• A minimum of 10 teams for an event to be counted as a championship round
  • Australian teams must compete in a minimum of five (5) ABA Sanctioned Championship rounds (in Australia or New Zealand) within the 2024-2025 season (1 January 2024 to 30 June 2025) to be eligible for the overall national grand champion team prizes and to receive a national status.
  • Teams are encouraged to compete in New Zealand sanctioned events however only their best two (2) results from New Zealand can be utilised for the Australian Championships.
  • Championship points are awarded as per previous years, plus a bonus of 15% of the number of teams that competed. For example a minimum 10 team competition winner will be awarded 101.5 points for grand champion (GC), 91.5 points would be awarded for RGC, 81.5 points for 3rd, 71.5 points for 4th place and so on down to 11.5 points for 10th place. 50 team contest example – 107.5 points for GC, 105.5 points for RGC, 103.5 points for 3rd, 101.5 points for 4th place and so on down to 9.5 points for 50th place.

All entries must be presented in a 9×9 inch clamshell container which will be provided to the teams at the competition.

  1. The lid on the box must close.
  2. All proteins must be cooked from a raw state, on site and wholly within the cooking window period.
  3. All entries must be presented within the hand in window of 5 minutes before to 5 minutes after the scheduled hand in time.
  4. Approved garnishes are allowed inside the hand in box, which are strictly and wholly green-coloured parsley, green-coloured lettuce or green-coloured kale.
  5. Only one entry per hand in category per team allowed.
  6. There must be at least 6 clear portions (can be more) in each box totalling 50g or the equivalent of a small handful per portion.
  7. Teams can hand in any combination of allowed cuts for that protein, provided there are at least 6 (can be more) portions in the box, the portions meet the minimum portion size/weight and the allowed cuts are fully adhered to.
  8. No identifying marks are to be present on the hand in box such as deliberate indentations, writing or scratching.
  9. No pooling sauce allowed in the box and all sauce to be contained wholly or predominantly on or mixed in with the protein.
  10. No foreign objects allowed inside the box which includes but is not limited to toothpicks, sauce containers, foil, other food elements other than those contained within the crust/bark or the sauce and wholly or predominantly on or mixed with the protein.
  11. Only approved units which are smokers/pits/barbecues/grills where the heat source comes only from wood or wood products including briquettes and pellets.
  12. Proteins must not be brined, rubbed, marinated or cured before the opening of the cooking window.
  13. Proteins may be pre-trimmed before the start of the cooking window.
  14. Cooking units may be preheated or started before the cooking window but competition proteins cooking processes must not start prior to the cooking window opening.
  15. There is no ABA governed limit to how many team members are allowed per team. However, some Event Promoters will only recognise the first four team members for awards, on-ground attendance or team entry fees and/or other benefits at their sole discretion.
  16. Teams may not sell or distribute food to the General Public unless the appropriate Food License is obtained and only with the consent of the Event Promoter.
  17. Teams may only compete in one competition per weekend unless a double header by the promoter.
  18. One team per cook site only. Clear segregation between sites is mandatory, and you MUST have separate cooking units. Cooking units and team sites CANNOT be shared.
  19. Team sites must not be completely enclosed for the duration of the competition; one wall of Marquees must be open and facing the walkway/event so head judges, promoters and general public can view the area while the event is open to the public. Enclosed trailers must keep doors open to allow access for head judges and ABA crew access and for safety purposes during the event while the event is open to the public. If the event is not open to the public, walls and doors must be open to ABA crew at least 1 hour before the first hand-in until the last hand-in is complete.
  20. The ABA Head Judge will be the sole arbitrator of any dispute or infraction and their decision on site at the competition will be final. In the rare instance of a data entry or coding error, results may be overturned to reflect the correct scoring and results after the event.
  21. Teams must adhere to the ABA code of conduct and Event Promoter Rules and/or instructions from the promoter and ABA Crew at all times on site. 

Infractions and Penalties


  • Late to hand in. (Window is strictly 5 mins to 5 mins after hand-in time)
  • Wrong entry handed in (eg. Pork handed into Lamb category etc)
  • Using an unapproved method or cooking unit to cook the entry. 


Boxed Entry Major Infraction

  • An obvious identifying mark on the hand inbox.


