Backyard BBQ Cook-off


This competition is open to all ages and residents of Indiana.
We look forward to a great day of delicious grilled foods, friendly competition, great pork sampling, and fun music!

2019 Indiana State Fair – Saturday, August 10, 2019

The deadline to enter is Friday, July 26, 2019 or until all available contestant places are filled.


  • Setup and Cooking – 6:00am
  • Chef’s Meeting – 9:00am
  • Judging 11:30am – 3:00pm
  • Shoup’s & Indiana Kitchen Booth Sampling – 12:30pm
  • Awards – 5:00pm


  • Build a Hogburger® – 11:30am
  • Chicken – 12:00pm
  • Pork Loin – 1:00pm
  • Pork Ribs – 2:00pm
  • Indiana Kitchen Bacon Open – 3:00pm
  • Showmanship – 12:00pm – 3:00pm

Register Online

Enter your registration now!

Online Registration

2019 Backyard BBQ Cook-off Sponsors



  • Setup and Cooking – 6:00am
  • Chef’s Meeting – 9:00am
  • Judging 11:30am – 3:00pm
  • Shoup’s & Indiana Kitchen Booth Sampling – 12:30pm
  • Awards – 5:00pm


  • Build a Hogburger® – 11:30am
  • Chicken – 12:00pm
  • Pork Loin – 1:00pm
  • Pork Ribs – 2:00pm
  • Indiana Kitchen Bacon Open – 3:00pm
    Needs to be submitted with a recipe that utilizes Indiana Kitchen Bacon. No desserts will be allowed. Only meat, poultry, seafood or side dishes will be allowed. Indiana Kitchen bacon will be provided to teams at the Chef’s Meeting.
  • Showmanship – 12:00pm – 3:00pm
    Automatically entered – Judging based on theme, style, creativity and showmanship

Start Your Registration

BBQ Cook-off Archive

Backyard BBQ Cook-off Awards

All participants will receive a bottle of Shoup’s Barbecue Sauce and Seasoning.

Overall Grand Champion

$1000 & Prizes

Reserve Grand Champion

$500 & Prizes

Category Winners

  • 1st – $100.00
  • 2nd – $50.00
  • 3rd – $25.00


  • 1st – $300.00 & Prizes
  • 2nd – $200.00 & Prizes
  • 3rd – $100.00 & Prizes

Award Medals will be given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each category.

Terms & Conditions

  1. Judging will be done by equal six person teams
  2. Your sample will be judged by all members of a judging team.
  3. Each judge will rate the sample for APPEARANCE, TASTE and TENDERNESS on a 9 to 1-point scale. The TASTE score will be doubled. The lowest score will be dropped but will be used to break ties. The Build a Hogburger® category will be judged on APPEARANCE, TASTE and NAME. The five highest judges scores will be tallied for overall points. The lowest judges score (6th judge) will be dropped and not used for the totals.
  4. Results will be tallied. If there is a tie it will be broken as follows: The low score that was thrown out (as mentioned above) will be added to the cumulative score to break the tie. If still tied, the judging slips will be compared for the highest cumulative scores in TASTE first, then TENDERNESS, then APPEARANCE. All of these categories will utilize the 6th judges scores.
  5. Total points per entry will determine the category winner within each classification.
  6. Cumulative points for all classifications will determine the Grand Champion. Second place in cumulative points for all classifications will determine the Reserve Grand Champion. (Showmanship results do not add into cumulative scores; it will be judged as a separate contest.)
  7. All categories must be cooked on wood, charcoal, gas grill or a smoker.
  8. All meat must be checked in in a raw state—No precooked or marinated meat will be allowed prior to check-in. Bacon in its natural state is acceptable.


The Indiana State Fair Commission, Indiana State Fair Board, Shoup’s Country Foods and all other sponsors shall not be responsible or liable in any way for any losses, costs, damages, liabilities, debts or expenses incurred by the participants of the 2019 Indiana State Fair Backyard BBQ Cook Off, subsidiaries, affiliates, successors or assigns as a result of any acts, omissions or negligence of any person, firm, partnership or corporation attending or participating in the 2019 Indiana State Fair Backyard BBQ Cook Off weather or not the act, omission or negligence occurs prior to, during or following the 2019 Indiana State Fair Backyard BBQ Cook Off.

