Putting a (Meat Sample) Turn-in Box Together


My feeling is that if you are planning to compete you are already a pretty good cook, so this is geared toward the mechanics of competing in a Fla Panhandle BBQ Society event.  If you are thinking about entering a BBQ competition I truly hope this info will help you get started.

When building a blind box for Competition BBQ Contests in FPBS, remember in the FPBS that we do not use garnish (greens) in the boxes: no lettuce, parsley or kale. This rule is different to the rules of the KCBS and other sanctioning associations which allow the use of garnish. Putting together a meat turn-in box is like building a picture in a frame.

When you’re ready to place your entries into the turn-in boxes, choose the best pieces that you have cooked that day. Depending on the category, place at least 8 separate servings or pieces of meat in the box. One tip is to take a squirt bottle with a combination of apple juice and water and give the meat a slight "spritz" This gives the meat a sheen that really pops when the judges open the box. You don't want to drown the entry with the spritz and it shouldn't affect the taste of the entry at all.

The eye shouldn't be drawn to any particular area. The whole entry should appear uniform in size and shape. This will bring your appearance scores up, I guarantee!

You need to get down exactly how long it takes you to cook each entry from start to finish. Keep good records along the way for future reference. Then, on game day, you'll be ready for any challenge that comes along.

Ask Questions of other teams but do it at the right time. Tell them you are new to this whole BBQ Competition thing and ask questions. BBQ people are about the friendliest you're likely to meet. The busiest time at a competition is Saturday between 10 and 2 as the teams make final preparations and turn in their meat. This is not a good time to bother them. Other teams may not give away all their secrets but they will be helpful.


Now here are some Photos of good turn-in boxes

Chicken Box



You don’t want the chicken to look blotchy and uneven.  An application of a nice glaze or sauce with a uniform appearance looks good to the judges.  It is important they all appear to be about the same size. They need to jump out at you with a look of WOW!


Pork Box



The center of the box catches the eye so the meat should be centered. The bark pieces should look good and the meat should not look mushy. Place the meat neatly, in the box don’t make it seem that you just grabbed a "clump" of it and put it in the box.


I will say that in general, many teams take a money muscle and slice it into 6 or 7 pieces. They will also try to get 6-8 good, thumb-sized chunks with bark that are more or less equally sized and have a decent appearance.

Put the money muscle back together, along with the chunks and lay all of that on a bed of pulled/shredded.

Get creative.




This Box is not neat and orderly which does not look good to the judge.




Be careful with sauce smudges in the box this can detract for a good box.

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Join us in Promoting Grilling and Barbecue in the Florida Panhandle. The Fla Panhandle BBQ Society is all about making new friends, enjoying great events and learning how to cook great barbecue. We strive to keep this going, by inviting you to join our BBQ Family.


The FPBS is now Operating Three BBQ competitions during the year in the Florida Panhandle. We need members to assist with operations and enjoy the events. If you would like to become a FPBS barbecue judge we will train you.

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