NZBA League

NZBA League

The NZBA League comprises of cooking events run throughout New Zealand. The NZBA is a sanctioning body that administrates the judging and scoring of qualifying cooking contests. NZBA registered “Barbecue Teams” cook off and receive scores based on the NZBA Sanctioning system. These points are then accumulated over the Season Period. Barbecue Teams compete for event recognition, prize money and National Rankings to validate their barbecue cooking skills.


Season Period

The NZBA competition season opens Jan 1st and concludes Dec 31st each year.


Registered Barbecue Team

A Barbecue Competition Team (Team) is an individual or group of people that cook under a self-identified Team Name. Team names should be unique so as to avoid any confusion between teams. There is no NZBA governed limit to how many team members are allowed per team. However, some Event Promoters will only recognise the first four team members for awards, on-ground attendance or team entry fees and/or other benefits at their sole discretion. New teams can simply register their entry into any NZBA sanctioned event and will then be entered into the NZBA Team database and assigned a team number. The Team captain or Head Cooks primary residential address will determine the Country that any points count towards for leaderboards. Team Captains may not register multiple teams within a given Season Period.


Championship Round

A championship round is an NZBA Sanctioned cooking event that includes a minimum of 20 barbecue cooking teams. Event Promoters are free to select categories that reflect their needs. these categories do not have a bearing on the status of Championship Rounds – however these categories may affect the status of qualifying for both the National Protein Series and international events.


National Grand Champion

The National Grand Champion Team will be the Team that accumulates the most points for the Season Period. Points are awarded after each round, and the leaderboard is updated to give a YTD leader. The winner of the National Grand Champion title is confirmed after the Season Period ends and is awarded at the first cook-off in January each year.


National Reserve Grand Champion

The National Reserve Grand Champion team will be the team that accumulates the second most points for the Season Period.


National Ranking (Leaderboard)

The minimum number of teams for an event to be counted as a championship round is 20 teams.

NZBA Barbecue Teams must compete in a minimum of three (3) NZBA Sanctioned Championship rounds (in Australia or New Zealand) within the Season Period to be eligible for the National Championship Series, receive a National Ranking, and be eligible for associated prizes and or awards.


National Protein Series 2024

The NZBA also calculate National Protein Series leaderboards based on points accumulated for the season under the following protein categories:

Chicken (Open Chicken)

Pork Ribs

Pork (Pork Refined)



Championship Points

A NZBA sanctioned Championship Round carries a points base of 100 plus a 15% multiplier. The formula to calculate Leaderboard points is as follows: (100/T)P+(0.15T) where T=Total Number of Teams participating and P=Team overall Placing i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc calculated as T-P+1.


Example 1:

A NZBA Championship Sanctioned round comprising of 26 teams (T), would be calculated for the Barbecue Team placing 3rd(P) as follows:



Points awarded= 96.20


Example 2:

A NZBA Championship Sanctioned round comprising of 42 teams (T), would be calculated for the following Barbecue Team Placing 8th(P) as follows:



Points awarded= 99.15


The Australian Barbecue Alliance

The Australian Barbecue Alliance (ABA) administer the same sanctioning system as the NZBA with a few minor differences in how events are counted and qualify for the Australian National Championship and Protein Series. NZBA recognises points accumulated by NZBA registered teams that are gained at a ABA sanctioned events. These points can be added to a teams National Ranking and qualify for both the NZBA National Championship and National Protein Series.


Jack Daniel’s World Invitational Qualifier

The Jack Daniel’s World Invitational (The Jack) is held annually in October in Lynchburg, Tennessee, USA. New Zealand qualifies to have one team to represent the NZBA in this most exclusive and prestigious event. Jack Daniel’s (USA) administer the ballot for qualifying Grand Championship wins and this draw is published by Jack Daniel’s on Facebook in mid-August.

A Jack qualifier is an NZBA sanctioned Championship Round that comprises of Open Chicken, Pork Ribs, Pork Refined and Brisket only. A Grand Championship winner of Championship rounds that are more or less than these categories is not eligible for The Jack ballot.

 The Jack qualifying calendar is from 1st August through to 31st July and entries are submitted to Jack Daniel’s directly via their submission form and validated prior to the draw by NZBA admin.

Points accumulated at The Jack do not count towards any NZBA leaderboard.


American Royal World Series Of Barbecue Qualifier

The American Royal World Series of Barbecue (The Royal) is held annually (27 Sept – 1 Oct 2024) in Kansas City, Kansas, USA. The event comprises of a double header (two back to back cook-offs) Sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS). Day One is known as The Invitational and only admits NZ teams that have won a Grand Championship at any NZBA sanctioned Championship Round.

Day Two is known as The Open and admits and any registered Barbecue cooking team.

A team wishing to attend The Invitational at The Royal will register their entry with The American Royal and identify their qualifying GG win, KCBS will then contact NZBA to verify entry.

Points accumulated at The Royal do not count towards any NZBA leaderboard.