British Freestyle BBQ

The British Open Freestyle BBQ Championships®


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Steak cookoff association | British Freestyle BBQ
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Smoke and Fire Festivals in Association with BIG K PRODUCTS are proud to be holding the British Open Freestyle BBQ Championships®. Teams will compete in a thrilling one-off national FREE STYLE BBQ competition cooking rounds inc a SCA Steak Cookoff, Burgers, Hotdogs, Bird, Beef, Pork and Ribs BBQ.

Who will be crowned the undisputed British BBQ Champion and claim the title trophy and an incredible £1500 CASH PRIZE plus thousands of £££ worth of BBQ equipment and accessories.

The team with the highest overall score from this competition will be crowned the overall winner and crowned the British Open BBQ Grand Champion 2024 at Promenade Park, Maldon, Essex, August 17th and 18th.

Saturdays will see BBQ teams and individuals competing in a steak cookoff sanctioned by the SCA. The perfect completion for those that think that they can grill the perfect steak! (We even provide you with the steaks -Ribeye Steaks are being provide via our soon to be announced festival meat partner ) The SCA is the only sanctioning body focused exclusively on grilling. In addition, there will be several other SCA ancillary rounds for teams to enter and for the public to enjoy.

Plus the winner of the SCA Steak Cook-Off competition – Ascot AND Maldon will receive *A £250 cash prize plus a top the range PK 360 Grill worth £849.00, plus some BBQ Goodies from our partner/sponsors and free entry to the 2024 Uk Competition. Plus, the winner of our SCA Steak Cook-Off will receive an invitation to attend and compete at the SCA World Championship in Fort Worth, TX in March of 2025 to compete for $10,000, and the SCA World Championship Second Place will see you leaving with a great PKGO

The excitement continues on Sunday with the main GREAT BRITISH BBQ CHAMPIONSHIP rounds that provide every team with a chance to really showcase their BBQ and creative cooking skills to the judges and the public. Here good just won’t cut it… We are looking for outstanding dishes, individual teams that stand out from the pack. Each round will have a specific meat type: BIRD, RIBS, PORK and BEEF. The individual competition winner will receive a top prize from our sponsors on the day plus be put forward as a possible Great British Open BBQ Champion. There will also be some smaller prizes for 2nd and 3rd place.

We want to take this opportunity to thank all the teams for entering the competition, all the new judges and volunteers that are giving of their time to enable this competition to take place, and a special THANK YOU goes to our incredible sponsor/partners who are donating all of our fabulous prizes this year. A special thank you goes to PROSMOKE and PK GRILLS, who are donating a top of the range grill for the SCA Steak Cook off competitions. To all of the companies for their generosity in providing some amazing prizes to the out right winner and reserve places

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

  • BBQ aficionados and hotshot amateurs will cross tongs in our British Open Free Style BBQ Championship
  • Our panel of 15 hand-picked expert judges plus a public vote will decide on who is crowned ‘British Free Style BBQ Champion 2024’
  • Bring your secret rubs and 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 a Golden Ticket to compete at the SCA World Championships and entry to the British BBQ Hall of Fame
  • All team entries will be confirmed upon full payment of the British Open BBQ Championship entry fee (£250) per competition
  • Places are strictly limited
  • Entry and payment confirm the team’s acceptance of all rules of entry and participation as set out below



19.00 – Cooks Meeting


08:30 Student registration for SCA class
10:30Steak selection/cooks meeting
11:30 Judges registration
12:00Judges meeting

SCAturn in times

13.30 to 14.00Steak Turn-in (all teams can turn in at any time during these 30 minutes)
14.30 to 3.15Burger Turn in
15.30 to 16.15Hot Dog supplied by our meat sponsor
16.30 to 17.15Chefs choice – Round
23:00 – 07:00Quiet time


10:30Judges registration
11:00Judges meeting

Great British Open Freestyle BBQturn in times

12:00 to 12.45Bird turn in
13.00 – 13.45Ribs turn in
14.00 -14.45Pork turn in
15.00 – 15:45Beef turn in
Please note: for all rounds EXCEPT steak, there will be 4 different turn-in times for each category. Teams will pick out their own turn-in times at random during the cooks meeting on Friday at 7pm.