Boxed Entry Penalties

  • Excessive/intentional pooling sauce
  • Incorrect or unapproved garnish
  • Foreign object found in box
  • Handing in less than minimum portion size/quantity


Infractions and Penalties Scoring Guide

  1. Major Infraction
  2. Raw, Inedible
  3. Portion or Garnish Infraction
  4. Minor Object or Sauce Pooling Infraction
  5. Poor
  6. Below average
  7. Average
  8. Good
  9. Very Good
  10. Excellent


Judging & Scoring

  • All entries are judged on Presentation, Texture & Taste.
  • Judges score each element out of 10 on their scorecards.
  • Scores are entered into the ABA data entry system and awarded weighting to the value of:
    • Presentation – Single Weighted (out of 10)
    • Texture – Double Weighted (out of 20)
    • Taste – Triple Weighted (out of 30)
  • The lowest Judge Score from each of the three elements will be deducted from the overall score.
  • Total points available per entry are 300 points.



  • Head judges are trained by the ABA to execute the judging process with a  professional and unbiased manner at all times on and off the field.
  • Teams must show a sportsmanlike manner at all times towards head judges on and off the field, any unruly behaviour towards the ABA head judge will be forwarded to the teams committee for review with a possible warning/suspension or ban awarded to the team. Please refer to the ABA Code of Conduct. 


Additional Judging Notes

  • Ties are broken by counting back which team has the highest Taste Score for that entry. If the Taste Scores are tied between the teams, then the highest Texture Score for that entry will prevail. If the Taste & Texture scores are tied, then the highest Presentation Score will prevail. Further tie breaks will be applied thereafter including the highest number of 10’s or 9’s scored in each element and so on until a winner is awarded.
  • Judges may taste any or all portions in the box at their discretion.
  • Judges must not be team members of a competing team at that event.
  • Judges must not be spouses or partners of a competing team at that event.


Allowed Cuts & Methods

  • All cuts must be cooked on an ABA approved unit as per General Rules and can be served chopped, sliced, diced or pulled in any combination of those.
  • Proteins may be trimmed and prepared off site and vacuum sealed, however no brines, liquids or powders are allowed to be added to the bag for preservation or curing.


Prohibited methods of cooking processes

  • Sous Vide, fully submerged poaching or parboiling
  • Deep or shallow frying in oil
  • Heat stamping with branding iron or similar


Prohibited cooking appliances

  • Gas or electric cookers/box warmers (where the heat source comes from gas or electricity) for any process of cooking or holding the protein at temperature. However, gas or electric cookers, may be used for sauces, glazing or starting a chimney or fire only.


Allowed Holding units

  • Esky, unpowered Cambro-style holding unit(s) or on an approved cooking unit only.


Allowed Category Cuts

Championship Series Eligible


  • Chicken 1 – Open Chicken, any cut.
  • Chicken 2 – One-Half chicken, split vertical, served intact (not 6 Portions).
  • Brisket – Whole, Flat, Half, or Point sections.
  • Beef 1 – Open Beef, any cut.
  • Beef 2 – Brisket, Beef cheek, Ribs or Chuck.
  • Beef Ribs – Short, back or chuck ribs. Cooked/served on or off the bone.
  • Pork 1 – Open Pork, any cut.
  • Pork 2 – Shoulder, neck or Boston butt (can be cooked skin on, all cuts to be served skinless).
  • Pork Ribs – Skinless pork ribs. A bone must be present in every rib.
  • Lamb – Open Lamb, any cut


Non-Grand Championship, Non-Championship Series Eligible


Whole Hog – Whole Hog Category will be judged in two stages:

  • Part 1 – Onsite Judging. The teams’ whole hog will be presented, head on or off, split or intact, garnishes may be used to dress the hog for presentation. A panel of 4 Judges will ask for a verbal presentation from the teams’ nominated Pitmaster on the cooking process/methods used to prepare the pig. Verbal Presentation score will be out of 5 points. Visual appeal of the whole hog as presented by the team, excluding the team site will scored out of 5 points. Total points available in Part 1 is 40 points per team.
  • Part 2. Blind Judging. The teams may present one hand in box (box provided by the event), with the contents of the box to include 6 portions of each Shoulder, loin and ham presented in the box left to right in order, shoulder loin and ham, skin/crackle allowed, with all ABA cooking methods, garnish and portion size rules applying to this box. Box scored based on the ABA Judging criteria including weightings for Presentation, Texture and Taste. Total points available in blind judging is 360 points. Total overall points available including both judging elements is 400 points per entry. This is a Non GC Non CS Category. Judging window will be advised at the start of the competition cooking window by the ABA Head Judge. Ties broken using the ABA Processes as per any other hand in category.

Chef’s Choice

  • Cannot be served raw, must be cooked on approved unit, 6 portions minimum, lid must close. All other ABA Rules apply.

