British Open BBQ Championship

Smoke and Fire Festivals are proud to be holding the British Open BBQ Championship. Teams will compete in a thrilling one-off national BBQ competition cooking chicken, brisket, pork and ribs in classic low’n’slow style BBQ.

Who will be crowned the undisputed British BBQ Champion?

Whether you are part of an existing Pro Team or just a keen back garden cook; this is the competition for you!

  • BBQ aficionados & hotshots will cross tongs in our British Open BBQ Championship.
  • Mouthwatering dishes will be based around the classic low’n’slow traditions of chicken, ribs, pork butts, brisket etc. 
  • Our team of hand-picked expert judges plus a public vote will decide on who is BBQ is crowned ‘British BBQ Champion 2021’.
  • So, bring on your secret rubs & sauces to create the most succulent, finger-licking, delicious BBQ dishes in the country!
  • Team entry includes weekend access to the festival, a pitch for your camp and cook stations and a chance to win and enter the British BBQ Hall of Fame!
  • All team entries will be confirmed upon full payment of the British Open BBQ Championship entry fee (£250).
  • Places are strictly limited to 30 teams per year.
  • Entry and payment confirm the team’s acceptance of all rules of entry and participation as set out below. 
Official British Open BBQ Championship logo

We now have all the entries for the 2021 competition

Entry to the Competition is now closed



Whether you’re a Pro team from a local restaurant, or an enthusiastic backyard BBQ crew, any team can enter the competition. 

The minimum members per team is 2 (two) and the maximum is 4 (four). 

Each team must have one appointed team captain. The team captain must be at least 18 years of age, and no team member may be less than 14 years old. 

All team captains must attend a MANDATORY team captains’ meeting prior to the start of the competition. 


The team must compete in all of the following mandatory categories in order to become British Open BBQ Champion and British Open BBQ Reserve Champion: 

  • Ribs ( these can be any type of rib inc pork, lamb, beef, goat but not cutlet)
  • Bird / Poultry ( Need we say anything else?)
  • Pork ( Anything from a PIG you want to present to the judges)
  • Beef (Brisket, steak, skirt, cheeks in fact anything as long as it’s cow-related)
  • Let’s Talk about some optional Side rounds
  • Beef Steak Wine – (must include wine provided to each team by our wine partners )
  • Plant-based / Vegetable ( Meatless and teams can use Tofu )
  • Dessert ( Must be cooked, baked using the BBQ)

Cumulative points scored within all four mandatory categories will determine the British Open BBQ Champion and British Open BBQ Reserve Champion. 

Each mandatory category will have a first, second and third prize & certificate. 


We want you to be creative with your garnishes but remembering at all time that the star should always be whatever the category is your cooking i.e Ribs, Bird, Pork and Beef etc. 


All food must start out raw, and no processing, pre-seasoning treatment or preparation may begin until commencement is confirmed by the competition organisers.

Frozen ingredients supplied to a team must be completely and safely defrosted prior to being issued to teams. 

All food products must be in compliance with UK safety and hygiene regulations.

Competition food will be inspected by the ‘Food Safety Inspector’ on duty at the contest. 


The following meat holding conditions must be met: 

  • All meats and fish must be on ice, or refrigerated/chilled at 5c or less before being cooked.
  • Holding temperature for cooked meat must be at 65c or higher and it can be kept for a maximum of 2 hours. 
  • UK environmental health regulations must be adhered to. 


EU listed allergens which must be identified when providing any food for public consumption. 


In the mandatory categories, teams must use only the official British Open BBQ Championship containers supplied by the organisers.  

The teams will have to present their dish in the most creative way possible. The judges will use this to judge the team’s creativity in the mandatory categories. Teams are allowed to use any of the approved garnish in the turn in box, as long as the primary ingredient is still the mandatory meat. 


No turn in may be submitted that would indicate the team which has submitted it. Each turn-in box must include exactly six servings. Turn-in times will be issued two weeks before the event.

The amount of time allowed for turning-in boxes is from five minutes before, until five minutes after the turn-in times stipulated by the organisers, e.g. turn-in time is 12pm: time tolerance is 11.55am – 12.05pm. Each team will present one turn-in box per category, with its allocated identification number. 


