BBQ Competition Rules

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Southern Smoke N Sip Festival – Information, Rules, and Regulations

SSNS Festival is now Sanctioned by: LONE STAR BARBECUE SOCIETY

The Southern Smoke N Sip Festival retains the right to modify these rules and regulations at any time with or without notice to participants.

The Team Leader listed at the time of registration is considered the main point of contact for a team. The Team Leader will be responsible for ensuring that the team adheres to these rules. Please note that additional regulations may be added as deemed necessary.

Violators to the rules and regulations contained herein may face disqualification from this contest and forfeit their right to participate in any future contest.

  • Apple nor Google is not involved in any way with no part of the festival nor activities of the event.
  • Apple nor Google has no part in sign up’s, prizes, tickets, contest or sweepstakes if the event was to present or display any such activities.


A. Registration Information and Requirements
  • ALL teams must register through the online registration system. Registration is only open until all available competitor spaces have been paid & filled..
  • Each team leader will be contacted via the email address on record and will be provided the link for competition agreement. Sharing of the agreement is prohibited and may result in disqualification from the event.
  • The entry fee for each competitor space is $200 – $500. Payment must be made at the time of signing the agreement. You are welcome to go directly to City of Helotes and obtain the permit yourself at a much cheaper rate of $65. Here is a link to purchase online City Food Permit for $65. But If we have a rep obtain your permits you will pick a Gold Row, Platinum Row, & Diamond Row Packages for us acquiring your permit to serve cook BBQ on the Festival Grounds. PERMIT ONLY
  • No Insurance will be required by competitors only Food Vendors.
  • When the event BBQ slots reaches capacity, there will be an online wait list. If space becomes available, those on the waitlist will be contacted.
  • Spaces are non-transferrable and cannot be resold. Refunds and cancellations are subject to the following policy:
  • Refund request must be send at least 30 days in advance and 75% will be returned to the competitor.
  • If SSNS Festival Association is notified at least 20 days before the date of event, 50% of your payment (as made at the time of signing agreement) will be refunded.
  • Refunds will not be issued if notification is received less than 30 days from the event.
  • Each registration may only consist of ONE TEAM, regardless of the number of spaces you purchase.
  • Deadline for Competitors to sign up & Make Payments is May 15th (Are until slots are filled)
  • All Prize Totals is $20,000 or 80% of collect BBQ competitor fees whichever is the least. If fees collected do not exceed $25,000 then the competitor pay out’s will be determine from 80% of the collected funds.
  • Organizer reserves the right to add bonus prizes to be given to competition winners if the organizers as such please.
B. Registering Multiple Teams

If you plan to enter multiple teams, you must complete an individual registration for each team, not space. For example: if you plan to purchase two spaces and enter as two teams, Team A in space 1 must register separately from Team B in space 2.

  • Each team will designate a Team Leader and a Chief Cook:
  • All hard copy mailings (wristbands, parking passes, tickets) and emails will be sent to the Team Leader. It is the Team Leader’s responsibility to share the information with other team members.
  • The Team Leader and the Chief Cook may be the same person for one team.
  • If entering multiple teams, the Team Leader should be the same person for all teams. The Chief Cook MUST BE DIFFERENT FOR EACH TEAM. Teams may NOT share pits.
  • All awards, prizes, or invitations to other cook-off events will be awarded to the Chief Cook, with any prize money being mailed to the Chief Cook at the Chief Cook’s address on record.
  • Please be considerate of the event’s family atmosphere when choosing your team name. We reserve the right to decline team names.
  • Each Team Leader must sign and submit an Indemnification and Release form. Forms will be sent to the Team Leader’s email and must be received by May 15, 2024. This is required to receive your wristbands and parking passes prior to the event.
  • Teams wishing to sell a product or service to the general public, in which the profits are not intended for donation will not be allowed. If you want to sell your extras and donate them to selected SSNS Charity of choice you may do so with direct admin or written permission. If a team is found selling out of their team space at the event without consent, they will be charged a fee of $450 if not paid within 30 days after the event they give the SSNS festival organizer the right to lawsuit for damages or breach of policy .
  • All winners must fill out a W-9 in order to be eligible for prize money over $500. All checks for prize money will be mailed out after the SSNS Festival event and after the W-9 is received. If SSNS Festival does not receive the W-9 by July 1st, 2024, prize money will be forfeited.
C. Team Placement
  • Requests must be made in the appropriate section at the time of online registration.
  • All requests will be based on availability. No guarantees will be made that your request will be fulfilled or that you will be located in the same space from year to year.


