Chicago Kosher BBQ Competition

Rules & Regulations

The Chicago Kosher BBQ Competition, in addition to being a strictly Kosher event, is sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS).  The following rules have been outlined to ensure compliance with all Kosher dietary laws and official KCBS terms and procedures.

The decision and interpretations of the KCBS Rules and Regulations are at the discretion of the KCBS Contest Representatives at the contest. Their decisions and interpretations are final to the extent consistent with the rules.

The competition will be held Sunday, June 10, 2018 at the Greater Chicago Jewish Culture Fest at St. Paul Woods, Cook County Forest Preserve.
Your team’s spot will not be held until your registration form is completed and we receive your payment of $250 via PayPal. Team registration is first come first serve and space is limited to 10 teams. There will be NO refunds for cancellation.

Each team shall consist of a chief cook and as many assistants as the chief cook deems necessary. A team shall not compete in more than one KCBS sanctioned contest under the same team name, on the same date. Chief cooks and/or assistant cooks may only cook for their designated team at the contest they are attending.

Each team will be assigned a cooking space. Pits, cookers, props, trailers, motor homes, vehicles, tents or any other equipment (including generators) shall not exceed the boundaries of the team’s assigned cooking space. All seasoning and cooking of product shall be done within the assigned cooking space. Teams shall not share an assigned cooking space or cooking device.

Contestants must adhere to all electrical, fire, and other codes. A fire extinguisher shall be near all cooking devices.

It is the responsibility of the contestant to see that the team’s assigned cooking space is clean and orderly following the contest. It is imperative that clean-up be thorough. Any team’s assigned cooking space left in disarray or with loose trash, other than at trash containers, may disqualify the team from future participation at KCBS sanctioned events.

Fires shall be of wood, wood pellets or charcoal. Gas and electric heat sources shall not be permitted for cooking or holding. Teams can only use the smokers/grills provided by the organizer. Fires shall not be built on the ground.

Parboiling, Sous-vide, and/or deep-frying competition meat is not allowed. If any of the banned processes are discovered before the team turns in, the team will receive zeros. If discovered after turn-in, the team will receive (1) ones in all criteria for that entry.

Meat shall not be sculptured, branded or presented in a way to make it identifiable. Rosettes of meat slices are not allowed. Violations of this rule will be scored a one (1) on all criteria by all six judges.

Competition categories include:

CHICKEN: Chicken Thighs, can be turned in however you want

RIBS: Beef Ribs shall include the bone

TURKEY: Bone in turkey breast is being provided, can be turned in however you want

BEEF BRISKET: May be whole brisket, flat, or point. Corned beef is not allowed.


Times are subject to change and will be confirmed at the Cooks Meeting. An entry will be judged only at the time established by the contest organizer. The allowable turn-in time will be five (5) minutes before to five (5) minutes after the posted time with no tolerance. A late turn-in will receive a 1 (one) in all criteria.

Approximate judging schedule (subject to change)

CHICKEN 1:30 pm

RIBS 2:00 pm

TURKEY 2:30pm


This is a no-garnish competition. One piece of aluminum foil to cover the bottom of the box is permitted.

Sauce is optional. If used, it shall be applied directly to the meat and not be pooled or puddled in the container. No side sauce containers will be permitted in the turn-in container. Chunky sauce will be allowed. Chunks are to be no larger than a fine dice, approximately 1/8 inch cubed. Sauce violations shall receive a score of one (1) on appearance.

Entries will be submitted in an approved KCBS numbered container, provided by the contest organizer. The number must be on top of the container at turn-in. The container shall not be marked in any way so as to make the container unique or identifiable. Aluminum foil, toothpicks, skewers, foreign material, and/or stuffing are prohibited in the container. Marked entries or containers with the above listed material will receive a one (1) in all criteria from all Judges.

