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Did You Ever Run a Cook Off?

I helped to run a BBQ Cook off a couple weeks ago. It was in conjunction with our Misquamicut Beach Fallfest. The Fallfest consists of carnival games, rides, food booths, and lots of entertainment over a 3-day weekend after all the summer people have gone back home to school & work!

We only had 5 entrants but everyone involved loved it & wants to do it again. So I'm planning something for Springfest & I want to go in a different direction that smoked meats. I'm thinking Chowder (we're in RI), Chili, or Wings.

For the BBQ Cook Off, the entrants brought all of their own equipment & supplies and cooked there from start to finish, other than their BBQ sauce, which they brought already prepared. We provided tables, trash cans, containers for the judges' food, and prizes.

If I was to do something different the next time, could I expect people to supply all their own equipment? Things get a little more complicated when you're doing something with several ingredients. How much of the cooking would have to be done onsite? Everything is held outdoors.

I participated in 1 Cook Off a couple yrs ago but it was run by a large company so they supplied us with stoves (& electricity) at in indoor venue. We brought everything else we needed with us when it was our turn to cook.

If anyone has any ideas on how to run one of these things successfully, I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Thank you,
Corinne

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  1. No, but it sure sounds fun, and I would like to do one. For some reasons, I read your title completely wrong. Instead of "Did you ever run a Cook-Off?", I read "Did you ever run a cook off (as in: scare a cook/chef away)?"

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      When the other cook mistreats my good knives, I run her off!

      1. As you become more successful, your rules are going to have to get more detailed. Sorry about that.

        1. I would love to do this where I live but it's such a small location, I'm not sure it would go over. I have participated in a few competitions sponsored by national big name businesses and I enjoyed them immensely. They supplied everything, equipment & ingredients which is more enticing for entrants than having to haul everything a distance. Recipe contesting is my hobby so I spend a lot of time researching, creating recipes and entering competitions.

          IMO, you would get more entrants if you supplied at least the means in which to cook the dish as in a stove, oven, portable stove etc. Many people don't own portable stoves or other cooking devices (not counting a grill) so that prevents some from entering. Also, some people won't enter a cook-off if they have to buy their own ingredients to make a dish at the competition.

          If you were running a competition in which the item being judged is chicken for example, if you could supply the meat and tell competitors that they are free to bring any other ingredients in which to enhance the dish, you probably would get more competitors. You might ask local businesses to sponsor the cook-off and donate money for the chicken or provide one of their products which could be used in the contest, like a seasoning, for example.

          Also, providing a prize with a high value might convince those who would otherwise not enter because of say, lack of a portable cooking device, to maybe invest in one just so they can compete.

          If you have limited time for competitors to cook, you might consider allowing them to do a part of what they need to make ahead, like a sauce or marinating something.

          1. BBq outfitters supplies the eggs for eggfest and the cookoff is done on green eggs

            maybe you can find a sponser like that?

            when I did a Tails and Trails fundraiser for a nature restoration project ... the corps of engineers lent us five smokers and one of the ROTC corps helped with parking

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