A. Prohibited Items
  • Pets are not allowed on the premises; however, service animals will be permitted. Service animals are defined as dogs (or miniature horses when reasonable) that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for persons with disabilities. Such animals are welcome in areas where the public is allowed to go. Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless These devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individuals must maintain control through voice, signal, or other effective controls. All other animals, including comfort animals, emotional support animals and therapy animals are prohibited.
  • Drones, Selfie Sticks, pepper spray/mace, hoverboards, firearms (concealed or open carry) and laser pointers are not permitted on the premises at any time. Other items deemed unacceptable by management will be addressed at the event.
  • Knives are to be used for prepping food only and shall be kept in the prep area while in use. While not in use, knives should be stored away in a secure area and not left out in the open.
  • Climbing, cutting, moving, or removal of any fencing is prohibited. The fencing is in place for the safety of the teams. Altering the fencing in any way is grounds for disqualification and removal from the property.
B. General Information
  • Southern Smoke N Sip management, security and SSNS Festival Association committee members with “ALL ACCESS” badges shall have access to any team’s space at all times (with proper identification).
  • Upon arrival, team Ambassadors will deliver the team’s event packet. Ambassadors will be onsite beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday.
  • The Team Information Office will also be open at this time.
  • Each team will receive a laminated space number with their packet. TEAMS MUST PROMINENTLY DISPLAY THEIR SPACE NUMBER AND TEAM NAME AT ALL TIMES.
  • Once teams have displayed their space number, the team’s Ambassador will issue the team a container pickup card. This card must be presented for container pickup.
  • Teams must keep all activities and exhibits within their designated space and must not be in the aisles for any reason.
  • Each team is responsible for temporary toilets, water, trash containers, etc.
  • Failure to comply with all safety requirements and regulations may result in disqualification and removal from the property.
  • Cook-off site contains uneven and unimproved surface areas with limited accessibility.

C. Load in and Load out – Vehicles, Trailers and RVs

1. General Information
  • Team and equipment load in begins on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. and ends on Friday at Noon 12:00pm
  • For safety reasons, we ask that you please use due diligence and keep the aisles clear at all times beginning from the time of your arrival.
  • Alleys and walkways throughout the event are designated as emergency access and must remain clear at all times. Please adhere to this upon arrival by keeping vehicles within your space and parking all others in the parking lot once you have unloaded.
  • Golf carts, ATVs, scooters and other motorized vehicles are prohibited except for official use by SSNS Festival and La Creme Event Association personnel. Bicycles, motorized scooters, skateboards, hoverboards and Segways are also prohibited. Violators may be disqualified and banned from this and all future contests.
  • Teams with a permitted parking pass may load in supplies on Friday and Saturday morning from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.
  • No outside drinks will be allowed in through the gates during general public hours. Please plan accordingly. Teams will be allowed to bring in food.
  • All teams must be cleaned up and moved off the grounds by 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.
2. Vehicles
  • Only vehicles with a permitted parking pass will be allowed on the contest site. All permitted parking passes must be visible from the front windshield. All other vehicles will be directed to the appropriate parking lot.
  • Handicapped parking is available in the first row of the reserved lot along the fence line in designated spaces ONLY. Vehicles must display a permitted parking pass plus the appropriate license plate or ADA hang tag. Spaces are limited and available on a first come, first served basis.
  • Vehicles may not enter the contest area after 8:00 a.m. Friday. At this time, any vehicle not contained within a team space must be moved.
  • Vehicles not in compliance in the contest area or in the permit parking area will be towed. Impoundment and/or towing fees to retrieve the vehicle will be at the owner’s expense.
  • Load out of vehicles and equipment is not permitted until 2:00 a.m. Sunday AND after the general public has cleared out of the contest area.
  • The speed limit is 5 MPH when entering and traveling inside the barbeque team/contest area.
  • Passengers may not ride on barbeque pit trailers, on hitches, or on the sides of vehicles and attached trailers while the vehicle is in motion.

