Saturday April 20, 2024

8th Annual Q-Fest Backyard BBQ Championships

9:00 am All vehicles must be out of the competition area and in the parking lot.
10:00 amGates open.
Competitors must be in place with cooking underway.
12:30 pmJudges meeting (VIP Area).
1:00 pm Chicken turn-in time.
2:00 pm Ribs turn-in time.
3:00 pm Pork turn-in time.
4:30 pm Awards ceremony and coronation of the Q-Fest Backyard BBQ King!

BBQ Contest – Team Registration

Backyard Amateur BBQ Team: $100.00

Team Registration Form

Fill out, then email your form to
Once you submit this sign up form, you will get a call from Karen as to where the check should be sent.

Team Registration Dates

  • December 1, 2024 – Registration opens.
  • April 5, 2024 – Final time for online registration
  • Friday, April 19, 20246:00pm Captain’s meeting on the grounds
  • Teams can arrive at 12:00pm on Friday, April 19, 2024. Teams may begin cooking after ALL teams have completed meat inspection and are signaled by contest officials.

No Refunds

We will make every effort to ensure that The Q-Fest Backyard BBQ Division Championships will occur rain or shine. A maximum of 30 teams will compete. Any registrations beyond that will be placed on a waiting list. Additional teams may be added in the event a team drops out or more space may be created for additional teams, at the organizers discretion.

Three categories will be judged: chicken, ribs and pork. Trophies will be awarded to each category winner. In order to qualify for the over all title and prizes for “Amateur BBQ King of Q-Fest,” teams must enter in all three categories.

The only way to get a refund is if we do not have at least 8 teams by April 12th.

Team Qualifications

The captain of each Backyard Team must reside in Brevard or India River counties and a majority of team members must reside in those counties. To qualify as a Backyard team, the team may not have won a cash prize in a BBQ contest previously, or been compensated as a professional BBQ restaurant or caterer.

Category Specifications

  • Chicken: May be any of the following chicken parts: thigh, breast, drumstick/leg, wing or a quartered, half or whole chicken.
  • Ribs: Pork ribs only. May be spare ribs or baby backs, cut however you like (St. Louis style, etc.)
  • Pork: Consists of either pork shoulder or Boston butt. The entry may be sliced, pulled or chopped but must be prepared for consumption. NO INTACT SHOULDER/BUTTS will be accepted as entries.

Vehicle Parking

Each team will be given 2 parking passes. Teams may have one (1) vehicle parked inside the competition grounds during the night before the competition and must be parked at your competition space, unless otherwise directed. All vehicles must be moved to the parking lots by 9 AM on contest day.

Load-In Procedures 

Load-In time starts at 12:00pm on April 19, 2024.
Upon arrival, teams must report to VIP area where one representative will check-in the team. Then, you will be given your space assignment at which time you may proceed to the competition area for set up. We believe that this process will ensure a smoother load-in process.

Rules and Regulations 

1. CONTESTANTS – A contestant is any individual or group, hereafter referred to as a team, which will prepare and cook an entry or entries for the purpose of being judged, according to the rules of the Q-Fest Backyard BBQ Championships. Each team will be comprised of a team captain and up to 5 assistants. All contestants must have at least one representative of their team present at the Captain’s meeting on the evening prior to the contest. In the event this is not possible, the team shall contact the contest organizer and inform them of their absence. Cook teams absent from the meeting accept all responsibility for understanding these rules and any changes to them that may have occurred. 

2. ENTRY PROCESS – Teams who have previously competed or teams of event sponsors will be given priority competition spaces. In any event, be prepared to provide your own shade in this event. Spaces will be filled in the following manner:

  • Returning backyard teams have the first opportunity to register
  • Teams of event sponsors
  • Team registration fees: $100 per team for backyard Division.
  • All registration forms received after the field has been filled will be placed on a reserve list and will be entered into the contest if the other teams drop out, or if more spaces are found. If your team is placed on the reserve list and does not compete, you may opt to make your entry fee a donation to Toys For Kids, Inc. which will give you preferential status for next year’s contest, or you may have your entry fee refunded.