Each contestant must submit at least six (6) portions of meat in an approved container. Chicken and Turkey can be bone in or out, and Brisket may be submitted chopped, pulled, sliced, or diced as the cook sees fit, as long as there is enough for six (6) judges. Ribs shall be turned in bone-in. Judges may not cut, slice, or shake apart to separate pieces. If there is not enough meat for each judge to sample, the shorted judge(s) will score a one (1) on all criteria, and the judges having samples will change the appearance score to one (1).

If product is turned in and is disqualified, it receives a one (1) in all criteria. If the team does not turn in a product or is disqualified and not allowed to turn in, that team’s category is not judged and receives no score. If a product is turned in and then disqualified for late turn in, no bone in ribs, etc., it is not judged and will receive a one (1) in all criteria.

Judging Procedures

Entries will be submitted in an approved KCBS numbered container provided by the contest organizer. The container will be renumbered by the KCBS Contest Rep or authorized personnel before being presented to the judges. Judges may not fraternize with teams on turn-in day until conclusion of judging.

Judging will be done by a team of 6 persons, who are at least 16 years of age. Only Judges, Contest Reps and necessary support staff are allowed in judging area during the judging process. No other activities are permitted in the judging area, during judging process.

Each judge will first score all the samples for appearance of the meat. The turn-in containers will then be passed around the table and each judge will place a sample from each of the containers in the appropriate box on the judging plate. Judges shall not lick their fingers while taking these samples; paper towels, non-scented wipes or damp wash cloths are preferred. The judge will then score each entry for taste and tenderness, before moving on to the next entry.


The scoring system is from 9 to 2, all whole numbers between two and nine may be used to score an entry. 9 excellent, 8 very good, 7 above average, 6 average, 5 below average, 4 poor, 3 bad, and 2 inedible. A score of one (1) is a disqualification and requires approval by a Contest Rep. Grounds for disqualification:

All judges will give a one (1) in appearance for unapproved garnish, pooled sauce or less than 6 samples of meat. All judges will give a one (1) in all criteria for sculptured meat, a marked turn-in container, foreign object in the container, incorrect meat. All judges not receiving a sample will give a one (1) in all criteria.

The weighting factors for the point system upon deployment of KCBS Score will be

Appearance – .5600

Taste – 2.2972

Tenderness – 1.1428

The low score will be thrown out. Results will be tallied.

If there is a tie in one of the categories, it will be broken by the computer, as follows: The scores will be compared (counting all five judges) for the highest cumulative scores in taste, then tenderness, then appearance. If still tied, then the low score, which was thrown out, will be compared and the higher of the low scores will break the tie. If still tied, then a computer generated coin toss will be used.

In the event of lost, destroyed or missing score cards, the remaining score cards will be averaged in each category and those averages shall be used as the missing scores on replacement score cards. After there are six total score cards the normal procedure will be followed for dropping the low score. These correct scores will be the official scores for any and all KCBS purposes.

Total points per entry will determine the champion within each meat category. Cumulative points for only the four (4) categories will determine the Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion.

Trophies will be awarded to the first, second, and third place winners in the following categories:

Best Chicken

Best Ribs

Best Turkey

Best Brisket

A trophy will also be awarded to the overall Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion.

Cleanliness and safety

No use of any tobacco products while handling meat. Cleanliness of the cook, assistant cooks, cooking device(s) and the team’s assigned cooking space is required.

Shirt and shoes are required to be worn.

After cooking, all meat: Must be held at 140° F or above OR

Cooked meat shall be cooled as follows: Within 2 hours from 140° F to 70° F and within 4 hours from 70° F to 41° F or less.

Teams are responsible for any damage. Teams that damage equipment issued to them by the Chicago Kosher BBQ Competition or Cook County Forest Preserve property will be disqualified.

