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Looking for help, suggestions to organize a friendly, social competition

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    Looking for help, suggestions to organize a friendly, social competition

    Greetings. I am looking for suggestions and guidance on how to organize a bbq/grilling competition for my country club. This would not be a fund raiser, just a social event. I envision having club members pay an entry fee to compete (ie, amatuer cooks), and other members or general public purchase tickets to eat as much as they want from the food prepared by the competitors. The people purchasing the tickets to eat would then vote on the award categories.

    Issues I foresee are:

    1) how to ensure the food is done on time!
    2) how to structure entry fees and who pays for the food that gets cooked
    3) how to ensure food safety in prep and holding cooked food
    4) what food to cook - these are amatuers - briskets, etc., probably not realistic, but everyone can not cook the same thing or there will be less incentive to purchase tickets. So I am thinking things like pulled pork, and general grilled items like chicken, etc. So, not necessarily a true low and slow smoking competition, but really just any grilled food, for several reasons: i) variety of food to generate more ticket sales; ii) keep it open to less skilled cooks; iii) minimize risk that the food is not done in time...iv) this is primarily intended to be a social event, the cooking part is just the entertainment, so to speak.
    5) need ideas for prize categories, with emphasis on creative, fun prizes
    5) insurance liability issues
    6) government regulations - the country club is a restaurant, would contestants need to jump thru regulatory hoops to prepare and sell food? if so, this is probably a no -go from the start.

    Any one out there doing anything like this and willing to share info? Or, can you direct me to some on-line sources where I can get more info?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
    Last edited by BobG; April 19, 2015, 08:39 AM.

    BobG if you haven't read these articles yet, give 'em a go-thru. Meathead's article on Party Planning, and the one on Starting a Catering Business. I realize you're not talking about a catering business, but it discusses valuable things to keep in mind when feeding the public (those who aren't your pals & family and who could be sue-happy).

    I think these two articles will highlight some valuable points to help with your plans.


      What you're looking for is a one-day event, it sounds like. Brisket and pork butt are out, because that's an overnight cook! If you want to sanction (and that takes lots of the planning out of it -- the plan is already there!), look at KCBS backyard (chicken and ribs only), IBCA just sanctioned a chicken and ribs only contest in Texarkanana (which surprised me!) and SCA is a steak contest.

      Sounds to me like you want a peoples choice type thing. I'd do it in a central area, where cooks deliver their food and food is sample by the ticket-buying public. The entry that gets the most "best" tickets wins. This means that the judging is blind and the competition can't be bought or swayed by popularity of the cook. Let the cooks decide what to cook under meats. Fowl could be pulled chicken, wings, etc. Ribs are spare, loin or country-style. The country club could do sides and sell this as a full meal deal. Buy 3 meat sample tickets with the meal and get one "best" ticket for the sampler to declare which meat was preferred. Make sense?


        Thank you Sue, that makes excellent sense, and moved me forward on the logistics side. We aren't looking for certification (yet!) as this is just a social event for members, If t takes off who knows what the future decides. But I will check those sites to see if I can pilfer any helpful info.

        Huskee, thanks for pointing out MH's article s. Very informative. We are already in contact with the state and our insurance agent (if we can't get coverage for this then it is a no go for obvious reasons!)



          I organized a couple of these with a club I belong to. We did it as a fundraiser but still some of the same things apply.
          Meat: We did pork butts/pulled pork and bbq chicken (pulled/shredded) The club purchased the meats.
          Sides: Potato Salad, Baked Beans, Slaw. The club purchased and/or made the sides.
          The club also purchased the condiments, paper goods, etc...

          We made this an evening event so most of the guys were firing up smokers around 6:00 a.m. give or take a little. We set a 5:00 p.m. turn in and only judged the pulled pork. The chicken was just as an option for those who didn't like pork (apparently there are a few people) The dinner started at 5:30 or 6:00 that night for the members. They paid a $xx.xx donation and they received a few tickets that they could use to vote. We had both blind judging using some members (one of which use to be a certified Memphis in May judge) of the club and also a taster's choice.

          We used the money to cover the cost of the food, pay for a band we had as entertainment that night, and the rest went towards one of our charitable funds.

          As far as the competitors- We gave them each 2 boston butts to smoke and then (as I am sure you will find) there were one or two guys with considerably larger smokers that cooked some extra butts to ensure that we had enough food for everyone. A few different guys chipped in and also cooked the chicken the last few hours.

          Prize: I think the top winner got their membership paid for and there were some small prizes for those who placed. One of our members made a plaque that had a metal pig mounted on it and the winners got their name on the plaque and they just kept adding to it. We were going to do a traveling trophy too but that fell through.

          We didn't really have any issues with the liability insurance as our club's policy has some provisions in it for events as part of regular business. We also did this as a donation instead of a set dollar amount although I think we asked for at least a $10 donation. We saved over some of the leftovers for a meeting a couple nights later, sent some to the local firehouse, and some people made donations to take some tubs of leftover bbq home with them.

          I would recommend looking at the KCBS rules that they have posted and get some ideas on setting some ground rules. And as always have FUN!


            Thanks Nate. Very helpful!



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