Each team will be assigned a defined area in the competition.
The site size allocation (a minimum of 15 m2) will be determined by the organiser. 

All equipment including cooker, canopy and trailer must be contained within this defined space. The sharing of any space or cooker is not allowed. 

It is the on-site responsibility of the contestants to ensure that the contest area is kept clean and policed, during and following the competition.

No pets are allowed in the cooking sites. 

Equipment and knives should be used responsibly and safely.

All ingredients should be stored/chilled in the appropriate manner. Sanitising of work area should be maintained at all times. 

Waste is to be collected and deposited in designated bins.


Security of the event site will be provided by the organiser. Teams are responsible for their own security and insurance, and should take out the appropriate policies. 


If a team wishes to serve food to the public, they may use the remains of their cooked foods, or provide extra food themselves. The safety and lawfulness of such supply is the responsibility of the Teams and the Organisers accept no liability in relation to such hand outs.


Teams, including members and guests, are required to exhibit proper and courteous behaviour at all times. Failure to take instructions from the organiser may result in a team’s ability to compete at the contest or in future contests. 

Quiet time must be observed. It will be in effect from 10.30pm on the night prior to the contest (including the subsequent nights of the competition), until sunrise the following day. Noise levels, including music, must be kept at a volume not to cause any disturbance to others. 

Teams will be informed of and must comply with all rules in relation to the consumption and serving of alcohol. 

Complete compliance with all laws and on site guidance in relation to fire, health, electricity, waste disposal and recycling are required. 


Teams are not allowed to share any pictures or details of their dishes on social networks etc. during competition day(s) until such time as the judging process is completed. 


All cooks must be done on a bbq/pit, Fires must be of charcoal, briquettes, wood pellets, lump wood or gas. No other heating sources are allowed during the competition. This includes heating hobs, oven, fryers or sous vides.

Teams can use any brand of grill/barbecue/smoker as long as it use one of above mentioned fuel-types.

Pellet smokers with electrical fuel feeds are allowed as long as their principal source of heat is from the burning wood pellets only. Electric and gas ignition is allowed for the short period of time when an approved fuel is ignited. 


Electrical coolers and refrigerators are allowed.

Electric heating sources will not be permitted for preparation, cooking or holding. 

Electrical starters are allowed.

Electrical pit-controllers are permitted.

Fluid starters (like lighter fluid or petrol) are not permitted. 


Teams are expected to provide all equipment and supplies needed for the management, preparation and cooking within the event. 


The British Open BBQ Championship allows for blind judging only.

Entries will be scored from 1-10 in all criteria by a table of six judges. 

Turned-in entries are judged according to the following criteria:

  • Taste/Aroma1 30% / 25%
  • Texture/Tenderness 15% / 15%
  • Creativity -Visual appearance of main component2 10% / 5% 

(1) The ‘Taste/Aroma’ elements are two specific and individual senses that effectively combine with one another to create the principle overall impact of an entry. This is why this element has the highest score. Judges must be careful to give due regard to this for their score. 

(2) The creativity scoring is a subjective assessment on both the look and creativeness shown by a Team in relation to all parts of its entry. 


Judges will use fixed penalty points during the scoring process for the following infractions: 

The penalty points given by the judges will be deducted from the total score for that category only.

CAUTION: If any judge fails to receive a serving due to incorrect cutting (where it cannot easily be split by hand), they cannot then judge that category on Taste/Texture, but only on Appearance. 

1. Foreign Objects – Edible and Inedible, including Breading, Batters, or other wrapping if on the meat or in the box in any way (also other things such as toothpicks, skewers, tinfoil, etc. are classified as foreign objects) Penalty: 2 points deducted by all judges

2.Incorrect Garnish: (i.e. other than those stipulated in the rules) Penalty: 2 points deducted by all judges

3. Any marking, arrangement or other decorating, forming or shaping an entry that may identify the submitting team to any judge. The only identification on the turn in box given by the organisers. Penalty: Team will receive zero points on all criteria from all judges

4. Pooling or Puddling of Sauce is not permitted. Penalty: 1 point deducted by all judges

5. Ribs not cut completely through (and so unable or not easy to split by hand) so that one or more judges do not get a sample. Penalty: Judges who do not get a serving can score on Appearance only 


In the event of a tie in the overall results for Grand Champion or Reserve Grand Champion, the following process will be applied based on the highest score in the following order: 

  • Ribs
  • Beef
  • Bird 
  • Pork

Whoever has the highest score in the first category will be deemed winner, and if a tie shows at that stage, the second category will be assessed, and so on until a winner is found. 