General Info

Contest Location:

  • Promenade Park, Park Drive, Maldon ,Essex ,CM9 5JQ

Contest Dates:                 

  • 17th and 18th August 2024 – Maldon ( SCA santioned Steak cook Off – The BRITISH OPEN FREE STYLE BBQ CHAMPIONSHIPS )

Contest Organiser: Smoke and Fire Events Ltd
Contest Representatives:   Mark and Ange Fishlock

Teams and judges can arrive from 13.00 on the Friday before the competition.
Camping: You will be met at the gate, handed your wristband, and then directed to your allocated camping pitch.
Please note that teams will pitch next to their pitches; judges camping might well be in a separate area camping area.
Tents and camping vehicles will be in different areas due to H&S regulations.


Cooking rounds

  • All entries to be “free style”. Platter should show off the cook’s creativity and skill but should also include at least six individual portions for the judges. For example, platter could contain a whole chicken with twelve individual portions around/beside it. No knives or cutlery to be handed in with the entry. Entry should be easily carried by one person. Platter will NOT be supplied by the Organiser. The team will use their own serving platter/dish/plate.
  • Each team will be allocated a 5-minute window for their turn in over a 35-minute period (e.g.,12.00-12.05, 12.10-12.15, 12.20-12.25 & 12.30-12.35). This is to try and prevent entries from sitting around getting cold. Your allocated time will be provided during the cooks meeting.
  • Entries will not be accepted before your window opens.
  • Entries will not be accepted once your window is closed and a score of 0 will be given.
  • Cumulative points scored within all (8) categories will determine the British Open Free Style BBQ Champion and British Open Free Style BBQ Reserve Champion. 
  • Certificates will be awarded to each category including first, second and third place. Where category is sponsored a first prize will also be awarded. 

TEAMS must compete in all of the following categories in order to become British Open Free Style BBQ Champion and British Open Free Style BBQ Reserve Champion.

Saturdayturn in times

Will be provided by the Organisers, courtesy of our meat partner
6 Hot Dogs, provided by our sponsor partner, must be sausage or hot dog in a hot dog roll.
Points for this round will go towards the grand championships,

Sunday turn in times

Feather. For example, chicken, turkey, duck, goose or ostrich.
Defined as any animal rib cage, it may be served on/off the bone, but bone must be present.
Defined as any part of the pig but can range from chops to belly, NOT ribs.
Defined as any part of the cow, but can range from steaks to brisket, NOT Ribs.

TEAM Rules

  1. The decision and interpretations of the Rules and Regulations are at the discretion of the Contest Representatives. Their decisions and interpretations are final.
  2. Each team shall consist of a head cook and up to 4 assistants.
  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 pitch. Teams shall not share an assigned cooking space or cooking device.
  4. All competition ingredients shall be inspected during the times established by the contest organiser and or its representatives.
  5. Once the competition ingredients have been inspected, they shall not leave the contest site. Cooking shall not begin until the competition meat has been inspected by the Contest Representatives. All competition ingredients shall start out raw and unprepared (for example, not marinated).
  6. When the contest organizer supplies the ingredient, it is required to enter only that meat. Competition ingredients not meeting these qualifications shall be disqualified, not allowed to be turned in, and not judged, and receives no score.
  7. Contestants shall provide all needed equipment and supplies. Contestants must adhere to all electrical, fire and other codes. All Teams are required to have a fire extinguisher which shall be near all cooking devices.
  8. Turn in times will be published prior to the event.
  9. Teams will be allocated a 5-minute window for their turn in over a 35-minute period (e.g.,12.00-12.05, 12.10-12.15, 12.20-12.25 & 12.30-12.35). This is to try and prevent entries from sitting around getting cold. Your allocated time will be provided during the cooks meeting.
  10. Entries will be submitted with the team number.
  11. Entries shall not be marked in any way to make the team’s name identifiable.
  12. Foreign objects that may be accidentally consumed or represent a hygiene issue (for example, pieces of aluminium foil, pieces of toothpicks, pieces of skewers, etc) are prohibited in the entry. Marked entries with the above listed material will receive a one (1) in all criteria from all judges and disqualified.
  13. All cooking must be on site.
  14. All cooking MUST BE ABOVE GROUND on a recognised BBQ, Smokers, NO stoves or hobs.
  15. The key element of the round must be the star of the dish.
  16. No pre-made foods (e.g., no packet desserts, no ready-made meals like lasagne). Items such as ice-cream are permitted as long as it’s an accompaniment to the main dish.
  17. All teams must give their food to the helpers outside the judging tent (exact turn in location will be discussed at the teams meeting).
  18. Teams must keep any contact with judges to a minimum on turn-in day until conclusion of judging. Judges are not permitted to enter a team’s tent until conclusion of judging.
  19. Teams must present enough food, portioned, for all judges to each have every element (minimum of 12 pieces).
  20. Food must be served in a manner whereby only one person can safely carry the entry.
  21. It is the responsibility of the contestant to ensure that the team’s assigned cooking space is clean and orderly following the contest. (All fires must be extinguished, and all equipment oils, fuel, removed from site)
  22. Ash from BBQs should be emptied into the ash bin provided – It is your responsibility to ensure that it is fully extinguished and cool before depositing in the bin to prevent any bin fires)
  23. It is important that each team leave their assigned space clean, and free from rubbish. Any team’s assigned cooking space left in disarray or with loose rubbish, other than at waste containers, may disqualify the team from future participation at sanctioned events.
  24. The following cleanliness and safety rules will apply:
    • No use of any tobacco products while handling meat.
    • Cleanliness of the cook, assistant cooks, cooking device(s) and the team’s assigned cooking space is required.
    • Shirt and shoes are required to be worn.
    • Sanitising of the 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 sanitising utensils.
    • Prior to cooking, meat must be maintained at 40° F or less.
    • 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.
    • 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.

