sanctioning bodies of bbq, kdbs, scba, fba, florida bbq association, kansas city bbq association, south carolina bbq association

Sanctioning Bodies of BBQ set the guidelines for a BBQ competition and can vary by region. This photo is only a sample of all the sanctioning bodies of BBQ there are in the US and world.

Introducing Dillon Black, the newest GrillGrrrl contributor and competition BBQ afficionado (he competes on the Bubba and Son team in NC/SC):

As I am writing this many competition teams are competing at the famous Memphis in May World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest in Memphis, TN. This got me thinking about the different stationing bodies that regulate the world of competition BBQ.

Previously we established that competition BBQ was much more that people grilling out hamburgers and hotdogs and that it was a much more involved process. The same goes with how events are ran and how the meat is prepared, cooked and judged. The best way I can explain what a sanctioning body of BBQ does, is to compare it to NASCAR. As BBQ competitors, it is not a free for all at an event to cook whatever you want, when you want to, and how you want to cook it. An event coordinator must, in essence, hire a sanctioning body to preside over the event and make sure that everything runs smoothly and that competitors are judged fairly and equally.

Personally, the Bubba & Son BBQ team has only participated in KCBS and SCBA events. These two sanctioning organizations run in a similar fashion. KCBS (Kansas City BBQ Society) could be considered more for the advanced cook. In a KCBS event, a team must compete in all four meat categories- chicken, pork ribs, pork, and brisket to be in the running for grand champion. In a SCBA (South Carolina BBQ Association) event, usually a team only has to cook one meat (pork butt) and that meat is always provided to you by the competition organizers.

Another big difference in these organizations is what happens after the cook. At a KCBS competition when your meats are cooked and turned into the judges, you’re done. This isn’t so at SCBA event. Normally, a team will be cooking a large amount of meat and only turning in a small portion. The rest of the meat that was provided is to be given as samples to the spectators and they judge it as a “Tasters-Choice” award. Many KCBS organizers will have this as an optional event, but in a SCBA event this is mandatory.

One of the leading sanction bodies is the Memphis BBQ Network (MBN). MBN also has different requirements that are unique to their organization. At an MBN event whole hog is usually always on on menu- but not just to be turned into an entry box. Judges actually come to your cook-site and you have to, not only, cook a fantastic product, but you need to explain to the judges how you cooked it and what selections you are giving them to eat (if you want to win).

Accompanying these organizations is the Florida BBQ Association (FBA) and the Georgia BBQ Association (GBA). These groups are very similar to KCBS events that I have previously mentioned.

These sectioning bodies are all similar, but have their own quirks. The main reason for a sanctioning body is to make sure that the delicious meat you cooked all night is judged the most ethical way possible.

Most competition teams don’t pick which sanctioning body fits with their type of cooking. As you can see these organizations are usually regionally based. So go their websites, see if an event is near you and go cook! What do you have to lose(besides a substantial amount of money)? If you love cooking BBQ- any event will be a blast!


Have questions about a sanctioning body or ANYTHING BBQ? Email me-

Keep Smokin’


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