2021 NZBA Barbecue Alliance Contest Rules

Competition Rules, Conditions & Prizes.

  • New Zealand teams must compete in a minimum of 3 NZBA Sanctioned Championship Round Barbecue Competitions within the Calendar year to be eligible for the overall National Grand Champion Team prizes and to receive a National Ranking in their respective National Series. More than 3 competitions can be entered.
  • Teams can compete in any NZBA Sanctioned Championship Round contest and points awarded tallied on their own countries’ National Leaderboard. Other international teams are not eligible for the NZBA Leaderboards.
  • The best three Championship Series points from the Team’s best 3 competitions is tallied to reveal an overall Leaderboard score. Hand-ins that are not Championship Series Categories are not eligible for Championship Points, prizes or tally.
  • Championship Points are awarded at 100 points for a Grand Championship win, with a percentage of 100 points awarded for each subsequent team placing. For example 20 team contest will be awarded 100 points for GC, 95 points for RGC, 90 points 3rd, 85 points 4th and so on down to 5 points for 20th place.
  • National Ranking will only apply at the conclusion of the 2020 series with all leaderboard rankings throughout the year being a provisional ranking for tally purposes only. A team’s official National Ranking will be held for the duration of the following year.
  • Maximum of 4 Team Members only eligible per team to receive individual trophies/prizes.
  • Only New Zealand resident teams are eligible for the New Zealand Grand Champion Team, prizes and/or New Zealand Ranking for the competition year.
  • The team with the highest points score from their 3 best eligible contests will win the National Championship.
  • In the event of a tie for a Top 10 placing, a count-back system will apply to break a tie in the following order.

NZBA Championship Series Count-back System 2021

  1. Team with the highest aggregate number of teams beaten to win their 3 best GC’s will win the tie. i.e. Team 1, 3 x GC’s beating 30, 45, 50 teams = 125 teams beaten. Team 2, 3 x GC’s beating 30, 45, 49 teams = 124 teams beaten. Team 1 wins the tie breaker.
  2. Team with the most number of Grand Championship wins across the calendar year will win the tie.
  3. Team with the most number of First Place trophies in eligible categories across the calendar year will win the tie.
  4. Team with the most number of 2nd & 3rd Place trophies in eligible categories across the calendar year will win the tie.


The Jack Daniel’s New Zealand Barbecue Championship winners will receive:

  • Official New Zealand Grand Champion Team status. Will be assigned Team # 1 and Ranked #1 in New Zealand. Eligibility for International competitions to represent New Zealand as New Zealand’s official Number 1 Team.
  • $2,000 Cash (Presented via an oversized novelty cheque.)
  • Team Rings.
  • Individual team member trophies. Maximum 4 total.
  • Prominent perpetual accolade on the NZBA website.

Additional Team Prizes

2nd Place – $750 Cash + Team Trophy

3rd Place – $500 Cash + Team Trophy

Cash will be awarded via Direct Deposit no later than 31 December in the competition year, provided the team has supplied their direct deposit details to the NZBA upon request. Trophies hand delivered or posted to team wherever possible asap after the Number 1 team trophy presentation has taken place.

NZBA Sanctioned Contest General Rules 2021

All entries must be presented in a 9×9 inch clamshell container which will be provided to the teams at the competition.

  1. The lid on the box must close.
  2. All proteins must be cooked from a raw state, on site and wholly within the cooking window period.
  3. All entries must be presented within the hand in window of 5 minutes before to 5 minutes after the scheduled hand in time.
  4. Approved garnishes are allowed inside the hand in box, which are strictly and wholly green-coloured parsley, lettuce or kale.
  5. Only one entry per hand in category per team allowed.
  6. There must be at least 6 clear portions (can be more) in each box totaling 50g or the equivalent of a small handful per portion.
  7. Teams can hand in any combination of allowed cuts for that protein, provided there are at least 6 (can be more) portions in the box, the portions meet the minimum portion size/weight and the allowed cuts are fully adhered to.
  8. No identifying marks are to be present on the hand in box such as deliberate indentations, writing or scratching.
  9. No pooling sauce allowed in the box and all sauce to be contained wholly or predominantly on or mixed in with the protein.
  10. No foreign objects allowed inside the box which includes but is not limited to toothpicks, sauce containers, foil, other food elements other than those contained within the crust/bark or the sauce and wholly or predominantly on or mixed with the protein.
  11. Only approved units which are smokers/pits/barbecues/grills where the heat source comes only from wood or wood products including briquettes and pellets.
  12. Proteins must not be brined, rubbed, marinated or cured before the opening of the cooking window.
  13. Proteins may be pre-trimmed before the start of the cooking window.
  14. Cooking units may be pre-heated or started before the cooking window but competition proteins cooking processes must not start prior to the cooking window opening.
  15. 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.
  16. Teams may not sell or distribute food to the General Public unless the appropriate Food License is obtained and only with the consent of the Event Promoter.
  17. Teams may only compete in one competition at one time.
  18. One team per cook site only.
  19. The NZBA Head Judge will be the sole arbitrator of any dispute and their decision on site at the competition will be final in all cases with no further correspondence entered into by the NZBA.
  20. Teams must adhere to all NZBA/Event Promoter Rules and/or instruction at all times on site.


