HSBBQ - Home of the High School BBQ League


 Do you have to be in High School to compete?

No, we also have middle schools teams. Students must be 12-18 years old or 5th through 12 grade. Our curriculum and system can be used for to fit any program but due to liability we do not host events with student under 12 because we require student teams to do everything with no parental or coach help.  They must own their success!

Do you allow alcohol, Smoking, Vaping, or Fire Arms?

Never, all our events are on School property and follow School District rules in line with High School Athletics of that State.  Examples include - rain delays, extreme weather, power outage,ect. We also DO NOT host events with any groups that have alcohol sponsors or at their events.

How much does it cost?

Each team must have a NHSBBQA Charter for their team which is $200 and covers a High School and any Middle Schools feeding to that High School. See the join us page as it has all of our products and services.

How long do they cook?

Typically, events start at 6:00 a.m. and are over by 6:00 p.m. See event Agenda and Turn-In Times for each event in our document and forms section. Turn-In times tell each team when there food is due for grading. Just as with band, athletics, and other student groups it is a day trip. 

Do you have to compete?

No, many schools just do the lessons and curriculum and host their own school cook off as part of a current class, pathway, after school program, or just to build campus spirit. It is designed so you can start at any level - teacher lessons, school project, fundraiser, private competition, or Sanctioned Competition.

What is a Charter?

A Charter determines the level of involvement of the School or School District and how many High School BBQ Teams can compete. We also have a basic club charter for those schools that do not want to travel or compete as part of of annual Virtual Contest based on our Project Based Learning Model. An annual competition Charter is $200 and allows students and teams from a High School and any Middle School feeding into that High School the ability to compete on a team representing that school in our league and Sanctioned Events that lead to HSBBQ State Championships, Nationals, and any Invitational the National High School BBQ Association Sanctions or is partnered with for scholarships and or prizes.  Following UIL and National standards we do not offer Cash prizes to students. 

How many students on a team?

Each school can have a maximum of 5 students per team but can compete with just one student, although that would be incredibly hard and a disadvantage.

Can we camp out or use an RV?

No, not on School District property and most times there will not be a need as our events are only one day so you can compete and get back to school like most school events.  Some School Districts allow students to camp, but that would need to be at a State Park or other location following your School District policies and is NOT suggested or sanctioned  by our organization. We view student safety and security the number one  priority of our organization.

Do you feed the public like a normal Adult BBQ cook off?

No, our events are meant to be about education and learning and feeding the public is an additional cost we do not support as our events are designed as educational learning experiences and fundraisers for the local host school to support teachers and Schools. The host School can have a Food Truck, caterer, local restaurant, or other staff or students sell or serve food but that is up to the host School District. Many School Districts combine our events with another District event or competition to showcase more kids and make it a community event or host their own internal District Competition. Examples include:  Fall Festivals, Football Alumni or Homecoming Tailgate, CTSO invitationals, Senior Week, ect. but all follow host School District policy and procedures.

Who can be on a team?

The team can be a combination of students both girls and boys. Students do not have to be in the same class, although it makes it easier to teach unless it is an after school club and program. Students can be from a Middle School or High School. High School teams are allowed up to two Middle School students on them, but understand they are competing and representing their High School for any awards or recognition. All Middle School teams are representing their Middle School and District. We recommend 7 students. Five team members and two alternates as a team is 5 students. Student rosters must be submitted and uploaded by the first  event. 

Can teams be combined if students quit or do not pass?

The purpose of having 7 students on a team is if two students are unable to compete or attend their is backup students to compete the team of five and also give the team continuity as students graduate. Teams CAN NOT be combined once the rosters are submitted.

Do I have to have a separate BBQ Club?

Although you still must have a BBQ Club Charter to compete as part of our National Championship series many schools incorporate our curriculum or system into an existing class, pathway, or student organization. FCCLA, SkillsUSA, ProStart, and C-CAP all teach culinary arts so this can just be another event for your students and current teams to participate in. We also have FFA, 4-H, and other student groups compete for team building, a current cooking  club, and for learning a new skill that can become a Cooking Service group on your campus to help fundraise, serve, and feed your community and campus.

How much is equipment?

The beauty is many schools borrow much of the equipment in the beginning to try this out and then invest in year two. Many adult BBQ Cook Off teams and families in your community have the equipment and will not only loan it to your school but many times want to help mentor and coach students and teachers. Average cost is between $1,000 and $2,500.  This investment can serve a whole District if utilized right. Our founder got a $15,000 BBQ trailer after 4 years that the School District owns and keeps at the Bus Barn as part of the fleet to be checked out by staff for different purposes - teaching, fundraising, staff appreciation,  and competition.

How are the events judged?

Since we are a education organization founded by teachers first and about building communities we invite School District staff, administration, and communities members to participate as judges at the host school or your District event. Teams are scored on a Rubric based on 1-100 points using our proprietary system the M.E.A.T Judging Sheet and  BBQ Report Card.

Can coaches, teachers, or parents help the students?

We believe our events help build self esteem, personal responsibility, organization, and time management skills so NO Adults are allowed in the cook off area after the event begins. Two Adult Mentors can verbally coach a team from outside the roped off cook off area but absolutely no touching or crossing the boundary lines. Teams are required to bring 12 Safety Cones to mark their space.

Can we bring our own meat?

No, all main meats will be provided for each team  the day of the event so the event is fair, affordable, and consistent foor all teams and schools. Students will receive their meat the day of the event all at the same time so a team or school can not buy the event or cheat.

What categories do you cook?

Pork Ribs (St. Louis Style or Baby Backs), Chicken (Could be Thigh, Whole, or Wings), New York Strip Steak, Dessert, and then a Wild Card draw each year to add a new item.  Examples: Skirt Steak, Flat Iron, Tri-Tip, Chili,Burgers, Dutch Oven Biscuits, Cobbler.

Larger Meats are only cooked at National Championships as these events are the top teams from a State or the Nation and the SLAB: High School BBQ National Championship. Normal events are one day events only to save schools money so they do not incur hotel costs.

Students will know what categories at the beginning of the season to practice. See Food Categories and Rules for each year.


What is HOT and FAST?

HOT and FAST is a style of live fire cooking at higher traditional barbecue temperatures between 300-400 degrees. It along with competition style butchering allows Brisket and larger cuts of meat to be cooked in 6-7 hours instead of the traditional 12-18 hours. Many of our teams use Drum Smokers or Ugly Drum Smokers they have built in school.

Do you have to cook all categories?

Yes, all categories are average together for a final score. Omitting one or two categories would take your score out of the winners circle and is not allowed. Five food categories for five students on a team at Regional events and 6 food categories at Nationals with the added larger meat. 

How do you cook a Brisket in 5 or 6 hours?

Brisket or Pork Butt/ Shoulder can be cooked HOT and FAST, but due to event and school time restraints we do not cook larger meats except at the National Championship. It is the hardest and takes the most time.  At Nationals teams set up the day before which gives them more time and ability to cook the brisket in 8 hours.

High School BBQ: Where Dreams Ignite






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