The grand champion of a “qualifying contest” will get the chance to compete at the following invitational contests.

To be a “qualifying contest”, the contest must have a minimum of 15 teams for a first year contest or 25 teams for each subsequent contest.  The teams must compete in the 4 required categories of chicken, ribs, pork, and beef (not ground).

These invitational contests may have additional qualifying criteria.  Please visit their respective websites for more information.

Cooking for the class:
Teams are encouraged to cook on site if they wish to do so. You can cook your category at home and bring it to the class if you can be there before your time. The new judges are encouraged to come around and talk with the teams while you cook so we prefer cooks on site.

Turn in times:
Members of the judging committee will make boxes, you just need to have your category to them by the times below.
Chicken – 3pm
Ribs – 3:30pm
Pork – 4pm
Brisket – 4:30pm

How much to cook:
Chicken – # of people attending the class plus 10 pieces (example: 35 attending the class, cook 45 pieces)
Ribs – 1 slab for every 6 judges plus 1 extra slab (example: 30 new judges taking class plus 1 slab = 6 slabs)
Pork – 1 pork butt for every 12 judges, always round up (example: 30 judges taking class = 3 butts)
Brisket – 1 whole brisket per every 18 judges, always round up (example: 30 judges taking class = 2 briskets with burnt ends)

You will present your receipt and proper contact information to the judging director at the judging class. The judging director will collect receipts, fill out the check request form, and give it to the treasurer. The treasurer will then mail a check to you in a timely manner.

Captain Porkard

NAME: Leah Cherni

TEAM NAME: Captain Porkard of the USS Burnt Enderprise

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED WITH BBQ: We started in BBQ in September 2014, we’ve been into all foods and cuisines for a long time as my husband is a Chef.

WHO DO YOU COOK WITH, HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ON YOUR TEAM: Leah Cherni, Rob Cherni, Phil Robinson, Bill Pinkston, Drew Pinkston. Family and very close friends is what our team is composed of.

HOW MANY COMPETITIONS HAVE YOU COOKED IN: We are a smaller team so we compete a few times a year, so we’ve done over a dozen competitions over the years but stay involved with judging and helping out in other ways for the SLBS.

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN BBQ: We entered the Wildwood Bash in 2014 because we thought competition BBQ looked like fun. We got a 2nd place rib call and at that moment we were hooked.

WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT YOUR FIRST COMPETITION: What we remember most is how nice everyone was and how willing people were to help each other. The whole weekend was overwhelming but we couldn’t have done it without help from our neighboring teams as we had never competed before and we were having some issues. I love that the SLBS is like a family, we are all there for each other like brothers and sisters.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR NEW COOKS: The Backyard Series wasn’t around when I first started so I think that is a wonderful way to dive into competition BBQ. I also think taking a certified judges class helps a lot. Talk to other teams, ask questions, make friends. BBQ is a friendly sport and having a lot of fun is part of it.

WHAT IS YOUR COOKING STYLE AND COOKER OF CHOICE: We cook Low and Slow on a Yoder Loaded Witchita. We enjoy the time it takes and honing our craft through the old school method.

WHAT IS YOUR SECRET WEAPON AT A COMPETITION: One of our secret weapons is our cooking fuel. We use a lot of quality woods to get the flavor and smoke that we want. Smoke is an essential ingredient in any good BBQ.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COMPETITION MEAT? WHAT POINTERS DO YOU HAVE FOR COOKING IT: My favorite is ribs. There’s so many ways you can cook them and I can’t get enough of them. As far as pointers, ALWAYS make sure your membrane is removed. That can ruin the best tasting ribs out there.

FAVORITE ST. LOUIS BBQ SOCIETY EVENT: Favorite event would have to be the Gala! Recognizing all the hard work of teams and judges, all coming together at the end of the year to celebrate the BBQ season.

BBQ ACCOMPLISHMENT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF: I am an active member of the St Louis BBQ Society and have loved helping and promoting the BBQ Society. My proudest accomplishment is an award I received a couple years ago. The Above and Beyond award I was awarded is a special recognition for going the extra step to help in the society.