Mystery Ingredient/Promoter’s Challenge

  • Rules determined per event.
  • ANY OTHER PROTEIN – Rules determined per event
  • ABA Lite (self-Sanction) – Any protein category eligible, provided all other ABA cooking methods, processes and Rules apply to the cook processes. No minimum or maximum number of categories per contest. No minimum teams in attendance applies. No National Championship or Protein Championship points awarded for this contest series. Eligibility to major competitions for an ABA Lite GC winner will be provided by the ABA on a case-by-case basis.
  • Steak Cook-off Association (SCA) – Rules and processes run by the SCA only, ABA has no jurisdiction over SCA contests, see for all SCA Rules.

Mandatory Items team checklist

  • Sanitiser for general cleaning & hand washing
  • Latex or rubber gloves for food handling
  • First Aid kit
  • Washable cutting boards or trays
  • Esky, cooler or fridge for meat/ingredients storage
  • Paper towel or tea towels
  • Waste bin
  • 4.5L Fire extinguisher in date (ABE) OR 9kg Water Fire Extinguisher clearly visible and located within the team area (this is determined by what use of smokers are used at competitors site)
  • Digital probe or thermometer
  • Washable portable table or preparation stations

Fire Extinguisher:

4.5kg DRY POWDER (ABE) – These are available at Bunnings.

This extinguisher carries 4.5kg of dry powder extinguishing material with a 10A 60B E classification. This extinguisher is rated to extinguish paper, wood, cloth, rubber and many plastics, as well as flammable liquids and are suitable for electrical fires.

You are most welcome to carry a 9kg Water Extinguisher with ABE Fire Extinguisher however be mindful this will not extinguish an electrical or fat fire.

Covid Regulations
  • All teams must abide by the state government or the promoters restrictions and guidelines in relation to covid.


Food Safety Guidelines

  • This is a General Guide only. Please consult with the Event Promoter for specific ‘Rules’ applicable in the Town/City/State/Country per event as required.
  • Uncooked meats must be stored at or below 4 degrees Celsius at all times.
  • If using ice to keep meats cold, ice should be on top and fully covering the meat at all times.
  • All raw food should be wrapped, covered or placed in sealed washable containers whilst being transported and held at the event prior to cooking.
  • Vehicles and containers used for transportation of food should be kept clean and in good repair and food must be separated from other items such as cleaning materials, chemicals, animals and other non-food items.
  • Thermometers should be available and used to monitor food temperature at any/all times.
  • When handling and preparing foods, gloves should be worn or hands must be regularly washed to limit bacteria and other foreign objects entering the food/cooking process.
  • Safe holding temperatures for hot foods are above 70 degrees Celsius, noting that foods stored at between 5 and 60 degrees Celsius are far more susceptible to bacteria growth and harm to humans.
  • Note the nearest washing up area on site at a competition and regularly clean all used cooking equipment with the appropriate strength cleaning solution or sanitiser.
  • Smoking Cigarettes/Vapes inside the cooking or preparation area MUST not occur.
  • Ensure appropriate measures are taken to keep preparation or cooking areas clean and clear of flies, insects or other pests.

Personal Hygiene/Food Standards

  • The ABA expects teams to maintain a very high level of personal presentation & food standards, including but not limited to, hand washing, regularly sanitising workspaces, correct storage of food, clean and tidy clothing attire and footwear for ALL team members.


NOTE: Even though food safety on site is the sole responsibility of the Promoter, poor food safety practices may result in the ABA Head Judge excluding the team from competing, excluding a particular meat or food from being handed in or warnings given as required and at the sole discretion of the ABA Head Judge, in consultation with the Event Promoter.


ABA Code of Conduct

  • The ABA promotes good sportsmanship, a family-friendly environment and a safe competition environment. Teams in breach of Rules for deliberately cheating, showing poor sportsmanship, bringing the ABA into disrepute, bullying or intimidating other teams on or off the competition grounds may face suspension or permanent bans, loss of Leaderboard Points as determined by the ABA on a case by case basis.
  • Please read our full Code of Conduct at


Teams & Judges Declaration

  • By participating in an ABA Sanctioned Event, each participant including team member and competition judge forever and irrevocably releases and holds harmless the event organisers or promoters, its parents, subsidiaries and affiliates, and their respective agents, advertising and promotion agencies, contest partners and prize suppliers, and all of their respective employees, officers, directors, shareholders, affiliates, and agents from and against all claims, damages, or liabilities arising in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from (a) entrant’s participation in the Contest, or Contest related activities or events, (b) entrant’s Submission, (c) entrant’s representations and agreements in these Official Rules, and (d) entrant’s award, receipt, or use of any prize awarded in the Contest. The event organisers or promoters and the ABA reserve the right, at their own sole discretion, to terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest at any time without providing compensation of any kind.


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