Boxed Entry Disqualification

  • Late to hand in. (Window is strictly 5 mins to 5 mins after hand in time.)
  • Wrong entry handed in (eg. Pork handed into Lamb category etc.)
  • An obvious identifying mark on the hand in box.
  • Using an unapproved method or cooking unit to cook the entry.

Boxed Entry Penalties

  • Excessive/intentional pooling sauce
  • Incorrect or unapproved garnish
  • Foreign object found in box
  • Handing in less than minimum portion size/quantity 

NOTE: All infractions are determined by the NZBA Head Judge on site at the event whose decision is final. See scorecard for guide on points deducted. 

Judging & Scoring

  • All entries are judged on Presentation, Texture & Taste.
  • Judges score each element out of 10 on their scorecards.
  • Scores are entered into the NZBA data entry system and awarded weighting to the value of:

Presentation – Single Weighted (out of 10)

Texture – Double Weighted (out of 20)

Taste – Triple Weighted (out of 30)

The lowest Judge Score from each of the three elements will be deducted from the overall score.

Total points available per entry is 300 points.

Additional Judging Notes

  • Ties are broken by counting back which team has the highest Taste Score for that entry. If the Taste Scores are tied between the teams, then the highest Texture Score for that entry will prevail. If the Taste & Texture scores are tied, then the highest Presentation Score will prevail. Further tie breaks will be applied thereafter including highest number of 10’s or 9’s scored in each element and so on until a winner is awarded. 
  • Judges may taste any or all portions in the box at their discretion.
  • Judges must not be team members of a competing team at that event.
  • Judges must not be spouses or partners of a competing team at that event.

Allowed Cuts & Methods

  • All cuts must be cooked on an NZBA approved unit as per General Rules and can be served chopped, sliced, diced, ground or pulled in any combination of those.
  • If grinding a protein to serve as a sausage or rissole, nothing more than a rub or sauce or the fat from that categories’ approved cuts may be used to bind, present and/or flavour the hand in. If using a skin for a sausage, the skin must not be from a foreign beast or unapproved cut. i.e. pork intestine cannot be used on a lamb or beef sausage. Pork intestine for a skin cannot either be used for the Pork Shoulder/Butt category, can only be used in Open Pork (any cut) category for example.
  • Proteins may be trimmed and prepared by a butcher and vacuum sealed, however no brines, liquids or powders are allowed to be added to the bag for preservation or curing.

Prohibited methods of cooking processes

  • Sous Vide, fully submerged poaching or par boiling
  • Deep or shallow frying in oil
  • Heat stamping with branding iron or similar

Prohibited cooking appliances

  • Gas or electric cookers (where the heat source comes from gas or electricity) for any process of cooking or holding the protein at temperature. However, gas or electric cookers may be used for sauces, glazing or starting a chimney or fire only.

Allowed Holding units

  • Esky or unpowered Cambro style holding unit(s) or inside or on an approved cooking unit only.

Allowed Category Cuts

Championship Series Eligible

  • Brisket – Flat or point sections
  • Chicken – Any cut.
  • Chicken Refined– One Half chicken, split vertical, served intact (not 6 Portions)
  • Beef Any Cut – Any cut.
  • Beef Refined – Brisket, beef cheek, ribs or chuck.
  • Beef Ribs – Short, back or chuck ribs.
  • Pork Any Cut – Any Cut
  • Pork Refined – Skinless Shoulder, neck or Boston butt.
  • Pork Ribs – Skinless pork ribs. A bone must be present in every rib.
  • Lamb – Any cut

Non Grand Championship, Non Championship Series Eligible

  • Whole Hog – Whole Hog Category will be judged in two stages:
    • Part 1 – Onsite Judging. The teams’ whole hog will be presented, head on or off, split or intact, garnishes may be used to dress the hog for presentation. A panel of 4 Judges will ask for a verbal presentation from the teams’ nominated Pitmaster on the cooking process/methods used to prepare the pig. Verbal Presentation score will be out of 5 points. Visual appeal of the whole hog as presented by the team, excluding the team site will scored out of 5 points. Total points available in Part 1 is 40 points per team.
    • Part 2. Blind Judging. The teams may present one hand in box (box provided by the event), with the contents of the box to include 6 portions of each Shoulder, loin and ham presented in the box left to right in order, shoulder loin and ham, no skin/crackle allowed, with all NZBA cooking methods, garnish and portion size rules applying to this box. Box scored based on the NZBA Judging criteria including weightings for Presentation, Texture and Taste. Total points available in blind judging is 360 points. Total overall points available including both judging elements is 400 points per entry. This is a Non GC Non CS Category. Judging window will be advised at the start of the competition cooking window by the NZBA Head Judge. Ties broken using the NZBA Processes as per any other hand in category.