When this process is exhausted, and if there still remains a tie, the teams with the same highest score will share both the titles and prizes equally. 

In the event of a tie in the individual categories, the following process will be applied based on the highest score in the following order: 

  • Taste /Aroma
  • Texture /Tenderness 
  • Visual appearance / Creativity 

Final decisions and interpretations will be deliberated upon by the Organisers & Judges. Their decisions are final.

The interpretation of the British Open BBQ Championship rules and regulations are, ultimately, the responsibility of the Organisers and their decisions are final. 


  1. All teams are considered equal at all times. A team is one that is engaged in the cooking of food in the contest. 
  2. There will be no Professional or Amateur classifications; all will be referred to as a team. 
  3. All teams will be required to register upon arrival at the competition site, and the team’s identification number for that specific competition will be allocated. 
  4. The minimum members per team is 2 (two) and the maximum is 4 (four). The team member who is captain has to be a captain of all categories entered. Only 4 people can represent the team in the presentation of prizes. (Note: the application form for entering the competition must contain all information regarding all team members). 
  5. All team captains must attend a MANDATORY Team Captains’ meeting prior to the start of the competition, where rules and regulations will be explained, and any questions answered. 
  6. The time and location of the Team Captains’ Meeting will be given prior to the commencement of the competition. 
  7. The entry fee is set by the event organiser and is non-refundable, unless there are exceptional circumstances which are determined at the discretion of the competition organisers. 

Ribs Category 

  • The Teams may use any cut of ribs. 
  • Injections, brining or marinating are allowed. 
  • Boiling, steaming or deep-frying is not allowed (although wrapping in aluminium foil or paper is allowed). 
  • Meat must be turned-in as one-bone pieces (and each piece must include one bone). 

Beef Category 

  • Brisket, steak, skirt, cheeks in fact anything as long as it’s cow-related
  • Injections, brining or marinating is allowed. 
  • Boiling, steaming or deep-frying is not allowed (although wrapping in aluminium foil or paper is allowed). 
  • If cooking Beef brisket this must be cooked in one piece. 
  • Beef can be turned in pulled, cubed, chopped or sliced and ‘burnt ends’ are also acceptable. 

Bird Category

  1. Your bird may be cooked whole or in any parts. 
  2. Injections, brining or marinating are allowed. 
  3. Boiling, steaming or deep-frying is not allowed (although wrapping in aluminium foil or paper is allowed).  

Pork Category 

  1. Any part of a pig and cut may be used. All joints may bone-in or bone-out. 
  2. Injections, brining or marinating are allowed. 
  3. Boiling, steaming or deep-frying is not allowed (although wrapping in aluminium foil or paper is allowed).  
  4. Pork can be cooked bone-in or bone-out. 
  5. Pork can be turned in pulled, cubed, chopped or sliced.
  6. Sauce can be mixed with the meat during preparation for turn-in. 

Sauces, glazes, marinades and injections are allowed during the cooking process. A final glazing with sauce/glaze may be applied just prior to arranging the meat in the turn-in box. 

Teams may begin prepping (trimming, injecting, rubbing, marinating, etc.) their meats as soon as permission to commence is officially issued by the organisers.  

Teams are allowed to bring any and all ingredients necessary for them to make sauces, glazes, marinades, injections and rubs. 

The winners of each category will be titled the British Open BBQ Winner of that category, (i.e. British Open BBQ Bird winner 1st place, 2nd place & 3rd place).

Prizes will be in the form of certificates, trophies, cash, goods, equipment, or a combination of the above. 