3. Trailers and RVs

  • All trailers and RVs that are NOT contained within a team space must be parked in the proper designated off-site lot ONLY (main event layout map will be distributed prior to the event). Space is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.
  • Trailers and RVs found to be in violation of the rules will be towed. Impoundment and/or towing fees to retrieve the vehicle will be at the owner’s expense.
  • RV hookups are NOT available.

D. Tents, Space Layout and Decorations

  • Tents will be anchored and set up as per manufacturer’s instructions, whether done by a company or individual. Certain locations may require alternative methods. No ground stakes are permitted.
  • All tents must be flame retardant.
  • All tents must be erected with appropriate fittings, fasteners, etc.
  • Combustible materials such as hay, firewood, gas heaters, etc. shall not be located inside tents or canopies.
  • Any displays over twelve (12) feet tall in your assigned space(s) must be checked and the idea/plan for the display must be discussed with a safety officer before they are set up. Examples include, but are not limited to, overhead cranes, scaffolding and man lifts.
  • Umbrella and canopy heaters are not allowed inside the tent.
  • Two-story structures and inflatable displays are prohibited.

E. Electricity and Generators

  • • You will only be provided ONE (1) 30-amp duplex outlet per space. (First Come first Served) To reserve electricity slot you must pay fee of $25 during the check out. Electricity is a Add On….
  • • High-load appliances and equipment (RV air conditioners, microwaves, etc.) must be powered by your own generator if your load exceeds 30 amps. Please note that in the event of a generator failure, we will try to restore/replace power as soon as possible; however, we are not responsible for spoiled goods or services.
  • • Use of any towable and/or commercial type generators that are not self-contained must be declared on registration form. The team or generator company will need to provide a ground rod and clamp for each generator. Upon notification, please provide the following information:
  • o Team Space Number(s)
  • o Team Name
  • o Team Leader
  • o Number of generators requiring ground and rod clamp and if provided by team or generator company.
  • Generators shall be isolated from contact with the public.
  • Storage of gasoline is not allowed in or near generators or food preparation areas.
  • All temporary power provided by SSNS Festival will be disconnected at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. Please be sure that all slide-outs to your RV are retracted prior to this time.

F. Fire Extinguishers

  • Portable fire extinguishers must be identified and readily accessible.

Minimum fire extinguisher requirements:

  • One 2A-10 BC fire extinguisher is required.
  • One “K” type extinguisher will be required for deep fat fryers with an area of five (5) square feet or more; up to 80-pound cooking capacity. Additional “K” extinguishers will be required for each 80-pound capacity. A 2A-10BC is required in addition to a “K” type extinguisher.
  • All fire extinguishers shall have a current (within a year) inspection sticker from a licensed extinguisher company or provide proof that the extinguisher is new (store receipt).

G. Open Flames, Cooking Equipment and Heaters

  • Anyone dumping ashes and/or coals into anything other than the SSNS Festival provided ash dumpster may be disqualified and banned from this and all future contests.
  • Screening must be utilized to contain ALL open flames.
  • Ground fires are strictly prohibited.
  • Barbeque pits shall not be located within ten (10) feet of combustible materials.
  • Barbeque pits shall not be located under the food booth canopy.
  • Propane tanks shall not be located within ten (10) feet of a door or window of a building.
  • Gas cylinders/propane containers must be properly secured at all times to prevent tipping or falling (i.e. tied to a trailer or other structure within barbeque space).
  • Umbrella and canopy heaters are not allowed inside a tent.

H. Media, Video Recording and Camera Crews

• Any request for an interview, filming, video, audio or other recording of the event is not permitted without prior consent from the Southern Smoke N Sip Festival.

