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**The MWBA contest rules are general in nature and are common sense and close to the 298 rule. The 298 rule is 98% of people will do the right thing by themselves. All rules are created for the other 2%. The final word is always that of the Midwest Barbecue Association (MWBA) Representative that is working the contest.**

The MWBA will make cooler inspections upon arrival of a contest to look for outside meat.  You can bring outside meat for lunch as long as it is NOT a meat category being cooked for the contest.  Ex.  If ribs is a judged meat that day then you can NOT bring in ribs.  All meat for the contest will be supplied by the MWBA.



-At all times, you must keep all food products either hot or cold. This applies to contests and serving products.

-Every team shall have a cleaning system that includes bleach water. It is highly recommended that disposable containers be used when possible.

-Every cook team must have a Class 5 ABC or greater fire extinguisher at their site.

-Absolutely No Smoking in the cooking area.


-Each team may have as many cooks as they want. But each person can only be on one team that day.

-Each team is required to send a minimum of one person to the cooks meeting. No exceptions!

-Cooks meeting time will be announced upon your arrival at the event, or shortly thereafter.


Turn in’s

-Turn in times will be announced at the cook's meeting or on the MWBA Facebook page. The window is 5 minutes before and 5 minutes after the posted time. For example; if the turn-in time is 11:30, you will have from 11:25 until 11:35 to have that category turned into the table captain.

-You must use the box you have been given by the MWBA representative.



We have moved to a 1 to 10 scale for judging…1 being lowest, 10 the highest.


1. Disqualified (Must have approval from contest rep)

2. Inedible (ex. Raw Chicken)

3. Really Bad

4. Bad

5. Poor

6. Below Average

7. Average

8. Above Average

9. Very Good

10. Excellent- Doesn't mean perfect


MWBA sanctioning allows for double-blind judging. Entries will be submitted only in the containers provided by the MWBA representative. Garnish is optional. If you choose to garnish your box the only allowed garnish is kale. If you choose to not use a garnish, the MWBA will issue you tin foil to use. Any other type of garnish will result in automatic disqualification in that category. Any “Marking” of the turn-in container is prohibited and will call for disqualification for that category. Each entry will be judged on Presentation, Taste/Flavor, and Tenderness/Texture. Meat can be sauced or un-sauced, but no pooling of sauce is allowed in the bottom of the container. A minimum of 6 separate and identifiable portions or pieces must be submitted for each meat category by each team for judging.

The MWBA uses a proprietary judging/scoring system that is used for all sponsored events in order to ensure fairness to everyone competing in the event; regardless if they are a member or simply a local in the area that wants to compete. All meat categories designated by a Contest Coordinator will be judged (this includes mystery meat).


*We use cellphone time for turn-in schedules, so please use your cell phones for the time of day. All cell phones are on the same time schedule.



-All fires/heat sources must be contained.

-No open pits, ground fires, etc. (Wood, gas, pellets, charcoal, etc. are all acceptable for use).

-Keep your cook site clean. You must leave your area like you found it or better.



BBQ and cold beer seem to go hand-in-hand. Remember the 298 rule above? We will let the common sense of the majority rub off on the other 2%. Keep the alcohol on the down-low as many of these events are family-oriented and many folks like coming out to the cook sites to visit. Depending on the event, the area approved for sale and consumption of alcohol may not envelop the cook sites. Please try to patronize the event sponsor with all or part of your alcohol purchase, but always keep it out of sight when you are competing outside of the approved consumption area. The Event Organizer’s liquor license is at stake should there become any issues with consumption outside of the approved area. If the contest asks you not to bring in your own alcohol, please respect this decision.


In order to be considered to be invited to the end of the year finals for a payout, you will be required to attend one contest in the current season. If you do not, you WILL NOT be able to participate in the finals.


Fine Print

If you feel you have been treated unfairly please talk to the rep working the contest. If that doesn't resolve the issue, you have the right to file a complaint with the MWBA President in writing. That will be reviewed by the Board of Directors within 7 days and you will have their resolution/answer within 14 days. Remember all MWBA members and most event organizers are all volunteers. Our goal as the MWBA is to help our nonprofit organizations or community groups to profit and/or raise funds for their respective groups. Each contest organizer may choose to add, change or amend these rules. These changes would be announced at the cook's meeting day of that contest. Thank you for participating in the MWBA Events and if you are interested in cooking in more events, we are always looking to add new members. Please consider joining our organization and becoming part of the MWBA family. Reach out to the MWBA rep for more information on how to join. We’re all here to share our passion for great BBQ, help those starting out in competitive BBQ, and just have a fun time coming together to compete.

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