New This Year - Rib Cooking Competition 

Ribs Cooking on a Grill

New this year and open to local backyard BBQ enthusiasts who are ready to take their skills to the next level. Entrants must bring their own grill and the meat will be provided by Kettle Range Meats. Teams are limited and there is a fee of $100.00 to enter. Max of 6 persons per team. Deadline to enter is August 24, 2018. Deadline extended to August 26, 2018

Notes for those who have registered :

Thank you for registering to be a part of the first rib competition as part of the 2018 Big Gig BBQ!   On behalf of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. and Kettle Range Meats, we are thrilled to welcome you onto the Summerfest grounds for this fun event.   Below are some event logistics that will help you plan ahead.  However, if you have additional questions after reviewing the information please reach out to:

Jenna Smith for all event logistics questions –

Joe Parajecki for all BBQ competition questions –


  • The competition is scheduled for Sunday, Sept 2, 2018. 
  • Key timing for competitors:
    • 5 a.m.: Gate 6 open for BBQ team arrival
    • 6 a.m.: MANDATORY morning meeting for all BBQ teams (includes rib distribution)
    • 1:30 p.m.: Rib turn in
    • 4 p.m.: Winners announcement on the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse stage
  • Participants should plan to enter the grounds via GATE 6 (see attached map) to be escorted to your assigned location. 
  • Please plan to unload all of your gear and then remove your vehicle from the grounds to be parked in LOT A. 
  • As a reminder, no gas grills are allowed in this competition.  If you have a pellet grill that needs electricity, please send an email to Jenna to be placed in an area with access to one outlet for this purpose.  NO ADDITIONAL ELECTRIC SERVICE WILL BE PROVIDED.
  • Competitors must attend the mandatory morning meeting at 6 a.m.  Cooking locations will be based around the tent where this meeting will occur and the location will be pointed out to you upon your arrival that morning.
  • You may begin cooking at your leisure after ribs are distributed.
  • The event will occur rain or shine—please plan accordingly.
  • Ribs provided to you at the morning meeting – 2 racks of St. Louis style ribs.   Ribs will not be trimmed.
  • Turn in boxes will be provided to you.  Please read through the rules thoroughly to understand the judging process and to comply with the guidelines provided for this competition.
  • Turn in deadline is: 1:30 p.m. DO NOT BE LATE!
  • Turn in location is the Briggs VIP deck.  At the end of the morning meeting, we will walk you to this location so there is no confusion as to exactly where turn in will occur. 
  • The Big Gig BBQ will officially open to the general public at noon.   At the time of turn in, there will be people on the grounds so plan to navigate through a crowd to get to the turn in location. 
  • You may pack up your space at any time after turn in.  However, you will not be able to bring your vehicle onto the grounds until the event closes at 7 p.m.
  • Designated disposal areas for coals or other flammables will be on site for your convenience. 
  • Winners will be announced on the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse Stage at 4 p.m.




General Regulations

  • The date of the Competition is September 2, 2018 from 7:30a-3:30pm, with a competition BBQ turn-in time of 1:30pm.
  • Barbecue is considered pork meat (fresh or frozen and uncured) prepared only on a wood and/or charcoal fire
  • All meat used will be provided by Kettle Range Meats on September 2, 2018 at a mandatory team meeting on the morning of the Event. Only this meat shall be used in the cooking competition. There will be no exceptions.
  • All cooks shall be present during the time the meat is provided
  • The meat shall be refrigerated when not being cooked at a temperature of 40 degrees
  • No type of flammables may be used with the cooker once the meat has been placed on the cooker
  • Teams shall have the utmost autonomy when cooking their meat, subject to these official rules. All decisions for taste, preparation, or seasoning shall be up to the teams.


  • There will be one (1) team per cooking area. The regulations for the cooking areas are found below.
  • Team members may only cook with their registered team
  • Each team will be charged a $100 entry fee at the time of registration. There will be no refunds of the entry fees for any reason, including a team’s disqualification.
  • There will be a maximum of fifty (50) teams in the Competition
  • Teams will have until August 26 to enter the competition—or until capacity is reached.
  • Each team is responsible for observing required temperature control and good hygienic practices. Teams are responsible for learning and understanding these regulations as provided by the federal and state health department codes.
  • Shirt and shoes must be worn at all times
  • There will be no use of tobacco products inside the footprint
  • Teams may consist of amateur or professional cooks/chefs, or any combination thereof
  • As per safety regulations, there may be a maximum of six (6) people in the cooking space. Contestants must immediately comply with all MWF directives pertaining to cooking space.