• All media outlets, video production companies, etc. must obtain written permission and media credentials through the La Creme Event Association at least 30 days prior to the event. Please direct requests to the Marketing Department

J. Clean Up and Trash Disposal

• Each team is responsible for the cleanup of their space(s) by SUNDAY AT 11:00 a.m. All equipment and vehicles must be moved out of your space(s) and off of the grounds by this time.

• All team spaces must be cleaned and left in the condition in which they were found when you arrived on the grounds.

• Disposal of wastewater or hot coals on pavement is strictly prohibited.

• ASH, GREY WATER, GREASE and TRASH shall be placed in the proper containers for disposal. These containers are located throughout the contest area. Please reference the Logistics and Safety Maps for locations of:

o Ash and Coal Dumpsters

o Waste Water Containers (Grey Water)

o Trash Dumpsters

o Recyclables

Movement of these containers by anyone other than Southern Smoke N Sip Festival personnel is strictly prohibited.


Each TEAM entry will receive a packet at least one (1) weeks before the event that will include:

  • Five (5) wristbands per space to designate team members, valid for Friday and Saturday.
  • Two (2) permitted parking passes per space to allow parking on-site.
  • A gate ticket or team wristband will be required if arrival is during times event is open to the general public
  • Any team reproducing admission tickets, wristbands, or parking passes may be disqualified and banned from this and all future contests.

A. Parking

• Vehicle entry into the contest area of the event will require a permitted parking pass to be properly displayed on the vehicle. 

• All permitted parking will require a parking pass for both Friday and Saturday.

• Additional off-site parking will be available in designated lots on a first come, first served basis. Vehicles without an off-site parking pass must pay to park. 

• Additional parking passes will be sold at the time of registration for $10 on a first come, first served basis.

• Vehicles without the proper permitted parking pass in designated lots will be towed. Impoundment and/or towing fees to retrieve the vehicle will be at the owner’s expense.

B. Gate Tickets

  • Tickets for Friday are $20 each. Tickets for Saturday are $30 each.
  • Gate entry fees will begin on Friday at 3:00 p.m. – Saturday at 10:00 a.m – Sunday at Noon 12:00 p.m.
  • Team Advance Sale Ticket Discounts – Only available through online team registration form and must be  purchased online at the time of registration.

o Advance sale tickets for Friday are $20.

o Advance sale tickets for Saturday are $20.

o Advance sale Weekend Combo tickets valid for Friday and Saturday are $35.

o Sundays Event is not covered and Competitor must pay full fee to attend concert & car show off.

C. Team Guest Invitations

In order to assist our information booths in helping your invited guests:

• Guest invitations to team spaces must clearly state that a separate admission ticket is required for entrance into the Contest/Event at the Southern Smoke N Sip Festival on the Helotes Property.

• Invitations should indicate a space number, official team name and Team Leader or Chief Cook’s name.

• Invitations/advertising MAY NOT include any of the Southern Smoke N Sip Festival logos or “marks” without prior permission of Southern Smoke N Sip Festival. Please direct requests to use the Southern Smoke N Sip Festival logos and marks to the Southern Smoke N Sip Festival Marketing Department at


Each team must comply with all pertinent laws and ordinances, including, but not limited to, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code and any additional rules of the Southern Smoke N Sip Festival.

A. Individual Responsibility

  • The Team Leader will be held responsible for the conduct of team members, guests and any persons who are or have been in their team space. Any behavior deemed inappropriate by the SSNS Festival Committee may result in immediate expulsion from the event and forfeiture of future participation.

B. Prohibited Behaviors and Activities

  • Certain activities related to alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited.
  • Glass containers are NOT permitted.
  • At no time may a person under the age of 21 be served alcohol of any nature.
  • Teams may not distribute alcoholic beverages of any nature (e.g. Jell-O shots, etc.) outside their physical boundaries.
  • Due to TABC regulations, teams may not take alcoholic beverages (e.g. coolers or ice chests) outside their physical boundaries. This includes, but is not limited to, the awards ceremony.
  • Teams may not charge for alcoholic beverages, including “mandatory donations or tips.”
  • Teams may not sell tickets to be redeemed for beverages, either prior to or during the event. This includes sales of tickets on websites and social media platforms.

