Current Rules

2017 MWBA Rules & Regulations
1) The decision and interpretations of the MWBA Rules and Regulations are at the discretion of the MWBA Contest Representatives at the contest. Their decisions and interpretations are final to the extent consistent with the rules.
2) Each team shall consist of a chief cook and as many assistants as the chief cook deems necessary. Chief cooks and/or assistant cooks may only cook for their designated team at the contest they are attending.
3) 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 unless otherwise arranged prior.
4) Contestants shall provide all needed equipment, supplies and electricity, except as arranged for in advance. Contestants must adhere to all electrical, fire and other codes. A fire extinguisher shall be near all cooking devices. Fire extinguisher must be of an ABC type and no less than 5 pound capacity. Teams will receive 1 warning for no fire extinguisher. Each team will be allowed 1 warning per MWBA competition year. The team will not be allowed to compete if a fire extinguisher is not provided at an event after that for only that event.
5) It is the responsibility of the contestant to see that the team’s assigned cooking space is clean and orderly following the contest. All fires must be put out, pits filled (if allowed by contest organizer), and all equipment removed from site. 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 MWBA sponsored events.
6) Fires shall be of wood, wood pellets, charcoal, gas and electric heat sources. Electrical accessories such as spits, augers, or forced draft are permitted. No open pits or holes are permitted, except at the election of the contest organizer. Fires shall not be built on the ground.
7) Parboiling, Sous-vide, and/or deep-frying competition meat are 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.
8) 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.
9) Times may vary at any contest. Turn-in times 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.
10) Garnish is optional when allowed at the contest organizers discretion. If used, it is limited to chopped, sliced, shredded or whole leaves of fresh green lettuce, kale, curly parsley, flat leaf parsley and/or cilantro. Endive, red tipped lettuce, lettuce cores and other vegetation are prohibited. Improper garnish shall receive a score of one (1) on Appearance.
11) 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.
12) Entries will be submitted in an approved MWBA numbered container, provided by the contest organizer. The number must be on top of the container at turn-in.
13) 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 unless requested by the organizer in which all teams will be required to use. Marked entries or containers with the above listed material will receive a one (1) in all criteria from all Judges.
14) Each contestant must submit at least six (6) portions of meat in an approved container. Chicken, pork 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).
15) The following cleanliness and safety rules will apply: A. No use of any tobacco products inside the assigned team area or while handling meat. A team will be given 2 warnings. The 3rd violation and each subsequent violation during the competition year will result in disqualification in that contest. B. Cleanliness of the cook, assistant cooks, cooking device(s) and the team’s assigned cooking space is required. C. Shirt and shoes are required to be worn. D. Sanitizing of work area should be implemented with the use of a bleach/water rinse (one cap/gallon of water). Each contestant will provide a separate container for washing, rinsing and sanitizing of utensils. E. First aid is not required to be provided by the contest, except at the election of the contest organizer. F. Prior to cooking, meat must be maintained at 40° F or less. G. 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 H. Meat that is cooked, properly cooled, and later reheated for hot holding and serving shall be reheated so that all parts of the food reach a temperature of at least 165° F for a minimum of 15 seconds.
16) There will be no refund of entry fees for any reason, except at the election of the contest organizer.
CAUSES FOR DISQUALIFICATION & EVICTION of a team, its members and/or guests: A cook team is responsible jointly and severally for its head cook, its team members and its guests. A. Excessive use of alcoholic beverages or public intoxication with a disturbance. B. Serving alcoholic beverages to the general public. C. Use of illegal controlled substances. D. Foul, abusive, or unacceptable language or any language causing a disturbance. E. Excessive noise, including but not limited to that generated from speakers, such as radios, CD players, TVs, public address systems or amplifying equipment, will not be allowed during quiet time, designated to start at 11:00 p.m. on contest nights and will last until 7:00 a.m. unless otherwise determined by the event. F. Fighting and/or disorderly conduct. G. Theft, dishonesty, cheating, use of prohibited meats, or any act involving moral turpitude. H. Use of Deep Fry or other auxiliary heat sources inside the cooking device outside of what is allowed or unless approved prior. I. Violation of any of the MWBA Cook’s Rules above, save and except #9 – 13.
J. Members cannot use pictures or comments from another person’s social media page without their permission. Members cannot post slanderous comments about another member, an event or an event’s judges. Such action will be reviewed by the board for disciplinary actions up to and including expulsion from the MWBA without refunding of membership fee.
Excessive or continued complaints from teams on any of the above rule infractions shall be considered grounds for immediate disqualification from the contest by MWBA Representatives, Organizers and/or Security. In addition, any violation of the above rules shall be reported to the MWBA Board of Directors who may in addition to the above disqualification impose additional penalties upon the team, the head cook, and its members including but not limited to disqualification from competing in MWBA events for a period of time not to exceed five years. All complaints of disturbance or violation of quiet time shall be reported to the Board of Directors.
