will mean disqualification. The Head Judge is responsible for deciding disqualifications.
1. All teams must provide their own supply of meats unless otherwise specified.
2. The four usual competitive meat categories are pork ribs, pork butt, beef brisket, and chicken, unless the promoter has determined that other products be used.
3. Pork ribs include spare ribs and loin or baby back ribs, but not country style ribs.
4. Chicken includes Cornish hen and kosher chicken. It is acceptable to have manufacturer enhanced or injected products as shown on the label, excluding teriyaki, lemon pepper and/or butter injected.
5. Pork is defined as Boston butt, picnic or whole shoulder weighting approximately five pounds or more. Pork must be cooked bone in or bone out in its entirety and may not be parted out during cooking.
6. Brisket may be whole or flats.
7. For “qualifier events,” only the four basic meat categories – that is, Brisket, Pork Butt, Pork Ribs and Chicken – will be used to determine the Grand Champion.
8. Some events may feature other competitive foods; however, these food categories may or may not count in determining the Grand Champion. Check with Head Judge or event coordinator to determine which food categories will be included in the championship scoring for that event.
1. Each team will provide a pit or pits to be used exclusively by that team within the team's assigned cooking space. No cooking of food entries from two or more teams are allowed in the same pit(s) at the same time.
2. Electric accessories – such as spits, augers, or forced draft – are permitted.
3. Each team must provide a washing station, using one capful (1 tsp.) of bleach to one gallon of water for general cleanup and washing of dishes, cutting boards, etc. The use of disposable gloves and any other similar protective items is strongly recommended to help maintain good hygiene and a germ-free work area.
4. An approved and current certified Fire Extinguisher will be required in each cook area.
D. FOOD PREPARATION
1. All seasoning and cooking of products shall be done within the confines of the team's assigned cooking space.
2. All meats must be held at safe temperatures. Meats must be on ice or refrigeration before being cooked at 40°F or less. After cooking, all meats must be maintained at a minimum temperature of 140°F.
E. TURN-IN TIMES
1. There will not be a public notification advising you of approaching entry turn-in times. It is the Head Cook’s responsibility to meet all turn-in times correctly. Please coordinate your watches to the official timepiece at the turn-in table.
2. Entries must be at the turn-in table between 5 minutes prior to the official turn-in time, and up to 5 minutes after the official turn-in time. If you are in line at the table prior to 5 minutes after the turn-in time, you are okay. If your turn-in is early or late, your entry will not be accepted. There will be no exceptions to this time rule.
3. Turn-in times, turn-in area and hot coal bin locations will be announced at the cook’s meeting.
1. Your competitive food entries must submitted in the event-supplied Styrofoam containers. The event coordinator may alter this requirement for special food categories. You will be handed all your containers with ample time prior to the start of judging. Each container will have a team identifier, either as a barcode or a team number.
2. The competitive meats may be presented sliced, diced, pulled, or chopped. A minimum of six separate, identifiable food portions MUST be submitted. (It is acceptable to include more than the minimum six portions which allows extra for table captains, volunteers, etc.) The ABBQA recognizes pulled and chopped meat in the Pork Butt and Brisket categories only. In the case of pulled or chopped meat, there needs to be enough for each judge to take a sample. Entries will be judged on Appearance, Tenderness/Texture, and Taste. Burnt ends of Brisket, if submitted, will be judged for Appearance only, and will not be judged for Tenderness/Texture or Taste.
3. Garnish is optional but, if used, is limited to chopped, sliced, shredded or whole leaves of fresh green lettuce; common curly parsley or flat leaf parsley; or cilantro. Use of kale, cabbage, endive, or red-tipped lettuce is not permitted. Any entry not complying with this rule will be given a “1” on appearance.
4. No toothpicks, skewers, foil or foreign materials are allowed in the container.
5. Sculpting of the meat or pooling of sauce is not allowed. Containers of sauce are not allowed. There will be no marking of the container.
1. Entries will be judged by a judging team, which is comprised of six judges who are at least 16 years of age.
2. Entries are judged in the areas of APPEARANCE, TENDERNESS/TEXTURE, and TASTE. The judge scoring system ranges from nine (excellent), to five (average), to two (bad). Whole numbers between nine and two may be used to score an entry. A score of 1 is a disqualification and requires confirmation/approval by the Head Judge.
3. Grand Champion and Reserve Champion will be determined by adding together each team’s judging scores from all qualifying contest categories. The highest accumulated team score will be awarded Grand Champion, and the second highest accumulated team score will be Reserve Champion.
1. Excessive use of alcohol by a team, its members and/or guests. Under no circumstances are alcohol beverages to be distributed to the general public by contestants and/or guests.