Private security will not be permitted on the premises and will be turned away at the gate.


A. Serving the General Public – Health Department Regulations

  • The Health Department will issue temporary permits for teams who are serving samples to the general public. Fees are not included in your entry fee.
  • Random inspections for the following items will be performed:
    • Three (3) Buckets, Bleach and Liquid Soap – One (1) for soap and water to wash utensils, one (1) for bleach to rinse utensils and one (1) for a wash basin to wash your hands.
    • The Health Department suggests a beverage cooler with a spout to wash your hands under and some type of bucket to catch the water.
    • Covering for your food – Health Department Rules state that your food must be under cover (a tent or awning of some type) when you are cutting meat or doing other preparation outside of your pit.
    • Your pit does not have to be undercover. Meat is considered “covered” when it is on the pit.

B. Cookers Choice Rules (Friday)

  • Friday Turn-In Times – Unsanctioned Entries
    • 7:00 p.m. Exotic Meats – Specialty Meats
    • 8:00 p.m. “You Pick It” Meat – Cookers Choice
    • 9:00 p.m Margarita
  • The Cookers Choice contest provides cash payouts for the top three places in each category. Only 80% of entry fees collected are paid back to 1st place winner in each category.
  • Cookers Choice entries must be purchased at the time of registration for $40 each; unpaid entries will NOT BE registered.
  • Cookers Choice entries WILL be accepted at the event. Please check the receipt that is mailed with your final packet to confirm all entries.
  • All Cookers Choice items must be prepared and cooked on-site.
  • Container Pick-Up
    • Once a team has received their container card, recyclable cups and trays must be picked up at the Judging Station between 4:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Thursday.
    • Your container card will be provided by your Ambassador after all check-in forms are completed and your team space number is displayed.
    • Cards must be presented to pick up your containers. You must sign the back of the exposed ticket in the presence of a SSNS Festival Judging Committee member.
    • Cooks are responsible for ensuring that the containers they receive remain clean and undamaged. The container must not be altered or marked in any way or it will be disqualified.
  • The Margarita category is an open Margarita contest.
    • No garnish will be allowed.
    • No ice. May be chilled.
  • The Specialty Meat category is an Exotic Meat contest:
    • These meats are unsanctioned: Goat, Wild Hog, Bison, Alligator, Lamb, Deer, & Rattle Snake
  • The “Cooker’s Choice” category is an open MEAT category that includes any type of meat EXCEPT a fully jointed half chicken, beef brisket or pork ribs. You are welcome to cook seafood in this category.
  • Cookers Choice Awards will be held Friday at 10:00 p.m. on the main stage. 1st places will be recognized in each category.

C. Bar-B-Que Contest Rules (Saturday)

Saturday Turn-In Times

  • 10:30 a.m. In The Pot – Beans
  • 12:00 p.m Chicken
  • 2:00 p.m. Pork Spare Ribs
  • 4:00 p.m. Beef Brisket

The mandatory Chief Cook’s Meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Friday.

Trays, numbering, and procedures will be discussed at the meeting. All chief cooks must check-in prior to the meeting.

The “In the Pot” category is an open pinto bean contest Beans may be pre-soaked. We have eliminated the rule that nothing larger than the bean may be included in the turn-in cup.

Container Pick Up
– Once a team has received their container card, trays must be picked up at the Judging Station between 4:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m on Friday. or immediately following the Chief Cook’s Meeting.
– No containers will be distributed during the Chief Cook’s Meeting.
– Additional entries WILL NOT be accepted at the event. Please double check the receipt that is mailed with your final packet to confirm all entries.
– Each team must have its own pit and one chief cook.
– Ten places will be awarded in each meat category. Grand and Reserve
– Grand Champion will be decided solely based on these three meat categories.
– The awards ceremony will be held at the main stage on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.


