BBQ Cook-Off Championship

Event Details and Rules

General Information

  • Each team will be supplied with 25-30 racks of ribs. The final amount will be determined by the number of teams entered. If this amount is more than you feel you can cook, please contact Dan Schneider (605-770-1109) to determine how much you will prepare. Teams may be asked to cook additional ribs if they have the capacity to ensure all event patrons are served.

  • Twenty-five teams may participate in this event. Registration will conclude on May 15 or when all of the team slots are filled. 

  • KCBS rules will be used for judging. We will have several KCBS-certified judges helping with the judging. 

  • Set up and cooking can begin any time after 8 AM. Cooking must be done by 4:30 PM for judging and serving to the public, which starts at 5 PM. 

  • Serving will begin at 5 PM and conclude at 8 PM or when the food is gone. 

  • Event attendees pay $10 and are given a bowl used to receive ribs.

  • Event attendees vote for the People's Choice Grand Championship award. The winner will keep the traveling trophy for one year. The trophy will be returned before or at the next year's event. 

  • Awards will be given to the top four teams in each division. Teams can also compete for the Best Campsite award. The campsite theme for 2021 is "Celebrate. Honor. Remember.."

  • Complete rules will be sent to each team after receiving your entry form and will also be reviewed the day of the event. 

  • The event will be hosted rain or shine. 

Cooking Area/Setup

  • Contest will be held on South Main Street between 1st Street and The Depot. 

  • Each team will be assigned a 20 X 30 area. Check with event staff upon arriving for the location of your site. 

  • Set up time will begin any time after 8 AM and needs to be completed by 10 AM on May 29. 

  • Teams can begin cooking the ribs any time following site set up. 

Contest Rules

  • All competition meat will be provided. Meat will be distributed by a Memorial Weekend representative. Only meat provided by a Memorial Weekend representative will be allowed. All meat must start out raw. No pre-seasoned or marinated meat. 

  • Once the meat has been distributed, it cannot leave the contestant's site. 

  • Meat will be distributed at the event area beginning at 8 AM. Meat must be picked up by 10 AM. Rib sample must be ready for judges at 4:30 PM and ready for the public at 5 PM. 

  • Each team will receive 25-30 racks of ribs. Some teams may cook more. The amount of meat distributed may change depending on the number of teams entered. If you do not have space on your grills/smokers for 25-30 racks, please contact Dan. The meat you do not have space for will be given to another team. Your team will not receive any judging deductions if you cook a smaller quantity of meat. 

  • All meat must be on ice or refrigerated before being cooked. Holding temperature must be 40 degrees or less. After cooking, all meat must maintain a minimum temperature of 140 degrees. 

  • Contestants must provide all needed equipment and supplies including a table to serve samples to the public. Sample amounts are at your discretion but should be approximately 2 ounces each or 1 bone-in rib. Handing out larger samples may affect your votes as your team may run out sooner than your competitor. 

  • Sampling containers and utensils will be given to the public when they are paying their sampling fee. 

  • When the public event attendees are given their sample cup, they will also receive a punch card. This card entitles each person up to two samples of ribs from your team. You will be given two punchers to punch the card under your team number before you give out a sample. This will help control people from coming back numerous times to your team for samples. Each team will have to assign 1-2 people to punch the card before they receive your sample to make this work. Please return the punchers to a Memorial Weekend representative after the event so they can be reused next year. The card has no value other than to help people sample from multiple different teams. 

  • Ribs will be judged by a team of volunteers from the Kansas City Barbeque Society and select local individuals. There will be two groups of six to eight judges. Your sample will be judged by one of the groups. Please prepare a sample large enough to feed eight judges. Ribs will be judged and trophies will be awarded to the top four teams with the most points.If you paid the extra fee for the cash awards, they will also be paid out to the top four teams. Teams not participating in the cash awards who place in the top four will receive the trophy; the cash award will be given to the team with the next highest score in the division. 

  • People's Choice Judging: The public will vote on the People's Choice awards, which includes Grand Champion. Trophies will be awarded to the four teams with the most points. Teams who win a People's Choice award will also receive the prize money if they paid the additional prize money fee. 

    • People's Choice Grand Champion: This trophy will be considered a traveling trophy and needs to be surrendered at next year's event. 

    • Condiments: Teams are allowed to provide extra condiments at their campsites. 

  • Grand Champion and Reserve Champion (Trophy and Cash Award): Winners will have the top two combined scores from KCBS judging and People's Choice. The amount of money given to award winners will be determined once sponsors are locked in. Depending on the amount of teams entered, MWIM plans to pay back ten places. We are using KCBS rules as a guideline and will be looking for overall good taste, texture, presentation, etc. 

  • Teams are encouraged to decorate their site. There will be an award for Best Campsite. The theme for 2021 is "Celebrate. Honor. Remember.."

  • At 4:30 PM each team will bring their sample to a designated area for judging. Containers will be distributed before judging time. Each container will only have a number on it. Samples in the container must be large enough for eight judges to taste. Only the meat will be judged; no condiments are required. Condiments will not change the judges' decisions. 

  • Cookers, props, trailers, vehicles, tents and any other equipment may not exceed the boundaries of the team's assigned cooking space. Each team is encouraged to build a display in their cooking area but this is not required. Campers can be used as part of the display as long as it fits in the assigned area. 

    • Teams may bring in campers or trailers on Friday evening and may leave them until Sunday. Units must be gone by Sunday evening. If you plan to set up early, please contact Dan at 605-770-1109 so he can tell you where your team will be located. ​

    • There is space for twelve teams on the parking lot. The rest of the teams will be setting up on Railroad and Main Streets. Only the teams on the parking lot can set up early. These spots are first come first served; call Dan to reserve your spot. Teams located on the street will not be able to set up early; these teams can set up Saturday morning. 

  • Contestants are allowed to use electric, gas, charcoal grills, or other cooking devices normally used to cook product. NO OPEN PITS, HOLES, OR OPEN FIRES PERMITTED. Electricity is not provided but a generator can be used if needed. Water will be available if needed for cooking and cleanup. 

  • Teams are responsible for keeping their assigned cooking space clean and policed during and following the contest. Grease containers must be used and maintained throughout the contest. Spilling of any grease will result in disqualification. Teams that leave their space in disarray or do not throw away trash will automatically be disqualified from entering this event in the future. Dumpsters will be on site for disposal of trash. 

  • In the event that there is left over pork following the public sampling, MWIM encourages the teams to sell the leftover product in packages with proceeds going to Big Friend Little Friend. If leftover product still remains, the pork will be donated to Mitchell nonprofits, such as the Mitchell Area Safehouse. 

Causes for Disqualification

  • Excessive use of alcoholic beverages by a team, team members, or guests. Under no circumstances are alcoholic beverages to be distributed to the general public by contestants an/or guests. No alcohol is allowed outside any camper that sets up early for the event. Any infraction is subject to a $125 fine by the City of Mitchell and will be cause for immediate disqualification from the event. 

  • Use of controlled substances by a team, team members, or guests. 

  • Foul, abusive, or unacceptable language by a team, team members, and/or guests. 

  • Excessive noise generated from speakers or a PA system. Music will be provided from 4 - 9 PM. 

Please contact Dan for a copy of the KCBS general rules. The KCBS general rules can be used as a guide, but will not be considered the official event rules. 

Contact Information: 

Big Friend Little Friend


Dan Schneider