The Cooking Area

  • Teams will be provided a 10’x10’ space. Teams may NOT venture or utilize space outside this footprint as part of the competition.
  • MWF will NOT be providing a grill to contestants. Each team is responsible for providing their own supplies, ingredients, and utensils.
  • The following types of grills are allowed: charcoal, pellet, or wood smokers and grills. 
  • The following types of grills are NOT allowed: gas smokers or gas grills
  • For safety reasons, use of chairs not needed for medical or accommodations reasons shall be limited
  • Only those inside the footprint may assist with the cooking
  • This is not a tag-team style competition. Further, please limit the number of persons in the space to those who are involved in the cooking process.
  • Sampling is NOT allowed to those outside the footprint. Those not involved in the cooking process are not allowed to hand non-essential items to those inside the footprint. Contestants may leave the cooking area to retrieve beverages or food. PLEASE NOTE: Receiving beverages from someone outside the cooking area into the footprint is at CONTESTANTS OWN RISK and Contestants shall immediately comply with any MWF staff instructions pertaining to handing beverages inside the footprint.
  • There will be absolutely no sale of the meat, either before, during, or after judging time.
  • Contestants may not dig pits and fires are not allowed in the footprint
  • The following is a non-exhaustive list of violations that will result in immediate disqualification:
    • Excessive use of alcoholic beverages or public intoxication with a disturbance
    • Serving alcoholic beverages to the general public
    • Use of illegal controlled substances
    • Foul, abusive, or unacceptable language or any language causing a disturbance
    • Fighting and/or disorderly conduct, including excessive negative interaction with other teams
    • Theft, dishonesty, cheating, use of prohibited meats, or any act involving moral turpitude
    • Use of gas or other auxiliary heat sources inside the cooking device.
    • Excessive noise from team’s sound equipment. Use of sound equipment is subject to the approval of MWF and team shall immediately comply with any direction pertaining to sound equipment by MWF personnel and security.


  • The turn-in deadline for the Competition will occur on September 2, 2018 at 1:30 p.m.
  • All meats must be prepared prior to judging. No finishing touches or additional changes may be made to the meat once it is submitted for judging.
  • Meat shall not be sculptured, branded or presented in a way to make it indicative of the team preparing it
  • Teams must submit six (6) prepared ribs to be judged. MWF shall provide a numbered container for the ribs; this is each team’s unique identification number. Judges shall not have access to the numbering system.
  • BLIND JUDGING: Each judge will sample entries without knowing which team cooked them. GARNISH IS NOT allowed in the blind box, including sides of sauces.
    • All sauces must be utilized on the meat prior to turn-in. Please do not make any attempt to “puddle” or otherwise pool a sauce for consideration.
  • Placing anything other than the meat or making any marks on any of the containers will result in disqualification.
  • Judges are instructed to compare ONLY the samples judged for the day, and ignore any previous tasting experiences, competitive or otherwise.
  • Judges may not consult with any visitors, culinary professionals, or any other outside opinions while they are judging. Please do not encourage this.
  • Judges will be instructed to judge the sample as it is provided by the team.
  • Scoring System: Entries will be scored on a scale of 2 to 9, with 9 being the highest possible score. A score of 1 is a disqualification. Scores shall begin at 6 and go up or down for each criterion.
  • There will be one (1) First Prize winner of the Competition – The winner of the First Prize will receive a cash award. There will be ten (10) subsequent prizes. The amount of those Prizes will depend on the total number of entries. The odds of winning a Prize is 1: total number of entries, considering the skill of each team.
  • Categories of Judging
    • APPEARANCE OF ENTRY – How appetizing does the entry appear? The entry should be appealing to the eye, on the grill, on the plate and in the blind box.
    • TENDERNESS OF ENTRY – The entry should be moist and easy to chew. It should pull easily from the bone but retain body with moisture.
    • FLAVOR OF ENTRY – Are there smoke and flavors cooked into the meat?
  • Scores for each category will be made available to each team at the conclusion of awards and are posted online at