After turn-ins and prior to awards all teams are required to be checked out by a Chicago Kosher BBQ Competition representative. In order for a team to be successfully checked out the a Chicago Kosher BBQ Competition representative will validate the following:
1. All equipment issued to a team by the Chicago Kosher BBQ Competition has been cleaned and returned
2. All embers and ashes have been disposed of in the appropriate ash disposable area
3. All utensils are rinsed such that they are free of food residue
4. All chairs and tables are wiped down
5. Assigned tent area is free of any trash or food waste
6. No damage has been done to Chicago Kosher BBQ Competition equipment or Cook County Forest Preserve property
Any teams that does not check out prior to awards will be disqualified.

Miscellaneous Rules

Booth sites will measure approximately 10 feet x 10 feet. Your booth must fit within these parameters. Additional space may be available upon request in advance. Please be considerate to your neighbors in adjoining booths. Standard tents measuring approximately 10′ x 10′ will be provided.

Vehicles will not be allowed on the contest grounds from 10:00 am until after the awards ceremony and event closes to the public at approximately 6:00 p.m.

Each team is responsible jointly for its cooks, team members and guests.

Show up on time for all required events.

Be respectful of all other competitors and their booth, equipment, etc.

The Mashgiach (kosher supervisor) has the final word on what is considered kosher.

The KCBS Judging Supervisors have the final word on all judging matters.

Do not fraternize with the judges until after all judging has taken place.

Pets are not allowed on the premises. Service animals are permitted.

Limited non-potable water will be available in one central location, but teams should bring any potable water they need. Please bring sufficient water containers to transport water to your site.

Each team is responsible for removing their trash. Trash receptacles will be available for each team. Dumpsters will also be available on the grounds. Teams will not leave behind litter, ashes, or grease.

Port-a-potties will be available.

The event space will be lit, but electricity will not be available.

Teams may not sell any food, drink, or other items during the event.

The Chicago Kosher BBQ Competition reserves the right to make additional rules and regulations as the situation warrants.

Kosher Supervision

All Kosher qualification and/or disqualification decisions will be made by the Chicago Kosher BBQ Competition on the team meeting day and/or the day of the event.

How do we maintain Kashrut (Kosher) Standards?

We control Kashrut by controlling what comes into the competition. All food items are provided for the teams. Teams order their meats, condiments, spices, and sauces through the BBQ Competition. The competition then purchases glatt kosher meat and ensures that all other ingredients are properly certified. If there is a specific ingredient not on the pick list that a team would like to use, it must be new and unopened and they must gain approval from the Chicago Kosher BBQ Competition before using.

Kosher Guidelines for team “dinner” snacks and beverages

All food, drinks, and snacks brought to the event must be approved. All food items must be in the original package, unopened, with the seal intact. The Mashgiach (kosher supervisor) will be available to check any food items on Saturday night and Sunday morning. All food items must be checked in by the kosher supervisor before getting going at your booth.

While on the competition grounds, please do not bring any food prepared outside of the event.  You may purchase food from the food concessions at the event.  You may bring your own fresh fruit or vegetables but they must not be placed on the grills. You may bring closed and sealed packaged snacks such as potato chips and pretzels, hot dogs steaks etc. only if they have one of the following symbols: OU, OK, Star-K, Kof-K, cRc. If there is also a “D on it, it means it is a dairy product and should not be used at the BBQ.   You may bring non-dairy drinks that has one of the symbols above. These items MUST be cleared by the Mashgiach (Kosher Supervisor) first!!  For a list of approved kosher symbols click HERE. Here is a link to the cRc approved Liquor list

Even if you cook with kosher ingredients, if you use your favorite skewer or fork from home, your meat will not be kosher. This applies even if your home is kosher. Only utensils that are certified as kosher and are used exclusively at the competition are considered to be kosher. As such, you can only use the utensils provided by the competition to prepare and cook your meat. Once prepared, the food is sealed, labeled, and returned to the refrigerators until the teams are ready to begin cooking. Nothing is permitted to leave the premises.

