Hosted by: Rotary Club of DeLand

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Contest Rules

Barbecue Contest

February 19th 10am - 4pm

DeLand Elks Lodge #1463
614 S. Alabama Ave., DeLand, FL 32720

Rules for the Florida in February Barbeque Contest

Contestants will compete in a blind tasting for BEST Pork Ribs, Ribeye Steak, and Chili.

CONTESTANT – A contestant is any individual, group, restaurant, etc. hereinafter referred to as a team that will prepare and cook an entry or entries for the purpose of being judged according to FIF rules at a contest. Each team will be comprised of a head cook and as many assistants as required. The contest organizer may not cook in any category in that contest. Neither a family member of a competing cook team nor any cook team member of that cook team may enter the judging area at any time during the contest. All contestants must have at least one representative of their team present at the Cook Team Meeting held on the evening prior to the contest. In the event this is not possible, the team shall contact either the Contest Organizer or one of the FIF Reps at that contest and inform them of their absence. Cook teams absent from the meeting accept all responsibility for understanding these rules and any changes to them that may have occurred. Violation of these rules may result in disqualification from this contest.

INTERPRETATION of RULES – The interpretation of the FIF rules and regulations are those of the FIF Representative at the contest and his or her decisions are final.

EQUIPMENT – Each team will supply all the equipment necessary for the preparation and cooking of their entry including a cooker, wood, charcoal, or wood pellets. No team may share a cooker or grill with any other team.

MEAT INSPECTION – All meat must be USDA or state DA inspected and passed. No pre-seasoning, injecting, marinating or cooking of any entry is permitted until after inspection by the Official Meat Inspector as appointed by the FIF Representative or the contest organizer. Meat inspection for RIBS begins at 4pm on the day prior to the contest. All meats must be maintained at a maximum temperature of 40 degrees F prior to inspection. Prior to cooking, all meat that is resting in preparation for cooking must be always covered. All ribs must be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F. After cooking all ribs must be maintained at a minimum temperature of 140 degrees F in a covered container until turned in for judging. All contest meat, once inspected, may not leave the cook team’s site until turn in.


Pork Ribs: Spare ribs only, meat on the bone. No country style ribs and no chopped, pulled, or sliced rib meat loose in the box. Spare ribs may be St. Louis Style or full Spare ribs. Teams are required to provide ribs for the contest and must be in their original Cryovac or store packaging prior to the meat inspection.  There is no limit as to how many racks of ribs may be cooked, as long as eight (8) individual ribs are turned in.

Ribeye Steak: The contest Organizer will provide the steaks for the competition, 2 ribeye steaks per team, selected by random draw for the first steak and reverse order for the 2nd steak.


COOKING FUELS – The only approved cooking media for RIBS are wood, charcoal, or wood pellets. Gas of any kind or any electrical heating element may be used only to start the initial fire or to start burn barrels, charcoal chimneys, etc. A gas starter, gas flame, or electrical heating element may not be used in the cooker after the meat has entered the cooker or during the cooking process. Gas bottles must be disconnected from the cooker once the fire has started and must be removed from the immediate cooking area. A gas flame or electrical heating element may not be used in the cooker during any part of the cooking process.

APPROVED COOKERS – Any wood, charcoal, or wood pellet fired cookers homemade or commercially manufactured, will be allowed to be used in FBA contests. Electric or manual operated rotisseries or rotating shelves are permitted during the cooking process. Electric or manual operated wood, charcoal, or wood pellet augers are permitted during the cooking process. Electric or manually operated power draft devices are permitted during the cooking process. No electric, gas, wood, charcoal or wood pellet fryers are permitted during the RIB cooking process.  Frying with any form of fat, butter, or any type of oil is prohibited.

JUDGING – FIF allows for blind judging only. Entries will be submitted in an approved container, with NO garnish, or decorating of any kind. Only the entry to be judged is allowed in the container. Marking of any kind will disqualify the entry. Each entry will be judged on PRESENTATION, TASTE / FLAVOR, and TENDERNESS / TEXTURE. Meat may be sauced or un-sauced. A minimum of 8 separate and identifiable portions must be submitted.

SCORING – Each RIB entry will be scored by six (6) judges in the areas of PRESENTATION, TASTE / FLAVOR, and TENDERNESS / TEXTURE. Scoring ranges from a low of 5.0 to a high of 10.0 in increments of .5 points for each category. The maximum score for an entry is 180 points. Any entry that is disqualified for being turned in after the designated time or not turned in shall receive a score of zero (0) for all three categories: appearance, taste, and tenderness. Any entry that is disqualified for any other reason shall receive a score of two (2) for all three categories from all six judges at that table.

