IBCA Rules

IBCA_sm_trThe purpose of the IBCA as stated in Article II of the IBCA Constitution is “to develop and bolster equitable competitive barbeque cooking internationally”. The entire concept of our organization is to standardize the cook-offs internationally.  Referring to the introduction paragraph, “Rules, why have them,” it states that we feel when IBCA rules, procedures, policies and guidelines are followed, that it provides the best on any given day will be recognized.  The sixteen (16) rules set by IBCA are designed to be utilized in conjunction with the stated cook-off and judging procedures, policies, and guidelines.

IBCA Rules

1.         COOKED ON SITE – All meats will be cooked on-site.  The preparation and completion

(excluding pre-trimming) of any and all meats in competition is within the confines of the cook-off site and during the time limits designated by the promoter.  IBCA recommends that competition meat be subject to inspection at cook-offs by the Promoter or his representative.

Pre-Trimming – Competition meat may be removed from the store packaging and pre-trimmed unless there is a health department rule requiring that all meat must be in store packaging when meat is inspected.  If this is an issue, it must be made clear on the cook-off flyer so that all cooks attending an event know about this ahead of time.

2.         SANITATION – Cooks are to prepare and cook in as sanitary manner as is possible.

Cooking conditions are subject to inspection by the Promoter.  Infractions identified by the judging committee shall be immediately corrected or the cook will be subject to disqualification.

3.         ENTRIES PER PITIBCA recognizes only one entry (one chief cook) will cook on a
given pit.  It will be the responsibility of the Promoter to monitor entries. Notwithstanding, multiple entries in the same category by the same cook or from the same pit, or multiple entries from the same piece of meat shall not be allowed.  Pit should be of a permanent design that contains separate individual cooking chambers and heat sources. (no sharing of heat sources)

With the exception of Junior or Kid’s Cook-offs, contestants must be 18 years of age to   participate for cash prizes.

4.         BBQ PITS

PIT – Any commercial or homemade, trailered or untrailered, pit or smoker normally used for competitive barbeque.  A BBQ Pit may include gas or electricity for starting the

combustion of wood or wood products but NOT to complete cooking.   Pit should be of a permanent design that contains separate individual cooking chambers and heat sources. (no sharing of heat sources)

BYC (Backyard Cooker) – any cooking device by design or nature that is inherently

portable and by design is intended for recreational cooking.

5.         OPEN FIRESIBCA further recognizes that open fire, ground pits, are used in some

areas.  It is in the interest of safety, a barrier shall be placed around said open fire pit.

A fire extinguisher shall be readily available.

6.         CATEGORIES – Promoters shall advise contestants in advance of applicable   meat categories and/or cuts of meats and/or types of cookers.


The following categories are recognized by the IBCA:

Beef Brisket

Pork Spare Ribs

Chicken – one half (1/2) fully jointed domestic chicken with skin that includes a breast, wing with tip (visible not tucked under), thigh, and drumstick.  (No Cornish Game Hens)

Pork – Butt and/or Shoulder

Open – Meats other than those listed above.

Dessert – This should be a separate category and the promoter should specify if  it should be cooked on site, on the pit, or can be cooked at home, to be entered.

Beans – Dry Pinto Beans – cooked on site.  (Nothing larger than the bean to be   put into the turn-in cup.


7.         DOUBLE NUMBER SYSTEMIBCA requires that the secret, double number system be used.  This system assures a fair competition and is a fundamental tenet of the IBCA.

IBCA requires that two tickets bearing the same number be utilized, one firmly attached to the top of the judging tray in a manner which hides the number and the other ticket easily removed by the Head Cook for retention after signing the Head Cook’s name in front of an IBCA representative.

Winning numbers will not be revealed until time to announce each place in each category.  At that time the secret numbers attached to the tray/cup will be removed and announced. After the ticket is pulled, the tray and its contents will immediately be discarded.