WHAT DOES YOUR BBQ FUTURE HOLD: BBQ is not only my hobby, it’s a passion of mine. Due to some medical issues I was forced to retire from my career and wasn’t sure where to go from there but then we found BBQ. At the beginning I knew very little but now, after years of hard work, research, learning at every opportunity I can, and making lots of wonderful friends along the way, I can say that BBQ is what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.




As a contest organizer you want to hold a successful contest that teams will come back to year after year.  Money is
tight and trying to distribute prize money fairly and keeping as many people happy can be tough.

Other than a well run contest, teams are looking for a high percentage of their entry fees going to the payout pool.  Most would like to see 80-100% of entry fees going towards the purse.

Surveys in some popular BBQ forums have come back as most teams would like to see payouts go as far as 10th place.  We are calling out the team names down to 10th place why not award them as well.

Here are a few examples of distributing payouts using this strategy.  See if you can make it work for your contest.

5000 % 5000 % 5000 %
GC 900 18% GC 1000 20% GC 1100 22%
RGC 500 10% RGC 500 10% RGC 550 11%
3rd overall 300 6% 3rd overall 300 6% 3rd overall 350 7%
1st 250 20% 1st 250 20% 1st 225 18%
2nd 200 16% 2nd 175 14% 2nd 150 12%
3rd 125 10% 3rd 125 10% 3rd 125 10%
4th 75 6% 4th 75 6% 4th 75 6%
5th 50 4% 5th 50 4% 5th 50 4%
6th 25 2% 6th 25 2% 6th 25 2%
7th 25 2% 7th 25 2% 7th 25 2%
8th 25 2% 8th 25 2% 8th 25 2%
9th 25 2% 9th 25 2% 9th 25 2%
10th 25 2% 10th 25 2% 10th 25 2%
Catergories 3300 100% Catergories 3200 100% Catergories 3000 100%
Overall 1700 Overall 1800 Overall 2000
Total Payout 5000 Total Payout 5000 Total Payout 5000

This gives a few options for paying 10 places in each category and top 3 overall.  Below gives options for top 10 in both and shows how you can distribute payouts to make sense for more for GC and a little less for GC.


5000 % 5000 % 5000 %
Overall Overall Overall
GC 800 16% GC 900 18% GC 1000 20%
RGC 400 8% RGC 500 10% RGC 500 10%
3rd 200 4% 3rd 150 3% 3rd 125 3%
4th 125 3% 4th 125 3% 4th 100 2%
5th 75 1.50% 5th 100 2.00% 5th 75 1.50%
6th 50 1.00% 6th 75 1.50% 6th 50 1.00%
7th 50 1.00% 7th 50 1.00% 7th 50 1.00%
8th 50 1.00% 8th 50 1.00% 8th 50 1.00%
9th 25 0.50% 9th 25 0.50% 9th 25 0.50%
10th 25 0.50% 10th 25 0.50% 10th 25 0.50%
Categories Categories Categories
1st 225 18% 1st 200 16% 1st 200 16%
2nd 200 16% 2nd 175 14% 2nd 175 14%
3rd 125 10% 3rd 100 8% 3rd 100 8%
4th 75 6% 4th 75 6% 4th 75 6%
5th 50 4% 5th 75 6% 5th 75 6%
6th 25 2% 6th 25 2% 6th 25 2%
7th 25 2% 7th 25 2% 7th 25 2%
8th 25 2% 8th 25 2% 8th 25 2%
9th 25 2% 9th 25 2% 9th 25 2%
10th 25 2% 10th 25 2% 10th 25 2%
Catergories 3200 100% Catergories 3000 100% Catergories 3000 100%
Overall 1800 Overall 2000 Overall 2000
Total Payout 5000 Total Payout 5000 Total Payout 5000

SLBS Team Two Butts and a Ham was featured on Fox 2 News with a non-traditional recipe to cook for labor day.

Some of our BBQ community is stepping upon a big way to help those affected by the Texas storms.

Our friends with Victorian Sales and Big Boots BBQ raised money and collected diapers for children and families to get them down to Texas! Such a gracious and caring gesture from some amazing people and a wonderful community.

Big applause to Big Boots BBQ and all their hard work, and a big thank you to those that helped in the Arcadia Valley area. Check out the video that highlights what they did to help out their fellow man, woman, and child.