Instructions & Responsibilities

Instructions for Submitting Samples for Judging

  1. Judging will start at 11:20am—Saturday, August 10th – Only designated 4 person teammates can touch or handle your entries.
  2. Judging will be done on a category bases in the following order: 1. Appearance 2. Taste 3. Tenderness. Judging Times are Build a Hogburger® – 11:30am, Chicken – 12:00pm, Pork Loin – 1:00pm, Pork Ribs – 2:00pm, Indiana Kitchen Bacon Open – 3:00pm.
  3. Sample must be turned in on time. You will have a 10-minute window to turn in your entry. The Hogburger® category turn in starts at 11:20am with a final turn in time of 11:30am. All other categories will be turned in on the hour with a 10-minute grace period past the hour. Example: 12pm turn in means entries must be turned in by 12:00pm to 12:10pm.
  4. A horn will be blown to open and close the turn in time for each category. The rule is your entry must be turned in within the 10 minutes from the first to the second blow of the horn.
  5. Submit enough of your entry to feed six judges and place in the official container provided by BBQ Officials. Remember, appearance is one of the judging criteria. For the Build a Hogburger® category, you will need to submit two entries: One for appearance and the second cut into 6 pieces for the judges’ samples. Contestants will be provided two containers by the BBQ officials for this category. For the Indiana Kitchen Bacon Open Category you will need to submit 7 samples – 6 for the judges and 1 for display.
  6. If you cover your meat with sauce it will be judged that way. If you submit it dry (no sauce) it will be judged that way. No pooling or cups of sauce will be allowed for the judges to dip.
  7. Garnish is limited to only green leaf lettuce, kale, and common curly parsley. This means no aluminum foil. This applies for the Chicken, Loin, Ribs and Indiana Kitchen Bacon Open Categories. The only exception to this rule is the Build a Hogburger® category in which anything goes.
  8. Samples for judging must completely fit in the provided container with the lid closed for judging.
  9. All open entries must utilize Indiana Kitchen bacon. NO DESSERTS. This will be provided to you upon checking in. All Indiana Kitchen bacon open entries must be accompanied by your detailed recipe written on a provided card given to you upon check in. These recipes may be used by Shoup’s Country Foods or Indiana Kitchen for promotional purposes with proper acknowledgement given to the recipe creator. Indiana Kitchen bacon open categories will not be judged on tenderness. Only the “Indiana Kitchen bacon open category” will a contestant be allowed to use containers inside your box to help secure your entry if needed. Example: Baked beans would have a separate cup within the provided container, for each of the judges. All Indiana Kitchen bacon open categories must be prepared on a grill (wood, gas or charcoal) and utilize Indiana Kitchen bacon.

The Contest

  1. The Indiana State Fair Backyard BBQ Cook Off will be Saturday, August 10, 2019 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
  2. Competition is open to anyone. There is a limit of 4 people per team.
  3. Shoup’s Country Foods employees, sponsors and State Fair Commission employees are not eligible to participate.
  4. Shoup’s Country Foods requires all contestants to have a hand washing area at the individual booth setups.
  5. Designated barrels will be provided for proper disposal of charcoal at the end of the event.
  6. Contestants will be provided with (2) uncovered 8-foot tables for their booth space.

Contestant Responsibilities

  1. Set up will begin on Saturday, August 10th with check in at 6:00am to 10:00am
  2. No set up will be allowed before 5:00am.
  3. Chef’s meeting (required) at 9am
  4. No electricity will be available at your booth
  5. Booth space will be assigned and teams should be ready to cook no later than 10:00am
  6. A pop up shelter is encouraged for each team, however, it is required that they are weighted down. The fire marshal will be checking tents the day of the event.
  7. All teams will be required to cover the tables provided by BBQ officials. Any additional tables needed must be provide by the contestant
  8. Carts are very limited for loading out. Bringing your own cart would be beneficial.


The deadline to enter is Friday, July 26, 2019 or until all available contestant places are filled.

The Backyard BBQ Cook-Off Registration

Click here  to register or call Shoup’s at 1 (800) 646-4464.