Any ingredients not listed on the official form may be brought into the competition only if it has an approved symbol and is unopened. It must be shown to the Mashgiach (kosher supervisor) for approval before it is used. Failure to maintain these standards will result in disqualification of the entire team. A Mashgiach (kosher supervisor) will be on the premises at all times.


Thursday, June 7th 2018

There will be a cook’s meeting on Thursday, June 7th at 6 p.m. at:

Congregation K.I.N.S.
of West Rogers Park
2800 West North Shore Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60645

Meat selection will take place at this time. At least one team representative must attend this meeting. After the general introduction there will time until 9:00 p.m. to start your prep work such as trimming, making marinades, sauces etc. in and out of the kitchen.

When you arrive to prepare your meat, the ingredients you requested (along with cooking utensils) will be on a table labeled with your name. If you find that you need any additional kitchen items, please let a competition representative know and they will help you find what you need. Do not remove any utensils from the synagogue kitchen. If you do not find everything you need in your stock or on the community table, please ask for help. Do not borrow from other teams’ stock unless they are present and give permission to use some of their ingredients.

After you have finished for the evening, please clean up your work area. It is important that each team clean up after itself so that the teams that follow you will have a clean area in which to work. Committee members will be available to answer questions you may have pertaining to the use of the kitchen equipment or clean-up of the kitchen.

Your sauce, marinated meat, and all other cooked items must be carefully and sealed in the ziplock plastic bags, secured with masking tape and inspected by the Mashgiach before being put into our refrigerator. You will be given a box to store your cooking utensils and all other items you will need for Saturday night/Sunday morning.

Each team will receive the following included in their registration fee of $250.00:

1 Brisket (Full Packer)

15 beef  Ribs

12 Chicken Thighs, bone in

Turkey Breast, Bone in

2 8-foot tables

4 chairs

The ingredients the team selected on the ingredient request form.

1 Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5 Smoker and 1 Weber 22.5 Grill

Each of the following: injector, 6-inch boning knife, 12-inch carving knife, 8-inch chef’s knife, 2 pairs of metal tongs, silicone spatula, silicone brush, sauce mop, large fork, measuring cups, measuring spoons, 2 qt sauce pan, soft shell cooler (large enough to fit 3-4 stacked full foil pans), internal meat thermometer, charcoal chimney starter, a pair of leather protective gloves, 4 disposable cutting boards, 2 aluminum full pans, 4 aluminum half pans (if you need more foil pans you must buy them and bring brand new)

Please bring a NEW box or boxes of plastic protective food handling gloves. If you forget we will sell you a box for $1,000! Kidding, but please bring your own new box!

Kitchen shears, scale, spice grinder,  aluminum foil, plastic wrap, storage cups  and other utensils will be available on the community table.

Teams need to bring their own wood and or Charcoal, the only kosher rule is that you cannot use wood with additional flavor added, key word is added, for example cherry wood is the variety of wood, not a flavor so it’s ok, however, wine barrel wood is added flavor so a NO-GO.

If you want to buy brand new utensils to use you can do so but they need to be in the original unopened packaging and turned in to me before the cooks meeting on the 7th.

Tents, tables, chairs and smokers will be set up outside on Saturday evening. Each booth will be allocated a tent, the smokers, a table and chairs. Please be considerate of your BBQ neighbors and do not remove any smokers or tables from their booth areas.

Saturday, June 9th, After 10:00 p.m.

Smokers will be given out and you may begin setting up your booth. You will be able to ask a mashgiach to start your smokers any time on Saturday, June 9th, after 10:00 p.m. You will be able to stay as late as you want.

Please bring a banner or a sign with your team name so the public will know who you are. At the end of the BBQ, please clean off your tables and surrounding areas. Toss all disposable items in the dumpster and charcoal in the coal bin. Please put all the utensils in your plastic bin and leave it in your booth, and we will pick them up.

We want you to feel comfortable doing what you love so if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask anyone on the BBQ committee for help!

Have fun and good luck!