Hosted by: Rotary Club of DeLand

Benefiting: YMCA and Local Charities

Benefiting: YMCA and
Local Charities

Contest Rules

Barbecue Contest

Saturday February 17, 11am - 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, Chicken, and Chili.


  1. 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 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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. A team may share a cooker or grill with any other team with pre-approval of the FIF Contest Organizer.
  1. 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 is available beginning at 4:00 pm on the day prior to the contest. All meat must be maintained at a maximum temperature of 40 degrees F prior to inspection. All contest meat, once inspected, may not leave the cook team’s site until turn in. Prior to cooking, all meat that is resting in preparation for cooking must be always covered.
  • MEAT TEMPERATURE AT TURN IN-All meats must be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F.  After cooking all meat must be maintained at a minimum temperature of 140 degrees F in a covered container until turned in for judging. 



  1. 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.
  2. Chicken- wings, thighs, or breast meat is acceptable, if there is a minimum of 8 separate and identifiable pieces of the particular type of meat. 




PORK RIBS:         $100.00

CHICKEN:             $100.00

CHILI:                   $75.00 (CHILI ONLY TEAMS)

                             $50.00 (TEAMS ENTERED IN ANOTHER CATEGORY)      


  • COOKING FUELS – The only approved cooking media for RIBS and CHICKEN 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 or CHICKEN 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 and CHICKEN 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.




PREPARATION-Chili Entries can be prepared ahead of time, they do not need to be cooked on-site. 

BLIND JUDGING-Chili entries will be submitted to the Judging table in two (2) 16 oz containers provided by the contest organizer.  Nothing other than chili should be in the bowls, and the judges will rate the entry on taste, texture, color, aroma, and after-taste, with 10 points possible for each category for a maximum of 50 points.  All of the Chili Judges will sample all of the Blind Judging Entries.

ON SITE JUDGING(PRESENTATION)-Must be kept hot (over 140 degrees), can be 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 up to 10 points to award for on-site presentation.  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.   There will be two judges assigned to each team for on-site Judging




PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD-This is a category that is open to any team that wants to participate.  It does not cost the team anything to enter, but you must be prepared to provide samples to the public.  We will be selling a limited number of people’s choice tickets, and the public can be given samples of chili, or any of the BBQ items for them to cast their vote.  This is a category that can rely on the presentation as well as the product to win votes!


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. 


  1. 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.
  1. 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. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. WINNERS – The winners in each meat category (Ribs and Chicken) 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 at least one of the 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.
  1. TURN IN TIMES – Chili will have a 15 minute window for turn-in, beginning at 11:45am. The Chicken, and Rib 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, and the meats will be judged in the order that they are submitted to the judging table.
  • Chili: 12:00 PM for Blind Judging (*On-Site Judging for Chili will begin at 11:15PM)
  • Chicken: 2:00 PM
  • Ribs: 3:00 PM
  • AWARDS: 4:30 PM 
  1. 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.
  1. MULTIPLE TEAMS – No team shall be permitted to cook at the same contest as two separate teams using the same team name. 


Prize categories for Florida in February:

Overall Winner

Grand Champion:                      $1000 – Trophy

Reserve Grand Champion:          $500  – Trophy

3rd Place:                                $250  –  Trophy

People’s Choice Winner:            $500  –  Trophy


Chili Champion

$250 and a plaque


Pork Ribs Winner

$250 and a plaque


Chicken Winner

$250 and a plaque





Overnight stays on Friday 2/16 are allowed, but there is no onsite security.  Contestants can arrive to set up as early as 3pm on Friday, 2/10.   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 BBQ teams are provided a space to compete in, approximately 30 x 20 (or three normal parking spaces). All Chili-Only teams will be provided a table with power access (3-4 contestants per table), please be prepared to provide a tent.  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, Chicken, and Chili.

Contestants must be 18 or older.