BBQ Rules

  • 4:30 p.m. Fajitas
  • 6 p.m. Seafood
  • 12 p.m. Chicken
  • 1:30 p.m. Ribs
  • 3 p.m. Chef's Choice
  • 4:30 p.m. Brisket
  • 6 p.m. Wild Game

NEW FOR 2017:

  1. Friday night turn in for the Fajita and Seafood categories.
  2. Chicken entries will now be a fully jointed half bird.
  3. Larger containers for Ribs and Chicken turn in categories.
  4. Wild Game entries must fall into one of the following categories – Venison, Fowl, or Hog.
  5. Containers must have one sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom of turn ins for all categories except Chef’s/Ladies Choice.



1. Pier 21 and its surrounding area are privately owned by GPM, Inc. and have graciously donated this property for use of this festival. The utmost respect must be given to the property, waterfront, vegetation, tenants and guests in the harbor area.

2. Each cooking team will consist of one chief cook and no more than nine assistants regardless of how many spaces purchased, and will provide all pit/ pits, tents, meats, utensils and any other items necessary for competition to be in the confines of their assigned cooking area. Sharing pits with other teams is not allowed.

3. Yaga’s Children’s Fund does NOT condone the harvesting or preparation of any meat/ wild game entry that is protected by the Endangered Species Act. If you have any questions regarding your proposed entry please contact the event committee prior to the competition.

4. All pits, fencing, trailers, tents (including poles and cables), motor homes and generators must fit in the confines of your assigned space(s).
5. All fires must be of wood, charcoal or wood pellets and must be contained within a confined pit/ grill. Gas flames or electric temperature controls are not permitted for competition, nor are holes or dug pits. A small gas torch is allowed to initially start a wood fire in a cooker, however, after the wood/ charcoal is sufficiently ignited the torch must be put away and not used for the duration of the contest. You must have fireproof sheets under your cooker(s) to prevent grease from dripping on the pavement below. A grease mat designated for grease drippings will be provided by the cook off committee for your use.

6. Water and electricity will not be provided, but small, quiet, portable generators are allowed.

7. The distribution of food, drinks or alcoholic beverages to the public by a team member or any of its guests is prohibited.

8. Excessive noise generated from speakers or public address systems is prohibited. (1:00 am – 6:00 am)

9. Yaga’s Children’s Fund and/ or any of its sponsors will not be responsible for any loss or accidents.


10. At the cook’s meeting please have ONE member of your team with any questions regarding the event with the authority to pick a cooking location in order of registration fees received by the event coordinator. If the registration fees were not sent prior to cook’s meeting then it is mandatory to present fees at this meeting. If a team does not present fees at time of cook’s meeting then an additional $50.00 will be assigned per space.

11. Each cook off team will be allowed only ONE entry per cook off space (1 team… 1 entry).

12. Each team will receive five armbands, five T-shirts and five koozies for each space purchased.

13. Private portable toilets can be purchased at the cook’s meeting and will be placed prior to set up in the assigned space of the purchaser. It will be the responsibility of the purchaser to move the portable toilet to their desired location within the assigned cooking space.


14. All meats, prior to cooking, must be held at a minimum of 40 degrees Fahrenheit under refrigeration or ice and held at a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit, after cooking, until turn- in as required by the Health Department.

15. It is the responsibility of each team to see that their assigned cooking area is kept clean and policed for the duration of the contest. All fires must be extinguished prior to leaving the competition. It is imperative to constantly make sure that all trash is in an appropriate receptacle. Excessive trash in a team’s site can lead to disqualification and barring from future events.

16. Each team is responsible for their own first aid and it is recommended that a first aid kit be available at all times for its team and guests.

17. A fire extinguisher is required (Minimum 10lb. ABC). It must be current, fully charged, its location known by each team member and be within close proximity of a fire burning cooking device. Teams without an extinguisher will be disqualified during meat inspection. Teams must also adhere to all local and state fire codes.

18. To insure the safety and well-being of all participants and spectators, security personnel will be on site from 10:00 PM Friday through 8:00AM Sunday. No motorized vehicles (golf carts, mopeds, etc) are allowed to be used during the contest except by event coordinators.


19. Teams may start setting up their cooking area at 9:00 AM Friday. Please move large items first and remove unnecessary vehicles as soon as possible as a courtesy to all the teams. If a tent/ party supply company is involved with set up, a representative from your team must be on site with location directions and to sign for delivery. Event coordinator will not allow tent/ party supply companies to set up without representation from your team. All vehicles must be off of the designated cook off site by 6:00 PM Friday or must remain on site for the duration of the contest. If you need assistance with the boundaries of your cooking space please ask an event coordinator- they are there to help.

20. A contest coordinator will issue each team a donation canister and will be required to accept donations to Yaga’s Children’s Fund. You may be required to post official cook off poster(s) in team cooking area as determined by event coordinator. Yaga’s Children’s Fund reserves the right to restrict sponsor signage/ advertisement within cook off area including such signage within each team’s booth.


21. All meat must start out raw and uncooked. All seasoning (rubs, marinades, injections) of any entry for any category are not allowed to be used before official meat inspection by a representative of the event committee. Pre- packaged meat items may be in brine solution but items marked Teriyaki, lemon, Italian seasoning, etc. are not permissible. Meat inspection will take place Friday at your cooking area between the hours of 9:00 - 11:00 AM. A member of your cooking team must be present and be able to identify all products for inspection. If a member of your team is not present or is unable to identify meat, your team may be disqualified. Once a meat item has been inspected it must not leave the contest site. Meat can also be inspected at any time by a cook off coordinator. No cooking of any kind can begin before meat has been inspected.