The Team Captain will bring their turn-in box at the designated turn-in time to the identified table outside the judges’ area. They should also bring the registration number as advised by the organisers. This is a substitute for the name of the team, which cannot appear on the container. At the time of the turn-in, the team number will be replaced by the organisers with a secret identifier number. Only the organisers will be able to identify the secret identifier number. 

All fires must be very carefully policed during the competition, and safely extinguished at the end of the event, when all equipment must be removed from site. It is imperative that clean-up be thorough. No space may be left untidy or unsafe. 

The event organisers will not be responsible for any damages, or for the loss of any equipment during the competition or event. 

Teams may provide their own music or musicians, providing it doesn’t cause annoyance to the public or other teams but is subject to organiser’s discretion at all times. 

Teams are expected and required to exhibit proper and courteous behaviour at all times. Teams must take instructions from the organisers if so required. Failure to do so may result in disqualification from the competition and/or expulsion from the site. Repeat offenders will be barred from competing in future contests. 

Suitable First aid kit, fire extinguisher, hot ash container, water container, cleaning and hygiene products, etc. are all required to be provided and used as necessary by all teams. 

Safety is a very important issue, and the organisers will make the final decision of what equipment is and isn’t safe. 


Teams can be disqualified from the event for the actions of any of its members for infractions relating to: 

Competing on more than one team. No member of a team, including the captain, may not compete on or with more than one team during the period of the competition. Penalty: disqualification of a team member. This member may not be replaced. 

Sale of any goods, food products or equipment is not permitted without the approval of the organisers. Penalty: disqualification of a team member or entire team. The member may not be replaced. 

Electric heating sources will not be permitted for preparation, cooking or holding. Penalty: disqualification of team. 

Food preparation: food prepared for the competition may not leave the competition site at any time. Penalty: disqualification of team. 

Contact with the judges during competition time is not allowed by social media or by direct or indirect representation. Penalty: disqualification of team. 

Foods not cooked from raw. All foods must be cooked from raw. Penalty: disqualification of team.  

Abusiveness, drunkenness and/or use of illegal substances, any language that is foul, abusive, coarse, or unacceptable, excessive noise generated, including from speakers or public address systems, fighting and/or disorderly conduct will be regarded as a cheating offence. Penalty: disqualification of team, removal from site and ban from competing in any future event.

Discourteous, abusive or discriminatory conduct, harassing or sabotaging other teams.
Any signage or printed matter that is regarded by the organisers as offensive or racist will be be penalised. Penalty: disqualification of team, removal from site and ban from competing in any future event.


Any Judge may be disqualified for the following breaches of regulations: 

  1. Failing to comply with instructions issued by the organisers or their appointed ‘head Judge’. 
  2. Failing to comply with instructions issued by the Table Captain. 
  3. Failing to adhere to any and all rules relating to the consumption and serving of alcohol as set out by the organisers. 
  4. Direct or indirect contact with the teams during the judging process. 
  5. Direct or indirect contact with the teams during the preparation and cooking of food. 
  6. Direct or indirect contact with the teams through Social Media. 
  7. Use of photos, texts, phones during the judging process. 

Judges are not permitted to accept invitations or visit the team sites during the active competition time. 

Communication between team competitors and judges is forbidden during the hours of the competition. 

The table captain will bring all the turn in boxes to the table. They open that box and checks for rules’ violations such as marking, insufficient number of samples, etc. 

All judges initially score this turn-in box for presentation (Visual appearance / Creativity).

Each judge then takes a sample and scores this box for Taste /Aroma & Texture /Tenderness. 

The table captain makes sure that all scores for that turn-in are recorded before moving on This process will then be repeated for all entries. The table captain will then collect all judging forms and turn them over to the organisers where final collation and judging takes place. 

The ratio of judges to teams at the contest should be one per team. Number of judges per table will be six and always the same number for every table.

Penalties must be shown on each judges’ submission. The Table captain will make sure that all judges have the same penalties selected. The score 0 means disqualification and must be sanctioned by a head judge. It is also the responsibility of the Judges to inform the organisers or their appointed ‘head judge’ where breaches in rules are committed. 

By entering the competition, teams will have agreed to be bound by all of the above rules and guidelines and also agree to the organisers carrying out impromptu inspections throughout the preparation, cooking and presentation for the competition. 

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