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Competitor Registration

Please follow the link below to receive the most updated competitor packets from the donation page. 

Note: Competition registration fee is
not included with 


There is an entry fee of $500 per team to be paid with submission of registration form. A team will consist of a Grill Master and up to three Assistant Chefs. Completed registration, including form and entry fee, must be submitted no later than September 13th, 2022. Teams will receive four complimentary event t-shirts and four wristbands. Additional t-shirts and wristbands will be available for purchase.


Participants of the BBQ Cook-off will set up between 12 P.M. and 5 P.M. on Friday October 27th, 2019. Teams are permitted to start cooking upon arrival and meat inspection. Teams cannot begin meat prep until the meat has been inspected.

Grilling Stations

Once team registration form and payment has been received, teams will have the option of choosing either a preset open area or covered booth and will have the opportunity to select their preferred location. The stations will be first come first serve. To assure all team’s comfort throughout the event, please keep in mind the team's grill size when selecting grilling station. If grill size imposes on a neighboring site, team may be subject to relocation by event staff.

Introductory Meeting

A mandatory team meeting will be held on Friday, October 27th, at 6:00 P.M. at The Helotes Festival Grounds. Competition will begin after the meeting and an itinerary for Saturday’s events will be issued at this time.


General parking will be provided by the Helotes Festival Grounds. Competitors and judges will have a

designated parking area closer to the entrance.

Alcoholic Beverages

Regulations imposed on the establishment. All alcoholic beverages must be purchased from Helotes
Festival Grounds. Alcohol consumption is PROHIBITED from 2:00 am to 8:00 am.
Excessive use of alcoholic beverages will be grounds for disqualification, with no refunds of entry fee(s).


The Helotes Festival Grounds are equipped for teams to have access to outlets and running water. Allcompetitors will be provided with sampling plates for judges. Each team will be responsible for supplyingpublic sampling plates, canopies, tables, chairs, extension cords and any other supplies needed for their teamset up. Teams will be allowed to market their company (hand out business cards, fliers, companymerchandise, etc.). We simply ask that you respect our patrons, employees and property while doing so.

Pit Requirements

Acceptable pits will include any commercial, homemade, trailered, or un-trailered pit or smoker and
may include gas or electricity for use to ignite natural wood or wood products only. All fires for cooking
meat must be wood, wood products (charcoal), or wood pellets. No gas or electric cooking heat will be


Cooks are to prepare and cook in a safe and sanitary manner. When preparing all food, no bare hand
contact of ready to eat food may occur. Food service gloves must be worn at all times while preparing
food. Cooking conditions are subject to inspection by judging committee.

Each team must have a good supply of clean towels, paper towels, and cleaning supplies (such as Clorox,
water, sanitizing wipes or sanitizing cloths) in order to keep all food preparation surfaces clean at all times.
Do not dump anything on to the ground. Use trash containers for disposal of all grease, charcoal ash,
and food and paper waste. Infractions identified by judging committee shall be immediately corrected.
Otherwise, team may be subject to disqualification.

A Helotes health inspector will be on site Saturday morning to inspect all teams. Ensure all ruels are followedas the health inspector has the authority to disqualify any team deemed unfit to compete. Teams areresponsible for understanding and complying with all sanitation and health regulations.

Barbecue Categories

Three categories for this years' barbecue:

  • Chicken

  • Ribs

  • Brisket

Cooking Specifications

All meat will be cooked on site. All cooking of the meat shall be done within the team’s assigned cooking
area. No pre-marinating, pre-soaking, or pre-spicing prior to start time.


Meat will be inspected at Check-in. Meat may be pre-trimmed before inspection. Random inspections
may be performed to assure that no meat is prepared prior to the official start time of the competition.

Meat will be prepared within the time constraints of the cook-off site. Start time will begin after all meat
has been inspected. Cooks can begin to spice/marinate after their meat has been inspected.
All meat must be kept on ice or refrigerated before being cooked. Holding temperature must be at
40 degrees (F) or below and meat must be completely covered with ice. Teams must have a meat
thermometer and plenty of ice. Meats above 40 degrees (F) may be disqualified. Aluminum disposable
pans for storing and serving samples are an easy and inexpensive option. Please limit your sample
portions to 2 ounces or less.

Public Sampling

All of the remaining meats will be sampled out by each team to the public for the People’s Choice portion ofthe competition. Teams should expect and be prepared to serve around 400 guests. Samples may be servedwith a toothpick, portion cup, and/or sample boats.

Turn-in Times

Turn-in times shall be announced at the introductory meeting and posted on site. The turn-in times,
rules, and meat inspection forms will be given to the Grill Master. Each team must bring forms, checked
and signed, to the designated area at the time specified on the form to receive a turn-in box.


There will be a 10-minute window of opportunity for turning in your barbecue entries for each category.
The Grill Master is responsible for turning in the entries or assigning a designated runner and knowing
the scheduled turn-in times. Entries will not be accepted before or after the designated 10-minute turn-
in time.

Turn-in Quantities

Each team will be given a 9” x 9” Styrofoam food container without food divisions for the ribs, chicken and brisket. The following are the quantitative requirements designated for each category:
Brisket – Cooks will turn in eight (8), 1/4” to 3/8” thick full slices in the contest container.
Pork Spare Ribs – Cooks will turn in eight (8) pork spare ribs in the contest container. 
Chicken – Cooks will turn in one-half (1/2) of a whole chicken, dis-jointed, containing skin, breast portion, leg, thigh and wing with or without wing tip in the contest container. Please note this change from previous years and submit chicken off-the bone ready to be placed on plates and served. 

The container must be able to close completely. If there are not enough individual pieces for each judge to sample, the judge(s) not having a piece to taste will give the contestant a score of 1 for all criteria and the judges having samples will change their appearance scores to 1. If samples are too much for the containers, speak to a volunteer and request extra containers.
No garnish is allowed, MEAT ONLY. Teams may be disqualified for the following:
●    Presence of garnish
●    Excessive sauce
●    Foreign object(s)



Scoring will be based on appearance, taste, and tenderness. Contest entries will be scored using the
following scoring system (2-9):

9 – Excellent
8 – Very Good
7 – Above Average
6 – Average
5 – Below Average
4 – Poor
3 – Bad
2 – Inedible

The weighing factors for the scoring system will be:
Appearance (texture, color, fat to lean ratio, burnt meat) – (15%)
Taste (sauce too hot, mild or excessive vs. a pleasing blend of sauce and meat) – (60%)
Tenderness (moist and tender vs. dry and tough) – (25%)


All judges will give a 1 in appearance for unapproved garnish or pooled sauce. All judges will give a 1
in all criteria for sculptured meat, a marked turn-in container, foreign object in container, or incorrect
meat. All judges not receiving a sample will give a 1 in all categories and those judges having samples
will change their appearance scores to 1 for that specific category.

* In the unlikely event of a tie score, the tie will be decided by the team with more votes in the People’s
Choice Category.


Awards will be given to the top 3 winning teams for each of the following categories:
People’s Choice – majority fan voted category.
Judges – a panel of appointed judges will be given a blind sample.
Overall Grand Champion – combination of judged and fan voted score.
Awards will be given to the top 3 winning teams at 4:00 pm on Saturday, October 26th.

* In the unlikely event of a tie score, the tie will be decided by the team with more votes in the People’s
Choice Category.

All Participants MUST vacate the Helotes Festival Grounds by 5:00PM of the event

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