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November 4, 2023

Ribtoberfest 2023

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Best Bite Chili Cook-Off
Sponsored by Brenner-Hass Beef

November 4, 2023

Spaceship Earth Coffee Co. See Venue

Sponsored by

Official Rules


The competition is Saturday November 4, 2023. Each team must arrive and check in between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 am at Spaceship Earth Coffee located at 345 E. Choctaw Avenue in McAlester. Upon arrival each team will receive two full racks of untrimmed pork spare ribs and 2 pounds of 70/30 fresh ground beef chuck provided by local producers Brenner-Hass Beef. Teams will also receive two t-shirts and/or cooking aprons, foil pans and gloves. At check in each team will be instructed to return for a cook’s meeting that must be attended by one representative from each team to receive the competition boxes and procedures for turning in entries. Bring additional ice, chairs, canopy for shade and all cooking essentials. Cooking will be done in the street in front of buildings.

Entry Fee: $125.00 includes both Ribs and Chili competition entries.


General Rules:

  1. The event will be judged by a panel of judges and will be in a “blind judging” format.
  2. The head cook of a team must be 18 years old.
  3. The Cookoff promoter/organizer will provide each team with two full racks of untrimmed pork spare ribs.
  4. Each team will receive a black Styrofoam container that will be used to turn in ribs for judging. The box will have two envelopes taped to it which contain your team number.  Do not open or remove the envelopes.
  5. Each team will place five ribs, separated, in the box to be judged. Sauce can be applied to the ribs.  Side sauces or garnishes are not allowed.
  6. Turn in time will be between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm. No ribs will be accepted after 6:00 pm.
  7. Do not remove the envelopes from your box. After you turn in your box you will be given one of the envelopes.  This contains your number.  Do not open the envelope until you are instructed to do so at the results ceremony.
  8. Teams are subject to random ice chest inspections by any contest organizer.
  9. Should there be a tie after all tie breakers, the tying teams would split the combined financial payout.
  10. Cooks may cook on any fire or heat source.
  11. Each team needs to cook on a separate fire source with the following exception: Trailers that have multiple grills or large grills that are totally divided are allowed as long as each cooker has their own fire source.
  12. NO other pork ribs should be present at the cook site other than the ones given to the teams.
  13. Ribs may not be removed from the teams numbered cooking area except to turn in the entry.
  14. Ribs may not be marked or branded in any way. (Grill marks are not considered marking)

Reasons for Disqualification:

  1. Ribs other than the ones provided for the event found in team area
  2. A rib entry turned in after the time window has expired
  3. Any foreign object found in the turn in box (this includes garnishes and separate sauces)

Judging Criteria:

Ribs will be judged with the following criteria:

Appearance—Each judge should have ample opportunity to view the ribs before they are removed from the box. Each entry will be scored between 1-10. Appearance is purely subjective and is based on each individual judges’ preferences. All aspects of the appearance should be considered including but not limited to uniformity, color and shape.

Texture/Doneness—Ribs should be tender, easy and pleasant to chew but should not fall off the bone. Ribs should hold onto the bone after a bite is taken. Each rib entry will be scored between 1 10. Scores will be reduced for overcooking or undercooking equally.

Taste—Taste should be judged between 1 10. This is purely subjective and based on the seasoning choices and potentially the application of sauce by the cooks. Sauce is not required nor encourage or discouraged. To use sauce or not is totally up to the cook. Scores will not be reduced or increased simply by the presence of sauce. Any sauce that is used should complement the meat and no overwhelm it.

Overall Impression—The final category is based on the judge’s overall impression of the entry using the above criteria and any other personal criteria that the judge subjectively chooses. Ribs will be scored 1.0-10.0 and the judges will be encouraged to use decimal points to avoid ties.

  1. The order of tie breakers for ribs is: 1) Taste 2) Texture 3) Appearance
  2. Total score from each category wins

Winning Prize: $2,000.00


  1. The Best Bite Contest is included in the entry fee.
  2. Each team will receive 2 pounds of fresh ground chuck produced by Brenner-Hass Beef from their Pittsburg County herd.
  3. Each entry must turn in five individual portions of chili with each portion measuring at least ½ cup in size.
  4. The ground beef is being provided as part of the entry fee but it is not required that the beef is used in your chili recipe.  Teams are allowed to use any protein that they choose for the chili cookoff or they can use the Brenner-Hass beef by itself or paired with another meat.  Teams can use any seasonings, vegetables or other ingredients that they choose, including beans.  However, premade chili or chili not prepared on site on the day of competition is not allowed.
  5. Each chili entry must be prepared at the cook site and must be made from scratch by the competing team.
  6. The chili entries will not be blind and each team must be prepared to present the entry to the judges, explain and describe the ingredients and cooking process and answer questions.
  7. Any method of preparation is allowed as long as it is prepared on site.
  8. Contestants may serve the chili entry in any manner they choose and will not be provided turn in boxes.
  9. Chili entries will be with regard to Appearance, Taste, Originality and Overall Impression.

Winning Prize: $1,500.00


  1. The People’s Choice contest is optional and no additional entry fee is required.
  2. Each team will be given a People’s Choice placard with their team name that must be displayed at the cooking station to participate in the People’s Choice contest
  3. At the designated time teams will prepare their food and make it available at their cooking station for both the public and the secret judges.
  4. A panel of secret judges will blend in with the public to sample food from all the teams that have their team displayed. The judges will rank their top 5 in order of their preference.
  5. Teams can prepare as many different food items as they want and any category of food is acceptable as long as it was made by the participating team at their cook station.

*(Turn-in times subject to change)

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