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2024 Backyard Pitmaster Challenge

2024 Springhill Outfitters' Backyard Pitmaster Challenge Rules 

  • Registration for the event is $150 per team and is due to Springhill Outfitters no  later than May 25th, 2024. 
  • 20 Team cut off. 
  • The meat being cooked for judging will be ribs and brisket. All meat will need to  be supplied by cooks and will need to be inspected prior to being prepped.
  • Set up will begin on Friday, May 31st at 12pm. Cooking sites will be available first  come, first serve. 
  • Pitmaster meeting will be held at 6:00pm Friday. This will also be where teams  receive their scoring numbers. 
  • There will be two bonus competitions on Friday evening including a chicken wing  cookoff and best cocktail. Entry will be $20 per category with a 100% payout to 1winner per category. All items needed for this will need to be supplied by the  teams. Each team must provide 6 or more chicken wings (no garnish is required)and 6 cocktails for the judges. Turn in time for the cocktails will be 7:30p and  chicken wings will be turned in at 8:30p. Winners will be announced on Saturday  during the awards presentation.  
  • Quiet time to begin at 11pm and extend to 6am the following morning.
  • Turn in time on Saturday for ribs will be 11a and brisket will be 11:45a.
  • Awards presentation will take place following the judging of the meat. Breakdown  and cleanup with then ensue. 


  1. Overall Grand Champion: $1000 and Trophy 
  2. Reserve Grand Champion: $500 and Trophy 
  3. Both judged meat categories will each have individual prizes: 1st $125, 2nd $75, 3rd  $50. 

Additional Rules 

  • The decision and interpretations of the Springhill Outfitters' Pitmaster Challenge  are at the discretion of the Springhill Outfitters' Pitmaster Challenge  Representatives at the contest. Their decisions and interpretations are final to the  extent consistent with the rules.
  • Each team shall consist of a chief cook and no more than 3 assistants. There  will be no more than 4 people allowed in or around each cook site for the  duration of the event including Friday and Saturday. 
  • Each team shall be assigned a cooking space of 10x20. Pits, coolers, props,  trailers, vehicles, tents, or any other equipment (including generators) shall not  exceed the boundaries of the team's assigned cooking space. All seasoning and  cooking product shall be done within the assigned cooking space. Teams shall  not share an assigned cooking space or cooking device. 
  • Contestants shall provide all needed equipment, supplies and electricity.
  • Contestants must adhere to all electrical, fire, and structural codes. A fire  extinguisher (not provided by Springhill Outfitters) shall be near all cooking  devices. 
  • It is the responsibility of the contestant to see that the team's assigned cooking  space is clean and orderly following the contest. All fires must be put out and all  equipment removed from the site. It is imperative that clean-up be thorough. Any  team's assigned cooking space left in disarray or with loose trash, other than at  trash containers, may disqualify the team from future participation. 
  • Fires shall be of wood, wood pellets, or charcoal. Gas and electric heat sources  will be permitted for cooking and holding. Propane or electric is permitted as fire  starters. Electrical accessories such as splits, augers, or forced draft are  permitted. Fires shall not be built on the ground. 
  • Turn-in times will be confirmed at the Cook's Meeting. An entry will be judged  only at the time established by the contest organizer. The allowable turn-in time  will be five (5) minutes before to five (5) minutes after the posted time with no  tolerance. A late turn-in will receive a one (1) in all criteria. 
  • Garnish is required. Garnish is limited to chopped, sliced, shredded, or whole  leaves of fresh green lettuce, curly parsley, kale, flat leaf parsley, and/or cilantro.
  • Sauce is optional. If used, it shall be applied directly to the meat and not be  pooled or puddle in the container. No side sauce or containers will be permitted  in the turn-in container. Chunky sauce will be allowed. 
  • The container shall not be marked in any way so as to make the container unique  or identifiable. Aluminum foil, toothpicks, skewers, foreign material, and/or  stuffing are prohibited in the container. Marked entries or containers with the  above listed material will receive a one (1) in all criteria from all judges. 
  • Each contestant must submit at least six (6) portions of meat in an approved  container. If there is not enough meat for each judge to sample, the shorted  judge(s) will score a one (1) on all criteria, and the judges having samples will  change the Appearance score to one (1). 
  • The following cleanliness and safety rules will apply: 
    • Cleanliness of the cook, assistant cooks, cooking device(s) and the team's  assigned cooking space is required. 
    • Shirt and shoes are required to be worn. 
    • Sanitizing of work area should be implemented. Each contestant will  provide a separate container for washing, rinsing, and sanitizing of  utensils. 
  • There will be no refund of entry fees for any reason.
  • Quiet time will begin at 11pm and will be observed until 6am.
  • CAUSES FOR DISQUALIFICATION & EVICTION of a team, its members,  and/or guests: 
    • Serving alcohol to the general public. 
    • Use of illegal controlled substances. 
    • Foul, abusive, or unacceptable language or any language causing a  disturbance. 
    • Excessive noise, including but not limited to that generated from speakers,  such as radios, CD players, TVs, public address systems, or any other  amplifying equipment. 
    • Fighting and/or disorderly conduct 
    • Theft, dishonesty, cheating, use of prohibited meats, or any unmoral act.

Judging Procedures 

  • Springhill Outfitters' Pitmaster Challenge allows for blind judging only. Entries will  be submitted in an unmarked container provided by the contest organizer. The  container may be renumbered by the Springhill representative or authorized  personnel before being presented to the judges. 
  • Judging will be done by a team of five (5) judges per meat. All judges are at least  16 years of age. Only judges, contest representatives, and necessary support  staff are allowed in judging area during the judging process. No other activities  are permitted in the judging area, during the judging process. 
  • Each judge will first score all of the samples for appearance of the meat. The  turn-in containers will then be passed around the table and each judge will place  a sample from each of the containers in the appropriate box on the judging plate.  Judges shall not lick their fingers while taking these samples; paper towels, non scented wipes or damp wash clothes are preferred. The judge will then score  each entry for taste and tenderness, before moving on to the next entry. 
  • The scoring system is from 9 to 2, all whole numbers between two and nine may  be used to score an entry. 9 excellent, 8 very good, 7 above average, 6 average,  5 below average, 4 poor, 3 bad, 2 inedible. 
  • A score of one (1) is a disqualification. 
  • The weighting factors for the point system upon deployment of Springhill's score  will be: Appearance-.5600, Taste-2.2972, and Tenderness-1.1428.
  • The low score will be thrown out. Results will be tallied. If there is a tie in one of  the categories, it will be broken as follows: The scores will be compared  (counting all five judges) for the highest cumulative scores in taste, then  tenderness, then appearance. If still tied then the low score, which was thrown  out, will be compared and the higher of the low scores will break the tie. If still  tied, then a coin toss will be used. 
  • Total points per entry will determine the champion within each meat category.