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Rules for those wishing to compete:


Date: The Party is on Saturday August 14th.


Let’s start with some frequently asked questions:


Can I bring my dog?

NO!! Dogs and 1000 lbs of meat - it doesn’t work, we’ve tried it in the past – sorry.


Will there be electricity?

No.  The event will not provide electricity to teams and campers. General lighting will be available. However, you can bring it yourself (generators, batteries, car inverter etc).


Can I USE electricity?

COF-a-Que Rules are very clear here – electricity is not allowed for cooking, warming or preparing your FOOD – IE: your electric slicer cannot be used to carve your brisket. If you want to use electricity for lighting, decoration or running a blender that is permitted.


Then what can I use?

Charcoal, wood, pellets, etc are allowed.  Propane Gas is allowed


Is overnight camping available?

Yes.  We encourage you to come set up your tents, campers, etc and spend the weekend. It is much easier to stay and pack up Sunday morning.


I’m dying to get my smoker set up and pop a top.  How soon can I come?

The Competitor gate opens at 12:00pm Friday July 31st. Please check in at the Information booth to get your assigned cook site.


Are there fabulous prizes available to me?

Well, define “fabulous”.  There is a trophy awarded to the winner of each category. 


Screw cooking!  I want to stuff my face!  How do I get to be a judge?

A panel of judges led by The Head Grenk will determine the winners in each category. If you wish to be on the judging panel please sign up on-line at www.cofaque.com/judges. There are a limited number of spots, so if you are interested get your request in early!  There will be a mandatory judges meeting the day of the competition so you will have to be there early-ish.  Like around 12:30pm.



Cooking must be done “THE DAY OF” the cook-off at the official cook-off site. Grills can NOT be lit before 12:00am Saturday.

Cooking must be done ON a Grill. The COF-a-Que head judge will determine what constitutes a “Grill”. We have deemed pretty much anything a grill in the past so be creative but safe.  For instance – a 55 gallon drum with a fish trap hanging over it, is a grill.  An electric smoker is NOT a grill.  But, only because it’s electric.

Entrants must make arrangements for their own grill (i.e. bring your own, arrange to share one with another competitor, etc., again creative but safe).  COF-a-Que will not provide grills.

All teams must also bring a table of some sort for serving food and a trash can. (Table may be a Card table, or Buffet table, or Saw Horses and a board, use your imagination).  If you have a fire extinguisher and could bring it we’d appreciate it.

Chicken means CHICKEN not turkey, quail or canary. Those fall under the Random meat or Game category. Beef means beef not buffalo etc.

You do not have to tell what food you are cooking until the day of the COF-a-Que.

Entry and Registration:


COF-a-Que rules define a Barbeque Team as 1 captain, 3 team members, a grill, a table and a trash receptacle.

         All Teams must be registered before judging begins.

         You may submit only 1 entry per category.

         There is an entry fee of $10.00 per team. This fee grants each team a 12’x12’ cook site on competitors row, and 4 all-access wrist bands. (Additional team members will be asked to contribute the regular COF-A-Que entry fee)

         Teams must also put up $5.00 for each category entered. This fee will constitute the prize money for each category. If you win the category you take the pot. If you’re good you will get your money back plus!!!


There will be a cook’s meeting the day of the event at noon.  Please send your captain or a  team representative.  Boxes for judging will be handed out at the meeting.


One entry per category.  Please be advised that all food will be categorized by the Head Grenk.  We know that you think chili with grilled pork is an appetizer, but we don’t eat chili as an appetizer or for the soup course.  It’s pork.  Chili is a meal.  It goes in the pork category.  Rough definitions of the categories are below. 

• Appetizers: Traditional appetizers made on the grill.  This tends to be the hardest category for defining since (for instance) chicken satay is traditionally considered an app but is also definitey grilled chicken.  Work the the Grenk here.


• Chicken:  Chicken.  Not poultry or winged mammal.  Just chicken. 


• Seafood: Fish, shrimp, crab, crawfish.  Anything you could obtain at Wegman’s seafood counter.  Maybe Lotte’s, although some of that would probably fall into Random Meat.


• Grilled sides & Other grilled (non-meat entries): Vegetarian or vegan grilled dishes, grilled veggies, grilled side dishes and any other grilled non-meat.


• Non grilled Sides (does not have to be cooked on site): Cornbread, potato salad, baked beans, cole slaw.  You know, all the goodness that surrounds BBQ.


• Beef (except Brisket): meat that comes from a cow.  Except the brisket.


• Beef Brisket: The brisket cut of a cow.


• Pork (except ribs): meat that comes from a swine, except for the ribs.


• Pork Ribs: The ribs of a pig.  Cuts commonly known as spare or baby back.  Please note that “country style ribs” are considered as part of the pork category and not the rib category. 


• Game: Meat that comes from an animal for which you may obtain a license to hunt in the continental US.  That does not mean you have to kill it, but think of it that way.  Deer, birds (but not chicken), elk, wild boar etc. would be included here.  We know that you can buy duck and rabbit at the Old People’s MacGruder’s but it goes here anyway.  Not saying we like it, but it’s gotta go somewhere.


• Random Meat: Meat typically obtained in some way other than hunting it.  This includes lamb, goat, buffalo etc.  Alligator also falls under random meat.  If you want to argue this, the Head Grenk is from Louisiana.  He asks that you bring your alligator hunting license if you wish to compete in the game category with alligator meat.


• Dessert (does not have to be cooked on site): Dishes of the type one would typically enjoy after a savory meal.  Sweets.  Cakes.  Grilled fruit with ice cream. 


• Presentation/People’s Choice: 5 judges will choose best 3 teams – applause wins

Teams must have food entries ready by the designated time for each category.  Groups will be called, not individual categories.  Please know when your category is due to compete and be ready.

Times are as follow:


3:00 judging





Non-grilled sides


Other grilled (nonmeat)


4:00 judging





Pork ribs


Random meat


5:00 judging










All entries are blind box. Each category will be judged separately and awarded accordingly by a team of independent, impartial, professional BBQ judges,  Or whichever of our reprobate friends can be asked to sign up before the day of the competition.  To be honest it’s usually judged by the latter but we at least try to pick people that know something about BBQ.


The Presentation/People’s Choice will be judged by a random strolling judge team. 



6:00pm – 7:00pm Announcement of Winners


Other notes:

Each team must provide at least one trash receptacle and is responsible for removal of its own trash from event site.

Teams must make every effort to remove grill ashes from site – Please do not throw ashes on the ground. Ash cans will be available

Party Time: Doors open at dawn on Saturday August 14th.

• A separate number known only to the Head Judge will be subsequently assigned to teams and that number will be given to each Team Chief to use at submission/judging.

•Announcements for entries to be brought to the judging area will be made at 3:00, 4:00 and 5:00 pm via the public address system.

• Entrants must be registered any time before judging begins.

• Each team must use their designated competition sites.

• Tarps are encouraged, but not provided

If you would like to bring a side dish, even if you’re not competing (i.e.: salad or chips or a dessert) PLEASE do.  The more, the merrier!

Chairs and table space may be at a premium so bring your own chair if you want to make sure you have a place to sit.

See ya’ll there