2. Use of controlled substances by a team, its members and/or guests.
3. The use of tobacco (smoking, dipping, chewing, etc.) products in the food preparation area is prohibited and can be reason for disqualification.
4. Foul, abusive or unacceptable language by a team, its members and/or guests.
5. Excessive noise generated from speakers or public address systems.
6. Use of an unauthorized fuel or heat source at a fuel restricted contest.
7. Disqualifications will only pertain to the event in which the behavior occurs. The ABBQA Board will review all disqualifications and may impose further penalties as needed.
I. GENERAL INFORMATION
1. The ABBQA uses a double-blind judging system. Your entry will be received and a number marked on the top of the box to be used for judging purposes only. Your team number remains unexposed to the judges.
2. Speak with the head judge if you have any questions about ABBQA rules or any other aspects of the contest. Please stay after the cook’s meeting if you are inexperience with ABBQA contests and you would like some help. Teams willing to mentor inexperience teams should stay after the cook’s meeting to offer help.
3. Last but certainly not least, the most important rule at every ABBQA event is to HAVE FUN, promote friendly and skillful competition, and help the public learn more about true barbecue.
Alaska BBQ Association
A. BASIC CALCULATIONS
The lowest score from the 6 judges will be discarded (and not used unless a tie occurs). The remaining 5 scores will be totaled to determine the category ranking.
B. CATEGORY SCORING
Places are determined by judging points. The entry with the highest total points (appearance+texture+taste) will take 1st place for that category; second highest number of points takes 2nd place; and so on.
C. CATEGORY TIE-BREAKERS
If a tie occurs, the discarded low scores are added back, and the winners are determined as follows, in this order:
1. The highest total points (appearance+texture+taste) from all 6 judges.
2. The highest total points of TASTE scores from all 6 judges.
3. The highest total points of TEXTURE/TENDERNESS scores from all 6 judges.
4. The highest total points of APPEARANCE scores from all 6 judges.
5. A one toss coin toss by the Head Judge.
D. GRAND & RESERVE CHAMPION DETERMINATION
Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion will be determined by adding together each team’s judging scores from all qualifying contest categories. The highest accumulated team score will be awarded Grand Champion, and the second highest accumulated team score will be Reserve Grand Champion.
E. GRAND AND RESERVE CHAMPION TIE BREAKER
In case of a tie in total judging scores, Category Tie Breaker procedures C.1, C.2, C.3 and C.4 will be applied to the score totals of all qualifying contest categories. If a tie still exists, the prize money for Grand and Reserve will be added together, and then divided equally. A three toss coin toss by the Head Judge will determine the declared Grand Champion.
Alaska BBQ Association
The Alaska Barbecue Association (ABBQA) strives to ensure that all sanctioned contests are professionally conducted. Contest promoters, coordinators, contestants and judges work hard to make these events successful. Without their hard work, these events would not be possible!
B. COMPETITIVE FOODS TO BE JUDGED
Judges at ABBQA events may judge food categories including: Pork Ribs, Pork Butt, Chicken, Brisket, Tri-tip, Hamburgers, and Alaska Seafood or any other food categories as specified by the contest promoter and/or coordinator. If you are not willing to sample all of these categories, please excuse yourself as a judge.
C. JUDGING CRITERIA
1. Entries will be judged by a judging team, which is comprised of six judges who are at least 16 years of age.
2. Smoking is not allowed in the judging area at any time.
3. No alcoholic beverages may be consumed in the judging area. It is preferred that judges not drink alcohol during the judging periods. Alcohol infractions are grounds for immediate disqualification as a judge, and offending judges will be replaced. Water is the only beverage allowed to be consumed by judges during the judging.
4. Judges may walk the cooking grounds on the day of judging however they are prohibited from tasting samples or socializing with teams other than friendly greetings.
5. If you fail to abide by these judging guidelines, the Head Judge may choose to remove you from further judging.
1. The competitive meats may be presented sliced, diced, pulled, or chopped.
2. The ABBQA recognizes pulled and chopped meat in the Pork Butt and Brisket categories only.
3. Competitive meats will be judged for Appearance, Tenderness/Texture, and Taste.
4. Burnt ends of Brisket, if submitted, will be judged for Appearance only, and will not be judged for Tenderness/Texture or Taste.
5. Garnish is optional but if used is limited to any and all of the following:
a. Chopped, sliced, shredded or whole leaves of fresh green lettuce.
b. Common curly parsley, flat leaf parsley or cilantro. Kale, cabbage, endive, or red-tipped lettuces are not allowed as garnishes.
6. Containers and foods may not use any of the following marks/items:
a. Toothpicks, skewers, foil or foreign non-food category materials.
b. Sauce containers or sauce pools.
c. No marking or sculpting of the food that leads to identifying the cook/team.
