Competition Rules

Full copy of rules can be found at the Whole Hog Barbecue Series website.


  • Each team must have a Chief Cook with a minimum of one assistant, but no more than three assistants.

  • Each team must comply with all applicable rules and regulations of the County Health Department and County Fire Marshall where the contest is being held.

  • Cookers must have documentation or labels on tents saying that tents are fireproof and should also have a fire extinguisher. Drip pans must be used to catch grease and should be disposed of in the designated area.

  • If blind tasting is done, this must be awarded separately and not tallied into the overall culinary winner who will be eligible to compete in the state championship.

  • If there is a tie, the winner will be determined based on the team with the highest score on “Meat & Sauce Taste.” If there is a tie in that category as well, the tie will be broken based on the team with the highest score for “Skin Crispness.”

  • Contestants may not sell or give food or beverages to the general public. Under NO circumstances are alcoholic beverages to be distributed to the general public by contestants.

  • It is the responsibility of the judges to determine if a pig is cooked fully and ready for public consumption. While each pig is required to have two thermometers inserted prior to judging, the temperature readings of the thermometers shall be used by judges as guides only in determining doneness. The final determination of a pig’s suitability for public consumption will be based on visual inspection by the judges and the judges’ decision will be final and not subject to appeal.

  • In the event of a disqualification due to temperature, a team should remain on site to complete the cooking of the pig so as not to waste the pig or the opportunity for the host organization to sell the meat, unless otherwise determined by the judges to be unsafe.


  • Pigs should NOT be sauced inside or out. Pigs that have been sauced will be disqualified.

  • Salt and baking soda may be used to draw out blood in the cleanup phase.

  • The ONLY ingredients allowed in the preparation and cooking in a sanctioned event are:

    • Pig

    • Water

    • Baking soda

    • Salt (Only plain table salt or kosher salt may be used; no flavored salts allowed.)

    • Oil

  • ANY other ingredients will result in disqualification.

  • Injecting pigs will NOT be allowed. Some examples might include but are not limited to sauce and product drippings. Those injecting pigs will be disqualified.

  • You can use any portion of the pig that is cut away.

  • NO external heat source may be used other than the grill. Some examples might include but are not limited to heat guns and torches. Those using external heat sources will be disqualified.

  • Removing soft spots will be deducted under the appearance category on the score sheet.

  • Pigs should be inspected upon receipt and any abnormalities should be documented before the pig is put on the grill. Problems should be reported to the event organizer to be reported to the judges.

  • Each contest may also need to add rules specific to their venue such as set up time, space allotment, parking, consumption of alcohol, event schedule, etc.