8.         JUDGING TRAYSIBCA recommends the use of a Styrofoam tray with hinged lid and   without dividers or the best readily available judging container, which is approximately  9 inches square on the bottom half. (i.e. Dart 95HT1 or GenPak 200 or Gen Pak 270 for 2 chicken halves)   A single sheet of aluminum foil should be supplied for each tray (i.e.  Reynolds 710 foil sheets 9”x10”).  All judging containers shall be clean and free of any markings.  Marked containers may be disqualified at the Head Judge’s discretion.

Cooks are responsible for insuring that the containers they receive remain clean and undamaged.


9.         JUDGING TRAY CONTENTS IBCA requires that the Promoter and/or Head Judge   advise all cooks of the exact quantities and cuts of meat that will be placed in the

judging trays.  This will normally be accomplished at the Cook’s meeting.  The Head Judge or designated representative will inspect all trays at the time of turn-in in order

to assure compliance with the turn-in criteria.  All garnishes and condiments are prohibited, as they do not reflect the true quality of the cooked meat.  Meats may

be cooked with sauces and/or other liquids, but once the cooking is complete, sauces  and/or liquids may not be added once put into tray.   NO PUDDLING IN BOTTOM

            OF TRAY.

Recommended amounts are as follows:

Brisket  seven (7) full slices, approximately 1/4″ to 3/8”thick All blocking must be done before cooking.  The fat cap may be trimmed or cut away before the slices are placed into the tray.

Pork Spare Ribs         seven (7) individual cut ribs (bone in) (St. Louis Cut acceptable)  Ribs must be placed in the tray TOP side up lying parallel to the

Chicken   1/2 fully jointed chicken (to include breast, wing with tip (visible not tucked under), thigh and drumstick.  SKIN ON (No Cornish Game Hens)

Pork Pulled.

If the event has 50+ teams, turn-in quantities shall be two (2) 1/2 chickens, 9 pork spare ribs, and 9 slices of brisket shall be submitted for judging or at the Head Judge’s discretion.

10.       TURN-IN TIMES –   Once this time is set and/or announced at the Head Cooks meeting no change will be made.  A turn-in window of ten (10) minutes before and after the set turn-in time will be recognized.  Judging trays received after that time will not be accepted for judging. Ten minutes and one second is considered after the set turn-in time.

11.       TERMS FOR DISQUALIFICATION – After the tray has been turned in, any tray  found to be in violation of the IBCA rules will be disqualified at the discretion of

the Head Judge.  Disqualified tray numbers will be called out immediately following the category announcements.

12.       JUDGES –Must be 18 years of age or older to judge.

                     IBCA recommends that a minimum of five (5) judges per table be utilized during the initial judging.  Subsequent levels of judging should utilize a minimum of seven (7) and                      a maximum of nine (9) judges per table   HEAD COOKS are prohibited to participate as judges.   NO SMOKING IN THE JUDGING AREA.

13.       JUDGING QUANTITY – Judges will assign a score from 1 to 10 for each tray.

A maximum of twenty (20) trays or containers should be assigned to each judging table.  Judges should not be required to sample and judge in excess of this number during any event.  It is recommended that a predetermined number of top results from each preliminary judging table be sent on to the subsequent levels of judging.

14.       ANNOUNCING WINNERSIBCA recommends that announcements of winners be based on the number competitors in each category.  (Example: Cook-off with

ten (10) or more entries, announce the top ten (10) plus final table numbers only.  It is recommended that more than one person verify the ticket numbers.

If the number of entries is less than ten (10), announce all places.  In the interest of recognizing winners announce these places regardless of prizes or trophies

being awarded.

15.       PRIZESIBCA states that a Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion be named at every cook-off.  In the event of a tie for Grand Champion, brisket will be the first tie                  breaker, followed by ribs, chicken, and then pork

16.      Promoters Cooking in own contests:   For the sake of contest fairness, IBCA prohibits promoters from cooking in their own contest.