A. World Lolei Incorporation

  • World Lolei Incorporation is an opportunity for the teams to participate in raising funds for the Southern Smoke N Sip Festival Scholarship Fund through tips and donations.
  • All teams are encouraged to participate in the World Lolei Incorporation event.
  • Although participation is optional, misrepresentation of World Lolei Incorporation will not be tolerated. All money collected in a World Lolei Incorporation bucket or any container indicating that it is intended for World Lolei Incorporation Donation MUST be given to a World Lolei Incorporation Committee representative.

            Misrepresentation may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Soliciting tips or donations for SSNS Selected Charities either verbally, written or by signage and not donating those funds to World Lolei Incorporation or Wounded Warriors.
  • Stating either verbally, written or by signage that the money is for Kash for Kids, then not donating to World Lolei Incorporation.
  • Conditioning entry into an area based on tip or donation.
  • Teams who wish to collaborate in raising money for the World Lolei Incorporation contest must have the same Team Leader on record.
  • Collaborating teams shall designate one (1) team to be the recipient of any Kash for Kids awards.
  • Donations will be counted following the event. The overall winner will be presented one award belt buckle during the awards ceremony at the following year’s cook-off.
  • Bar-B-Que Committee personnel will deliver and collect a World Lolei Incorporation sealed container to your team space. We will also accept credit card donations online.
  • Due to space limitations, reciprocal winners (teams that earn a free space for winning another contest) or spaces purchased at other events’ silent/live auctions may not earn free spaces for the following year.
  • Teams will be awarded free spaces for the following San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo 

A. Bar- B-Que Cook-Off at the following intervals:

  • Teams that raise a minimum of $1,500 will be awarded ONE (1) free space.
  • Teams that raise a minimum of $3,000 will be awarded TWO (2) free spaces.
  • Teams that raise a minimum of $4,500 will be awarded THREE (3) free spaces.
  • Teams that raise a minimum of $6,000 will be awarded FOUR (4) free spaces.
  • Teams are limited to a maximum of four (4) free spaces. A team cannot earn more spaces than the number of spaces occupied in the current year.
  • Teams will be allowed to pre-register and purchase up to the same number of spaces that they held in the previous year as follows:
    • Teams with one free space will be allowed to pre-register up to 4 total spaces.
    • Teams with two free spaces will be allowed to pre-register up to 8 total spaces.
    • Teams with three free spaces will be allowed to pre-register up to 12 total spaces.
    • Teams with four free spaces will be allowed to pre-register up to 16 total spaces.
  • Under NO circumstances is a team allowed to register for more spaces than they held in the prior year.

B. SSNS Turkey Bowl Music Festival 

  • Teams will have the opportunity to be “Official” food vendors for the Turkey Bowl Music Festival.
  • The winning Teams will be invited to vend at the next upcoming event Turkey Bowl Festival in November..
  • The Turkey Bowl will be held from noon – 9pm p.m.Thursday Thanksgiving Day located in the San Antonio area.
  • Banners will be presented to each event winner and to the overall champion..
  • All participants must sign a Release and Indemnification Agreement. SSNS Festival personnel will collect the waivers from each participant prior to the start of the event during the registration period.
  • Participants will be used to cater turkey legs for the Turkey Bowl Event. (Paid Catering)
  • Participants will be Vendors for profit and Catering for pay by SSNS Turkey Bowl Association.
FLyer Competition 2 Southern Smoke N Sip SSNS Festival Association

BBQ & Margarita Competition

Pay Competitor Fees

The SSNS Festival, happening on May 24th & 25th, is set to be the ultimate celebration of music, food, and fun in San Antonio. Our BBQ Competition is a highlight of the festival, attracting some of the best pitmasters from across the region. We’ve heard amazing things about your skills, and we’d be honored to have you showcase your talents at our event.

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1st Annual
Southern Smoke N Sip|BBQ Competition Rules

Welcome to the Southern Smoke N Sip Festival & Cookoff Competition, where culinary mastery, mixology magic, and automotive elegance converge in a spectacular celebration!