3. INTERPRETATION of RULES – The interpretation of the rules and regulations are those of the Q-Fest Backyard BBQ Championships representative at the contest and his or her decisions are final. 

4. EQUIPMENT – Each team will supply all of the equipment necessary for the preparation and cooking of their entry, including a cooker, wood, charcoal or wood pellets. No team may share a cooker or grill with any other team. There will be access to Electricity and Running water for Backyard teams, but not at team site. 

5. MEAT INSPECTION – All meats must be USDA or state DA inspected and passed. No pre-seasoning, injecting, marinating or cooking of any entry is permitted until after the inspection by the Official Meat Inspector as appointed by the CONTEST representative or the CONTEST organizer. Meat inspection will take place at the Captain’s meeting, Friday prior to the contest. All meat must be maintained at a maximum temperature of 40 degrees F prior to inspection. Prior to cooking, all meat that is resting in preparation for cooking must be covered at all times. All meats must be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F. After cooking, all meat must be maintained at a minimum temperature of 140 degrees F until it is turned in for judging. All contest meat, once inspected, may not leave the contest site until turn in. Teams may cook overnight; those who will not immediately begin cooking after meat inspection are required to provide their own coolers. 

6. COOKING FUELS – The only approved cooking media are wood, charcoal or wood pellets. Gas of any kind or any electrical heating element may only be used to start the initial fire or to start burn barrels, charcoal chimneys, etc. A gas starter, gas flame, or electrical heating element may not be used in the cooker after the meat has entered the cooker or during the cooking process. Gas bottles must be disconnected from the cooker once the fire has started and must be removed from the immediate cooking area. A gas flame or electrical heating element may not be used in the cooker during any part of the cooking process. 

7. APPROVED COOKERS – Any wood, charcoal, or wood pellet fired cookers—homemade or commercially manufactured—will be allowed to be used in the contest. Electric or manual operated rotisseries, rotating shelves and wood, charcoal or wood pellet augers are permitted during the cooking process, as are electric or manually operated power draft devices. 

8. CONTESTANT’S SIT E- Q-Fest Backyard Amateur teams will receive small competition spaces. Tents and Covers are to be provided by the teams, if they so choose. All equipment must be contained within this space. If additional space is required, the team should contact the contest organizer and make satisfactory arrangements. Public use water and electricity is available. Contestants may cook overnight, but must remove vehicles from the competition area by 9am Saturday. A contest representative or security guard will be on site at all times to allow for entry to the grounds. 

9. BEHAVIOR – Every team, including members and guests, are expected and required to exhibit proper and courteous behavior at all times. If behavior is deemed to cross the line, the team will be given a warning. A second infraction will disqualify the team from competition and may lead to dismissal from the grounds. 

10. CLEANLINESS AND SANITATION – All teams are expected to maintain their cook sites in an orderly and cleanly manner, and to use good sanitary practices during the preparation, cooking and judging process. The use of sanitary gloves is required at all times while handling the food. Failure to use sanitary gloves may result in disqualification. Additionally, teams are required to have a running water system for cleanup. Under state guidelines, this includes a cooler with a spout and a bucket to catch the water as it falls. Please bring these items with you for use at your cooking site. Teams are responsible for cleanup of their site once the competition has ended. All federal, state and local food safety rules and regulations must be adhered to at all times. At the conclusion of the event, you are required to clean your team area before departing or accepting any prizes. 

11. MEAT CATEGORIES – The following categories will be judged at the Q-fest Backyard BBQ Championships:

  • Chicken: The team may cook chicken whole, halved or individual pieces
  • Pork Ribs: Lion back (baby back) or spare ribs only, meat on the bone, no country style ribs and no chopped, pulled, sliced rib meat loose in box.
  • Pork: Whole shoulder /Boston butt. Must be cooked as single piece of meat

12. QUANTITY – Teams must cook AT LEAST the following amounts: Chicken (8 pieces for judging, Ribs (8 bones for judging, Pork (16 ounces for judging. 

