Scoring Procedures



All scores from the 6 judges will be used and will be totaled to determine the category ranking.



Places are determined by judging points. The entry with the highest total points (appearance + texture + taste) will take 1st place for that category; second highest number of points takes 2nd place; and so on.



If a tie occurs, the discarded low scores are added back, and the winners are determined as follows, in this order:

1. The highest total points of TASTE scores from all 6 judges.

2. The highest total points of TEXTURE/TENDERNESS scores from all 6 judges.

3. The highest total points of APPEARANCE scores from all 6 judges.

4. A one toss coin toss by the Head Judge.



Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion will be determined by adding together each team’s judging scores from all qualifying contest categories. The highest accumulated team score will be awarded Grand Champion, and the second highest accumulated team score will be Reserve Grand Champion.



In case of a tie in total judging scores, Category Tie Breaker procedures C.1, C.2, C.3 and C.4 will be applied to the score totals of all qualifying contest categories. If a tie still exists, the prize money for Grand and Reserve will be added together, and then divided equally. A three toss coin toss by the Head Judge will determine the declared Grand Champion.

Judging Procedures



The Florida Panhandle BBQ Society (FPBS) strives to ensure that all contests are professionally conducted. Contest promoters, coordinators, contestants and judges work hard to make these events successful. Without their hard work, these events would not be possible!



Judges at FPBS events may judge food categories including: Pork Ribs, Pork Butt, Chicken, Brisket, Sauce etc. Categories as specified by the contest promoter and/or coordinator. If you are not willing to sample all of these categories, please excuse yourself as a judge.



1. Entries will be judged by a judging team, which is comprised of six judges who are at least 18 years of age.

2. Smoking is not allowed in the judging area at any time.

3. No alcoholic beverages may be consumed in the judging area. It is preferred that judges not drink alcohol during the judging periods. Alcohol infractions are grounds for immediate disqualification as a judge, and offending judges will be replaced. Water is the only beverage allowed to be consumed by judges during the judging.

4. Judges may walk the cooking grounds on the day of judging however they are prohibited from tasting samples or socializing with teams other than friendly greetings.

5. If you fail to abide by these judging guidelines, the Head Judge may choose to remove you from further judging.



1. The competitive meats may be presented sliced, diced, pulled, or chopped.

2. The FPBS recognizes pulled and chopped meat in the Pork Butt and Brisket categories only.

3. Competitive meats will be judged for Appearance, Tenderness/Texture, and Taste.

4. Garnish is not allowed in sample boxes according to the FPBS rules.

5. Sample Containers may not have any of the following marks/items:

a. Toothpicks, skewers, foil or foreign non-food category materials.

b. Sauce containers or sauce pools.

c. No marking or sculpting of the food that leads to identifying the cook/team.

No identifying or distinguishing marks placed in or on the container by the contestants.

(Containers may be marked by the FPBS judging staff for purposes of maintaining the blind judging criteria.) Any entry not complying with the marks/items rule will be disqualified and be assigned a score of 0 by the Head Judge in ALL scoring categories.

6. A minimum of eight, separate, identifiable food portions MUST be submitted. In the case of pulled or chopped meat, there needs to be a sufficient amount for each judge to take a sample. (It is acceptable for a team to submit more than the minimum eight portions.)

7. If a judge picks up a piece of meat and there are two or more pieces stuck together, they will not shake, pull, or cut the pieces apart. This will be brought to the attention of the Table Captain or Head Judge. If there is not enough product for each judge to receive a separate piece, judges who do not receive a piece will be instructed to score the entry on appearance only.



1. Please remember… judging is very serious to the contestants! They have dedicated a lot of time and money to compete in this event. Judges owe them the best independent and impartial judging that can be provided based upon FPBS cooking and judging guidelines.

2. The FPBS uses a double-blind judging system: the numbers on the entries are not the actual contestant numbers. Please do not remove any tape used for identifying the entries, and do not remove any entry containers from the judging area.

3. Entries are judged in the areas of APPEARANCE, TENDERNESS/TEXTURE, and TASTE.

4. Scores range from 10 to 5, with 10 being the highest and 5 the lowest. A “0” is given for disqualification, and must be assigned by the Head Judge.

5. Judges will not compare or rank one entry/sample with another. Judge each item on its own merit. Taste and score each entry individually. There may be more than one entry with a score of 10 (or any other number), and that is okay!

6. Appearance scores will reflect the attractiveness of the whole presentation.

7. Tenderness/Texture and Taste scores come from individual pieces taken and tasted by each judge.

8. The judges must provide three scores for each entry submitted, using the 10-to-5 rating scale.

A verbal description of the numeric scale might be:


10 = Outstanding barbecue.

9.5 = Excellent barbecue.

9 = Very good barbecue.

8.5 = Much better than average, but not nearly among the best.

8 = Slightly better than average.

7.5 = Average barbecue. (Starting Point)

7 = Slightly below average.

6.5 = Well below average barbecue.

6 = Poor barbecue.

5.5 = Bad barbecue.

5 = The worst barbecue – inedible

0 = Disqualified (Given by Contest Rep. Only)





1. Judges will mark judging sheets with their names, table number, and the category being judged.

2. Judges should try to keep their judges slips free of grease, sauce, etc. and should write in large, bold, readable numbers to avoid confusion during data entry. Judges will bring judging slip mistakes to the attention of the Table Captain, and the Head Judge will determine the course of action.

3. Each judging table will judge anywhere from 4 to 6 entries per food category. The Table Captain will tell the judges the number of the entry box; which judges will mark on their judging sheet.

4. If more than 6 entries are to judged in a category at a table, another slip will be used for the additional entries.

5. First, an entry box will be shown for appearance to all judges at the table. Judges will then mark their appearance score on the judging slip. Second, that entry will be passed around the judging table for judges to take a sample. Judges will place the sample on their judging plate. Third, the judges will sample the entry and mark judging slips with scores for Tenderness/Texture, and Taste. Judges will mark the scores as they sample the entries and will ensure that all three scores are marked on the judging slip before the next entry is presented.

Judges should not compare entries! This process will continue until all entries at each table are judged.

6. Judges should score carefully! Once a judge has recorded a score of an entry, it cannot be changed unless directed by the Head Judge, due to a rules infraction.

7. Judges should limit eating during the judging. If judges eat all that is presented to them, they could easily consume two pounds of meat or more! 7. Judges should take their time! There is ample time between entry categories for judges to adequately judge a sample.

8. Judges are not allowed to talk or discuss entries once they have been brought to the judging table. Judges will complete their judging sheets and pass them to the Table Captain. Talking may  resume quietly once the Table Captain has received all of the judging sheets from the table. Judges should be considerate of judges and tables around them, as they may not yet be finished judging their entries.

9. If judges fail to abide by these judging guidelines, the Head Judge may choose to remove them from further judging.



Join the FPBS Today


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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