DISQUALIFICATION – An entry can be disqualified by the FIF Representative only. An entry can be disqualified for any of the following reasons:

a)     There is evidence of marking or sculpting. Marking is defined as: any handwritten or mechanically made mark inside or outside the turn-in box that identifies the submitting team to any judge. Sculpting is defined as: the carving, decorating, forming, or shaping of a meat entry contained in a turn-in box that identifies the submitting team to any judge.

b)     There is anything in the box besides the meat.

c)     There are not a minimum of 8 separate and identifiable portions.

d)     There is evidence of blood such that the meat is uncooked.

e)     The entry is turned in after the officially designated time.

f)     Gloves are not used while handling food products.

g)     Not cooking the meat that was inspected.

h)     All competition entry boxes must be placed on the turn in table with label up.   Any box loaded upside down by the team may be submitted for judging.   Teams are not permitted to modify the box in any way from its original configuration as provided by the contest REPS, including moving the label.  Upon inspection by the Reps, if the label has been moved to the opposite side (bottom)of the box, the team will be DQ’d for modifying the box and the Judges will be instructed to score a (2) in each category for that entry.  If the label is on the correct lid and the box must be turned over to have the label showing, the only score affected will be presentation.

i)     Posting pictures, videos, or description of a team’s turn in boxes to social media or to a judge that is judging the contest before the awards ceremony.


Steaks will be distributed to cook teams on Saturday morning at the cooks meeting. The meeting will begin at 7:30 a.m.

Steak may be cooked on any fire or heat source. (Wood, Charcoal, Gas, Electric, Pellet, sous vide etc.)

Steak cooks may only register once per competition and must cook their own steaks.

No other ribeye steaks other than the ones provided to the teams by the promoters are to be present at cook sites.

Steaks may be lightly trimmed before, but not after cooking.

Steaks may not be marked or branded in any way. (Grill marks are not considered marking).

Turn in one steak, whole and uncut, on top of the provided foil disk. The provided foil disks must be placed in the box, silver side up, and not folded in any way. The steaks will be judged as presented in the box.

No sauce or garnish is allowed in the steak turn in box. A compound butter is allowed, as long as it is melted on the steak.

Placement of the steak and inspection for foreign objects is the team’s duty, the boxes will not be opened at the turn in table.

There are no size standards for the seasonings on the steak.

Pooling of NATURAL juices in the box is acceptable.

Steaks are judged on the following categories, with a maximum of 10 points per category with a range of 5-10, with increase by .5 increments: Appearance, Doneness (Medium), Texture, Taste, and Overall Impression, with a maximum score of 50.9 (there are bonus points for the taste category) for each steak entry from each Judge. Judges can award between 5 to 10 points for each category. 5’s should be reserved for only the most extreme situations. The taste category has a separate spot for a required bonus score, ranging from 0.1 to 0.9. 

Tie breaker priority order: Taste, Doneness, Texture, Appearance, and Overall Impression.


Any foreign object found in the turn in box. (String, Toothpick, Skewer, etc.)

A steak turned in after the turn in window has expired.

Using ribeye steaks other than the ones provided by the promoter.

Any of the above rule violations


CONTESTANT’S SITE – Each team will be assigned a cook site. All equipment including cooker, canopy, trailer, etc. must be contained within this space. If additional space is required, the team should contact the contest organizer and make satisfactory arrangements.

BEHAVIOR – Every team, including members and guests, are expected, and required to always exhibit proper and courteous behavior. A quiet time will be in effect from 11:00 PM on the night prior to the contest judging, remaining in effect until sunrise on the following day. No alcoholic beverages will be distributed to the General Public. Teams will be informed of all local laws and will adhere to same. Failure to abide by these rules of behavior may result in expulsion from the contest and repeat offenders will be barred from competing in future FIF sanctioned contests.

CLEANLINESS AND SANITATION – All teams are expected to maintain their cook sites in an orderly and clean manner and to use good sanitary practices during the preparation, cooking, and judging process. The use of sanitary gloves is always required while handling food. Failure to use sanitary gloves may result in disqualification. Teams are responsible for cleanup of their site once the competition has ended. All federal, state, and local food safety rules and regulations must be always adhered to. A community ash barrel will be made available to all teams.

JUDGING PROCEDURE – The table captain brings all the boxes to the table. He or she announces the number of the box to be judged, opens that box and checks for rules violations such as marking, insufficient number of samples, etc. All judges score this box for presentation. Each judge then takes a sample and scores this box for taste and tenderness. The table captain makes sure that all scores for that box are recorded before moving on to the next box. This procedure is repeated for boxes 2 through 6. After all the boxes have been scored the table captain will return the boxes to a designated area. The table captain will then collect the judging slips and turn them over to the FIF representative.

WINNERS – The winners in each meat category (Ribs and Steak) will be determined by adding all the scores together and the team with the most points will be 1st. place, the team with the next highest total will be 2nd. place, etc. The GRAND CHAMPION will be the team with the most total points in the meat categories, and the RESERVE CHAMPION will be the team with the second highest total points. To qualify for either GRAND CHAMPION or RESERVE CHAMPION a team must submit entries in both meat categories. Ties in any meat category, grand or reserve champion are allowed. In the event of a tie in a meat category the next lowest rank will be omitted and the tied teams will be awarded the same rank. In the event of tie for grand champion the tied teams will be declared grand champions and there will be no reserve champion. In the event of a tie for reserve champion the tied teams will be declared reserve champions. Any prize money for the tied rank and the next lowest rank will be combined and distributed evenly amongst the tied teams. For example a two way tie for 1st place in Ribs with a $500 prize for 1st place and $250 prize for 2nd place would result in the two teams sharing 1st place and $750; there would be no 2nd place award.