No identifying or distinguishing marks placed in or on the container by the contestants. (Containers may be marked by the ABBQA judging staff for purposes of maintaining the blind judging criteria.) Any entry not complying with the marks/items rule will be disqualified and be assigned a score of 1 by the Head Judge in ALL scoring categories.
6. A minimum of six, separate, identifiable food portions MUST be submitted. In the case of pulled or chopped meat, there needs to be a sufficient amount for each judge to take a sample. (It is acceptable for a team to submit more than the minimum six portions.)
7. If a judge picks up a piece of meat and there are two or more pieces stuck together, they will not shake, pull, or cut the pieces apart. This will be brought to the attention of the Table Captain or Head Judge. If there is not enough product for each judge to receive a separate piece, judges who do not receive a piece will be instructed to score the entry on appearance only.
E. GENERAL INFORMATION
1. Please remember… judging is very serious to the contestants! They have dedicated a lot of time and money to compete in this event. Judges owe them the best independent and impartial judging that can be provided based upon ABBQA cooking and judging guidelines.
2. The ABBQA uses a double-blind judging system: the numbers on the entries are not the actual contestant numbers. Please do not remove any tape used for identifying the entries, and do not remove any entry containers from the judging area.
3. Entries are judged in the areas of APPEARANCE, TENDERNESS/TEXTURE, and TASTE.
4. Scores range from 9 to 2, with 9 being the highest and 2 the lowest. A “1” is given for disqualification, and must be assigned by the Head Judge.
5. Judges will not compare or rank one entry/sample with another. Judge each item on its own merit. Taste and score each entry individually. There may be more than one entry with a score of 9 (or any other number), and that is okay!
6. Appearance scores will reflect the attractiveness of the whole presentation.
7. Tenderness/Texture and Taste scores come from individual pieces taken and tasted by each judge.
8. The judges must provide three scores for each entry submitted, using the 9-to-2 rating scale. A verbal description of the numeric scale might be:
a. 9 = So outstanding it is among the best barbecue.
b. 8 = Close to, but not quite among the best.
c. 7 = Much better than average, but not nearly among the best.
d. 6 = Slightly better than average.
e. 5 = Average barbecue.
f. 4 = Slightly below average.
g. 3 = Quite a bit below average, but not nearly among the worst.
h. 2 = Among the worst barbecue.
i. 1 = Disqualified per rule violation.
F. SPECIFIC JUDGING STEPS
1. Judges will mark judging sheets with their names, table number, and the category being judged.
2. Judges should try to keep their judges slips free of grease, sauce, etc. and should write in large, bold, readable numbers to avoid confusion during data entry. Judges will bring judging slip mistakes to the attention of the Table Captain, and the Head Judge will determine the course of action.
3. Each judging table will judge anywhere from 4 to 9 entries per food category. The Table Captain will tell the judges the number of the entry box; which judges will mark on their judging sheet.
4. First, an entry box will be shown for appearance to all judges at the table. Judges should remember that this is a meat contest. When judging appearance, judges should primarily consider the meat, and not the garnish. Judges will then mark their appearance score on the judging slip. Second, that entry will be passed around the judging table for judges to take a sample. Judges will place the sample on their judging plate. Third, the judges will sample the entry and mark judging slips with scores for Tenderness/Texture, and Taste. Judges will mark the scores as they sample the entires and will ensure that all three scores are marked on the judging slip before the next entry is presented. Judges should not compare entries! This process will continue until all entries at each table are judged.
5. Judges should score carefully! Once judges have recorded a score of an entry, it cannot be changed unless directed by the Head Judge due to a rules infraction.
6. Judges should limit eating during the judging. If judges eat all that is presented to them, they could easily consume two pounds of meat or more! Judges are welcome to keep any of their leftovers however they cannot take extra helpings from the entry boxes.
7. Judges should take their time! There is ample time between entry categories for judges to adequately judge a sample.
8. Judges are not allowed to talk or discuss entries once they have been brought to the judging table. Judges will complete their judging sheets and pass them to the Table Captain. Talking may resume quietly once the Table Captain has received all of the judging sheets from the table. Judges should be considerate of judges and tables around them, as they may not yet be finished judging their entries.
9. If judges fail to abide by these judging guidelines, the Head Judge may choose to remove them from further judging.
ABBQA Judges Oath
- I will adhere to all of the rules as set forth by the ABBQA.
- I will evaluate today’s foods objectively, to the best of my ability.
- I will demonstrate a high level of integrity in my judging.
- I will put forth my best effort, ensuring the proper recognition of quality barbecue.
- Meeting minutes: Jan, 2011