Hosting a Cook-Off

Jackson Ortega-Scheiner Smoking Leave a Comment

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Hey Doc,

My buddies and I are going to put on/host a BBQ cook-off next spring in a city of about 300,000, that has never had one. We know we need to start small and cheap. Could you point me in the right way to learn the finer points of sponsors, charities, etc.? We were thinking of not being sanctioned the first year, then doing so thereafter. Do you know of a site that gives the basics, or helps out with how much to charge entrants, customers, sponsors, and vendors? Do you have a book that covers this? Thanks Doc,

BBQ Dave

Hi Dave,

There is no book or website on this subject that I know of. Putting on contests is not my cup of tea but attending them sure is and I say get it sanctioned right away. Sanctioning gives your event immediate credibility and they handle all the logistics of the actual contest for you. They’ll also promote it for you to cook teams and judges from around the country. The Kansas City BBQ Society is by far the biggest sanctioning group around the country and they have some info at and in Texas IBCA is the big group although they all cross over a little. and there’s Memphis in May too if you’ve got some of those teams in your area, As for the sponsors and charities etc., it’s like any other local event. Getting a service organization like the Rotary Club is always a big help. Other than that you’ve got to beat the streets looking for sponsors and be sure to check with local and state officials about a possible grant that might be available in your area. Also go to as many events as you can and talk with the organizers and see what they are doing. They’re usually willing to help. Find a great event and try to be like them. It’s a lot of work but can be a rewarding community experience.


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