TURN IN TIMES – Chili will have a 30 minute window for turn-in, beginning at 10:30am, allowing for setup of crockpots. The meat category turn in time will allow for a 10 minute window, that is 5 minutes before and 5 minutes after the time as suggested below:

Chili: 11:00 am

Steak: 1:30 PM

Pork Ribs: 2:30PM

AWARDS:  4:00PM 

HEAD COOKS – A cook team may designate two different individuals to be “head cooks”. Once two cooks have been designated as “head cooks” for that team, they may not be named “head cooks” for any other team.

MULTIPLE TEAMS – No team shall be permitted to cook at the same contest as two separate teams using the same team name. 


Must be kept hot (over 140 degrees) in a crockpot, can be served with any garnishments that the contestant wants to provide, but the Judges will have discretion to add or not add toppings.  The Judges will have 5 tickets/tokens and can vote all together or can separate out the votes.  Chili can be meat or vegetarian based, and if spicy, needs to be designated as such for the Judges’ information.   Judges will be required to taste all of the chili entries, even if designated as spicy.  Vegetarian Judges will be quietly escorted out of the building and run out of town.



There are no rules when it comes to Bloody Mary’s, winner take all.  This contest is FREE to enter for the cooking teams.  The samples for tasting will be served in five(5) separate 4-6 oz. cups to the Judges, there will be judging based on two categories, Presentation and Taste, with up to 10 points for Presentation and up to 20 points for Taste.   The contest will start after the cooks meeting (approximately 8:00 am) on Saturday morning, and the Judges will come to each competition site and sample.  The teams do NOT need to make 5 separate entries for PRESENTATION scoring.  If there are any questions about this contest, please speak with the contest organizers. 





Your prep area must be cleaned and contain gloves and sanitizer. This will be verified by a Rep and may be reinspected at any time during the event. Failure to maintain a clean working area will result in a DQ.

Anyone handling meat, whether raw or cooked, must wear gloves.

Only one member from each team will be allowed to attend the cooks meeting. This is where any local rules will be discussed. You are responsible for abiding by these rules so please make sure someone from your team is present.

Teams will not be allowed to gather at or near the turn in tables while waiting for turn ins.

Clean gloves and a mask will be required to be worn by anyone who is turning in boxes.

A mask will be strongly required at any indoor meeting where social distancing is not possible.

Each team will supply their own sanitizer. Quat Ammonia is the preferred sanitizer but whatever you chose, please make sure it is tasteless and odorless.


Judges will be required to wear a face mask any time social distancing is not an option.

Two tables will be used to allow greater distance between judges.


Table Captains will wear a mask at all times that they are in the judging area.

Table Captains will ensure that their table is sanitized between categories. They can appoint someone to do this job, as long as they verify that it is done.

Table Captains will have a designated area to sit away from the judging table to best allow social distancing when not working.


A mask must be worn any time social distancing is not possible.



Volunteers in the turn in area will be limited to FIF Members only. Volunteers will be kept to a minimum.

A mask must be worn at all times.

Prize categories for Florida in February:

Overall Winner

Grand Champion:                          $1000 – Trophy

Reserve Grand Champion:          $500 – Trophy

3rd Place:                                         $250 – Trophy



1st Place:  $250 and a ribbon

2nd Place: $100 and a ribbon

3rd Place: $50 and a ribbon


Pork Ribs

1st Place:  $500 and a ribbon

2nd Place: $250 and a ribbon

3rd Place: $100 and a ribbon



1st Place:  $500 and a ribbon

2nd Place: $250 and a ribbon

3rd Place: $100 and a ribbon



1st Place:  To Be Determined

2nd Place: To Be Determined

3rd Place: To Be Determined

Overnight stays on Friday 2/18 are allowed, but there is no onsite security.  Contestants can arrive to set up as early as 3pm on Friday, 2/18.   A limited amount of power is available in the cook areas. Please notify us if you need power for your cook area. If you have a separate camper/RV, a limited amount of power hook ups are available and must be requested in advance. All teams are provided a space to compete in, approximately 30 x 20 (or three normal parking spaces). We will provide a limited amount of water bibs for teams to use to clean and keep their sanitary needs at their booths. Please bring at least a 100’ hose and nozzle/bib for water to run to your site as needed. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the event organizers via email at or via cell phone at 386-527-4115 (call or text).

By purchasing you are confirming that you have read the rules of the Florida in February Barbeque Contest.

Win Cash Prizes!

Grand Champion $1000

Contestants will compete in a blind tasting for BEST Pork Ribs, Ribeye Steak, and Chili.

Contestants in the Chili contest must be registered, paid, and submit an entry for either or both of the Ribs or Ribeye contests. Contestants must be 18 or older.