13. JUDGING – Blind judging only. Entries will be submitted in an approved container (provided by the contest), with NO garnish or decoration of any kind. Only the entry to be judged (and a cup of sauce, if included by the teams) is allowed in the container. Marking of any kind will disqualify the entry. Each entry will be judged on APPEARANCE, TASTE/FLAVOR and TENDERNESS/TEXTURE. Meat may be sauced or un-sauced. A minimum of eight (8) separate and identifiable portions must be presented for judging. Portions as follows: 1 piece of chicken, one rib, and 2 ounces of pork. 

14. SCORING – Each entry will be scored by 6 judges in the areas of PRESENTATION, TASTE/FLAVOR, and TENDERNESS/TEXTURE. Scoring ranges from a low of 5.0 to a high of 10.0 in increments of .5 points for each category. Any entry that is disqualified as per section 15 (below), will receive a score of zero for all three categories from all judges. 

15. DISQUALIFICATION – An entry can be disqualified by the Q-Fest Backyard BBQ Championships representative only. An entry can be disqualified for any of the following reasons:

  • There is evidence of marking or sculpting. Marking is defined as: any handwritten or mechanically made mark inside or outside the turn-in box that identifies the submitting team to any judge. Sculpting is defined as: the carving, decorating, forming or shaping of a meat entry contained in a turn-in box that identifies the submitting team to any judge.
  • There is anything in the box other than the meat and sauce (may be in a cup).
  • There are not a minimum of 8 separate and identifiable pieces (for ribs and chicken) or 16 ounces (for pork).
  • There is evidence of blood such that the meat is uncooked.
  • The entry is turned in after the officially designated time.
  • Gloves are not used while handling food products.
  • Not cooking pork as a single piece of meat.
  • Not cooking the meat that was inspected.

16. JUDGING PROCEDURE – Team captain brings entry in provided box to turn-in table. At check in table, a representative of the Q-Fest Backyard BBQ Championships will open the box and examine to be sure that none of the criteria in section 15 are present. Entry is then taken to the judging area. Each entry box will be judged by every judge at the table. Judging will not begin until all samples for that table are on the table (unopened). After judging of the category is completed, a representative of the Q-Fest Backyard BBQ Championships will then collect the scorecards and turn them into the scorekeeper for tallying. 

17. WINNERS – The winners in each meat category will be determined by adding all the scores together and the team with the most points will be the category champion. Next highest score is the category runner-up and so on. The GRAND CHAMPION will be the team with the highest overall score (all categories added together), the RESERVE CHAMPION will be the team with the second highest overall score. To qualify for either the GRAND CHAMPION or the RESERVE CHAMPION a team must submit entries in all three sanctioned categories. In the event of a tie in a category, a tie-breaking procedure will be implemented utilizing first the TASTE/FLAVOR score as the tie-breaker, then the TEXTURE/TENDERNESS scores. 

18. TURN IN TIMES – Each category turn in time allows for a 10 minute window (5 minutes before and 5 minutes after the time as suggested below:

  • Chicken: 1:00pm
  • Ribs: 2:00pm
  • Pork: 3:00pm

The contest organizer may revise the times but a one hour time frame between category turn-in times will be maintained. Any changes to turn in times will be made public at the Captains’ Meeting, the evening before the competition. 

19. PRIZES – Prizes for category winners and overall winners will be made available online and at the contest on the day of the event. Prizes will be awarded following the judging of the final category. Trophies and titles will be given for the winners of each category (chicken, ribs, pork) and for overall winner (Q-Fest Backyard Amateur King of BBQ) and for the overall runner up (Q-Fest Backyard Runner-up King Amateur of BBQ). 

In the Backyard Division, if the BBQ “Royalty” is also a category winner, the next highest score will be awarded the category win. There will be no multiple award winners in any one competition in the Backyard Division.