  • Chef’s Choice – Cannot be served raw, must be cooked on approved unit, 6 portions minimum, lid must close. All other NZBA Rules apply. 
  • Mystery Ingredient/Promoter’s Challenge – Rules determined per event.
  • ANY OTHER PROTEIN – Rules determined per event
  • NZBA Lite (self Sanction) – Any protein category eligible, provided all other NZBA cooking methods, processes and Rules apply to the cook processes. No minimum or maximum number of categories per contest. No minimum teams in attendance applies. No Championship points awarded for this contest series. Eligibility to major competitions for an NZBA Lite GC winner will be provided by the NZBA on a case-by-case basis.
  • Steak Cookoff Association (SCA) – Rules and processes run by the SCA only, NZBA has no jurisdiction over SCA contests, see for all SCA Rules.

Mandatory Items team checklist

  • Sanitiser for general cleaning & hand washing
  • Latex or rubber gloves for food handling
  • First Aid kit
  • Washable cutting boards or trays
  • Esky, cooler or fridge for meat/ingredients storage
  • Paper towel or tea towels
  • Waste bin
  • Good working order Fire extinguisher
  • Digital probe or thermometer
  • Washable portable table or preparation station

Food Safety Guidelines

This is a General Guide only. Please consult with Event Promoter for specific ‘Rules’ applicable in the Town/City/State/Country per event as required.

  • Uncooked meats must be stored at or below 4 degrees Celsius at all times.
  • If using ice to keep meats cold, ice should be on top and fully covering the meat at all times.
  • All raw food should be wrapped, covered or placed in sealed washable containers whilst being transported and held at the event prior to cooking.
  • Vehicles and containers used for transportation of food should be kept clean and in good repair and food must be separated from other items such as cleaning materials, chemicals, animals and other non-food items.
  • Thermometers should be available and used to monitor food temperature at any/all times.
  • When handling and preparing foods, gloves should be worn or hands must be regularly washed to limit bacteria and other foreign objects entering the food/cooking process.
  • Safe holding temperatures for hot foods are above 70 degrees Celsius, noting that foods stored at between 5 and 60 degrees Celsius are far more susceptible to bacteria growth and harm to humans.
  • Note the nearest washing up area on site at a competition and regularly clean all used cooking equipment with the appropriate strength cleaning solution or sanitiser.
  • Smoking inside the cooking or preparation area should not occur.
  • Ensure appropriate measures are taken to keep preparation or cooking areas clean and clear of flies, insects or other pests.

NOTE: Even though food safety on site is the sole responsibility of the Promoter, poor food safety practices may result in the NZBA Head Judge excluding the team from competing, excluding a particular meat or food from being handed in or warnings given as required and at the sole discretion of the NZBA Head Judge, in consultation with the Event Promoter.


The NZBA promotes good sportsmanship, a family friendly environment and a safe competition environment.

  • Teams in breach of Rules for deliberately cheating, showing poor sportsmanship, bringing the NZBA into disrepute, bullying or intimidating other teams on or off the competition grounds may face suspension or permanent bans, loss of Leaderboard Points as determined by the NZBA on a case by case basis.

Teams & Judges Declaration

By participating in an NZBA Sanctioned Event, each participant including team member and competition judge forever and irrevocably releases and holds harmless the event organisers or promoters, its parents, subsidiaries and affiliates, and their respective agents, advertising and promotion agencies, contest partners and prize suppliers, and all of their respective employees, officers, directors, shareholders, affiliates, and agents from and against all claims, damages, or liabilities arising in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from (a) entrant’s participation in the Contest, or Contest related activities or events, (b) entrant’s Submission, (c) entrant’s representations and agreements in these Official Rules, and (d) entrant’s award, receipt, or use of any prize awarded in the Contest. The event organisers or promoters and the NZBA reserve the right, at their own sole discretion, to terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest at any time without providing compensation of any kind.

Copyright 2021 New Zealand Barbecue Alliance

No part of this document may be reproduced in any full or part form without prior written consent of the Directors of the New Zealand Barbecue Alliance.