JUDGING criteria and scoring

The British Open BBQ Championship allows for blind judging only.

APPEARANCE (score: 2 – 10)

  • First impressions and visual appearance. Does the entry look good to eat?
  • The first bite is with the eye and an attractive well-presented serving plate will score better than a plain one.

TASTE (score: 2 – 10: to include decimal points)

  • Is the taste nice? Is the flavour balanced?
  • Judges will be looking for flavourful food where they can taste the star of the dish, seasoning and balance of flavours. Judges are asked not to judge on personal preference, and teams are reminded to avoid extremes.

TENDERNESS & TEXTURE (score: 2 – 10)

  • Is it cooked correctly, is the food moist?
  • Judges will be looking for the star of the dish to be cooked correctly, and not to personal taste. For example, beef steak medium, ribs should be bite through but not fall off the bone.

CREATIVITY & SKILL (score: 2 – 10)

  • Creativity is where the cook has used their imagination to create something inventive and has the “wow” factor.
  • Judges will also be looking to score the cook on their BBQ skills.

Total points would be: 40

  • A one (1) will be scored in Taste for food that is not safe to eat. For example, if the food is undercooked/raw. This would apply to food that can be potentially dangerous when served raw and is not subject to the judges cooking preference.
  • A one (1) will be scored in Appearance for Insufficient samples. For example, only 4 portions provided for each round. Reps will portion presented samples to ensure all judges receive a sample.
  • A one (1) will be scored in Appearance for any foreign objects that may be accidentally consumed or represent a hygiene issue (for example, pieces of aluminium foil, pieces of toothpicks, broken pieces of skewers, etc).
  • A one (1) will be scored in Appearance for marked entries.
  • A zero (0) will be scored in all categories for a missed turn-in or an incorrect turn-in. For example, beef instead of ribs.
  • A one (1) will be scored in Appearance for an entry that cannot be safely carried by one person.

Judges Panel information

  1. Judges must register on arrival Failure to do so may result in being unable to judge at this event.
  2. Judges must attend judges meeting. Failure to do so may result in being unable to judge at this event.
  3. The judging process also includes other roles such as being a table captain and helping with turn-in. You may be asked to help out with these other roles on some rounds.
  4. Judges must keep any contact with teams to a minimum on turn-in day until conclusion of judging. Judges are not permitted to enter a team’s tent until conclusion of judging.
  5. Only judges, Contest Representatives and necessary support staff are allowed in the judging area during the judging process.
  6. No photography within the Judges Tent apart from authorised media.
  7. All phones to be turned off/on silent and not be used during the judging process. If an urgent call needs to be made/taken, please contact a Contest Representative.
  8. Contest Representatives will determine the optimum number of tables of judges needed to properly judge the contest.
  9. No drinking of alcoholic beverages before or during judging is permitted.
  10. No taking of mind-altering substances before or during judging is permitted.
  11. No judge will be allowed to judge whilst intoxicated or under the influence of mind-altering drugs.
  12. The scoring system is from 2 to 10 (apart from Taste where scores must contain 1 decimal place, i.e.: from 2 to 10).
    • 10 = perfect
    • 9 = really, really good
    • 8 = really good 
    • 7 = above average 
    • 6 = average 
    • 5 = below average 
    • 4 = poor 
    • 3 = bad 
    • 2 = inedible
    • 1 = a score of one (1) is a penalty or disqualification and requires approval by a Contest Representative as per the above judging criteria and scoring.