CLARIFICATION: 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
MWBA sanctioning allows for blind judging only. Entries will be submitted in an approved MWBA numbered container provided to the head cook by the contest representative. The container may be renumbered by the MWBA Contest Rep or authorized personnel before being presented to the judges.
1) Judges may not fraternize with teams on turn-in day until conclusion of judging.
2) 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.
3) 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.
4) 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.
5) 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.
6) 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 six judges) for the highest cumulative scores in taste, then tenderness, then appearance, at this point the lowest score for each contestant will be thrown out and total re-figured to determine placing. If still tied, then this process will be repeated until tie is broken.
6a. 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 MWBA purposes.
7) Total points per entry will determine the champion within each meat category.
8) Cumulative points for only the determined categories will depict the Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion.
EARNING POINTS
Members have 2 ways to earn points for their team. Teams can cook in MWBA sponsored events.  Teams can Rep. MWBA sponsored events and accumulate points to their total and be considered for the Midwest Best BBQ Showdown and end of year Organization Payout. Points can be accumulated starting March 1st until the MWBA final event. Teams may officially begin to accumulate points beginning the day of accepted and confirmed membership. NO SCORES WILL BE ALLOWED FOR POINTS PRIOR TO MEMBERSHIP DATE FOR ANY REASON.
1. MWBA Sponsored events
Teams can compete in sponsored events while being entitled to FULL POINTS. Points will be awarded based on the type of competition and in accordance with the Points System set by the MWBA Board of Directors and provided to you by the board.
2. Non Sponsored (outside) Events
Teams may elect to participate in Non Sponsored events or “Outside” events at their discretion as long as the following criteria are met:
a. Teams will be allowed to compete in and submit scores for points from, (1) non sponsored event per sponsored event that they compete in. example: If a team competes in (2) sponsored events then they are eligible to submit points from (2) non sponsored events.
b. Teams must submit the proper information needed for their non sponsored event to include Event name, Location, Date, Contest Organizer and their contact info, Number of teams Competing, Number of JUDGED categories (people’s choice does not qualify), Team Placing in each category, Team placing over all and signature of Contest Organizer. Forms are available to download and print for the event sponsor to complete. Forms are to be submitted to the MWBA secretary.
c. Non Sponsored event Points must be submitted and received no later than (1) week from the date of the competition they pertain to. NO EXCEPTIONS ALLOWED
d. Team accepts that by participating in a non sponsored event they will only be entitled to HALF POINTS based on the competition and in accordance with the Points System set by the MWBA Board of Directors and provided to you by the board.
3. Representing a MWBA sponsored event
Each team must provide a representative for a minimum of 1 MWBA sponsored event to qualify for the finals. The representative will earn points equal to the average points awarded to all teams at that contest.  (removed at general meeting 2017)
The Four Meat Categories:
CHICKEN: Chicken includes Cornish Game Hen and Kosher Chicken.
(breast, thighs, legs, whole, sliced, chopped or pulled)
PORK RIBS: Ribs shall include the bone. Back loin, Spare or St. Louis.
Country style ribs are prohibited.
PORK: Pork is defined as Boston Butt, Boston Roast, Picnic
and/or Whole Shoulder, weighing a minimum of four (4) pounds
at the time of inspection. After trimming, pork shall be cooked whole
(bone in or bone out), to a temperature of 140F, however, once cooked,
it may be separated and returned to the cooker at the cook’s discretion.
It may be turned in chopped, pulled, chunked, sliced or a combination of any of those.
BEEF BRISKET: May be whole brisket, flat, or point. Corned beef is not allowed.
Other categories: Contest organizers may have other items cooked and/or turned in at the contest. (pork loin, desert, sausage, ect.) Seasonings and ingredients to be supplied by the cooking team and all cooking and baking to be done on site.

New Rules Added in 2017

Mystery Meat Criteria

  • 1) Judges have to be excited to eat it
  • 2) Judges can not gag on it
  • 3) Has to Fall in the BBQ world
  • 4) Has to be able to be cooked “safely” on a bbq pit
  • 5) Has to be presentable
  • 6) In order to have a mystery meat category, there has to be a grocery store within a 10 minute drive.
  • 7) The decision to allow the meat to be judged under MWBA scoring will be up to that contests rep

Disgruntle Members Will be handled in the following way

  • If you act out in a way that gets you kicked out of a contest or if you post things on social media that are deemed derogatory by the MWBA board of directors, you are banned from MWBA contests for the rest of the year and will not be refunded any money
  • If you would like to be reinstated by the MWBA the next year it is up to a vote of members at that years general membership meeting.
  • If this happens twice, your will be asked to leave the MWBA with a lifetime ban.  The MWBA is a fun group but behavior that will embarrass us will not be tollerated.

Scoring

Out of the six judges, the low one will be dropped.