22. CHICKEN: One half (1/2) fully jointed chicken with skin that includes a breast, wing with tip (visible not tucked under), thigh, and drumstick cooked on a smoker or grilled using any combination of spices. For the safety of the judges, do not turn in undercooked chicken, it will be discarded by judging committee. Cornish game hens, quail or any other type of game bird cannot be accepted in this category. Chicken entries also cannot have any type of stuffing or bacon present at turn-in. You may cook with sauce or glaze but it cannot pool on the bottom of a turn-in container. No garnish or other embellishment (ie. bread, bacon, crackers, etc…).

23. SEAFOOD: Any saltwater variety of fish, shellfish or crustacean cooked however you feel necessary and can be smoked, grilled, poached or fried using any combination of spices. Shellfish or crustacean must be peeled or cracked to allow for tasting with a fork.  The seafood entry can have sauce(s) or relish. Fresh or dried herbs can be mixed in the entry but no herbs, lemon wedges, parsley or any other product can be placed (sprinkled) on top of the entry. No garnish or other embellishment (ie. bread, bacon, crackers, chips, etc…). 

24. PORK SPARE RIBS: Pork Spare Ribs are a long cut from the lower portion of the pig.  St Louis style spare ribs are permitted.  Country style ribs or baby back ribs are not allowed. Spare Ribs can be smoked or grilled using any combination of spices. You may cook with sauce or glaze but it cannot pool on the bottom of a turn-in container. No garnish or other embellishment (ie. bread, bacon, crackers, chips, etc…).

25. WILD GAME: Any portion of any non-endangered or protected animal that is not considered “typical grocery store meat” or mass farmed that falls into the following categories: Venison (deer, elk, axis, etc.), Fowl (duck, quail, etc.), or Hog. Bison or buffalo is not allowed. This entry must be smoked or grilled using any combination of spices, sauce or glaze, but it cannot pool on the bottom of a turn-in container. No stuffed or bacon wrapped entries will be allowed and will be removed prior to judging. No garnish or other embellishment (ie. bread, bacon, crackers, chips, etc…).

26. BRISKET: Minimum 10lb. beef (packer) with point and flat intact for inspection. Must be smoked or grilled using any combination of spices with sauce or glaze, but it cannot pool on the bottom of a turn-in container. Brisket slices only and may be separated (point from flat) for turn- in. No garnish or other embellishment (ie. bread, bacon, crackers, chips, etc…).

27. CHEF’S CHOICE/LADIES ENTRY. Anything your heart desires. From barbeque to dessert. Make it taste good. The food item has to be cooked on a BBQ pit.

28. FAJITAS: Beef Flank or Skirt Steak Only. Can be grilled or smoked with any combination of spices or sauce but it cannot pool in bottom of turn in container. No garnish or other embellishment (ie. bread, bacon, crackers, chips, etc…).


29. Prepare sufficient portions to accommodate two rounds of judging.  It is recommended that each turn in container have a minimum of 25 bites. Typically, Brisket nine (9) full slices, recommended 1/4″ to 3/8” thick. Blocking brisket ends is allowed. The fat cap may be trimmed or cut away before the slices are placed into the tray. Pork Spare Ribs nine (9) individual cut ribs (bone in) (St. Louis Cut acceptable) Ribs must be placed in the tray TOP side up lying parallel to the hinge. A single sheet of aluminum foil may be placed on the bottom of the container.

30. The allowable turn in time begins at the posted turn in time and lasts for ten minutes. An air horn will be blown at the beginning and end of the turn in time. Example: If a turn in time is 10:00 AM, the window is from 10:00 AM to 10:10 AM and an air horn will be blown at those times. The official time will be posted at the turn in area for judging and monitored by the event coordinator. You are advised to synchronize your watch to official time.

31. This contest allows blind judging only. Once your entry is received in the judging area it will be reassigned a number and randomly placed on a table. The judges will refer only to your assigned number without knowing your ticket number fastened to the bottom of your container.

32. All entries must be submitted in your furnished and approved Styrofoam container and include one sheet of aluminum foil except for the Chef’s/Ladies Choice category. Absolutely no markings are to be on any container. If your container has a mark it will be disqualified. Marking is perceived, but not limited to, painting, sculpting or decorating. No tooth picks, skewers, sauce containers, or writing or foreign material is allowed in any container for any category. If a container you have picked up is damaged, dented, or you damage a container, please come to the judge’s area for a new one 30 minutes prior to turn in time. Please read category rules and definitions for each entry for sauce and garnishing limitations.

33. Remember to remove your half of the ticket from the bottom of the container and that the other half of the ticket remains.  If a ticket is missing or lost, please come to the judge’s area for a new one 30 minutes prior to turn in time.  Judging staff will not be responsible for missing or lost tickets.  

34. The decisions of interpretation of these rules and regulations are at the discretion of the cook off coordinators and their decision is final.

35. Any teams leaving trash behind, neglecting their responsibility of cleanliness, is subject to disqualification from future events sponsored by the Yaga’s Children’s Fund.

36. Please be safe and make this year’s contest another success!!



(c) 2015 Yaga's Children's Fund Inc.
Website donated by

Yagas Children's Fund Inc.
PO Box 805, Galveston TX 77550, (409) 539-9479