Team Manual


Contest Rules
Contest Logistics
Kosher Rules
Judging Procedures
Important Information

Printable version of complete manual:  Team Packet pdf

From the Desk of Rabbi Joel Finkelstein 

As the Rabbi of the Anshei Sphard - Beth El Emeth Congregation, I would like to thank you for your participation in the ASBEE World Kosher BBQ Championship. 

Since I grew up not far from Brooklyn, NY, I do not know much about cooking BBQ. However, I do know the kosher rules and will be available to help if you need it. 

Some of these rules may seem strict, but who ever said that being Jewish or kosher is easy? In the end, you will feel good to know that you answered to a higher standard and that your food was not only good BBQ, but good Southern Jewish Kosher food -- just like my Yiddishe Mama used to make! 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at any time. 

Good luck and have fun! 

Rabbi Joel Finkelstein

Contest Rules

Trophies will be awarded for the Overall Grand Champion and 1st - 5th place in the following categories: 
Best Kosher Beef Brisket
Best Kosher Beef Ribs
Best Kosher Chicken
Best Kosher Beans
Best Team Booth
Best Team Name

Booth sites will measure approximately 13' x 17' on asphalt and will be numbered. Please make sure that your booth will fit within these parameters. Additional space may be available upon request in advance. Please be a good and considerate neighbor to the adjoining booths. Drilling into the asphalt is not permitted. 

Vehicles will not be allowed on the contest grounds from 10:00 am on Sunday until after the awards ceremony at approximately 3:00 pm. 

Water will be available in one central, outside location. Please bring sufficient water containers to transport water to your site. Hoses will not be allowed. 


Each team is responsible for removing their own trash. Trash receptacles will be available to each team and dumpsters will be available on the grounds. No litter, ashes or grease should be left behind by any team. Please keep your booth clean and clear of

Restrooms & Wash Stations
Bathroom facilities and wash stations are available inside the synagogue. 

Electricity will not be provided, except by prior arrangement with the contest organizers. The synagogue has very limited electrical capability on the parking lot. Quiet generators may be used as long as they fit within your assigned booth site. 

Teams may not sell any food, drink, or other items during the event. The ASBEE Sisterhood will be selling food, drinks, and snacks at the Cowsher Café. 

This year, teams participating in the ASBEE BBQ Contest will be offered the option of requesting a third BBQ grill or a smoker for a small fee.  Only teams that select the third grill or smoker option at time of registration, and that register by the deadline will be eligible to have a thrird grill or smoker.  Teams MUST make this selection during the open registrarion window.  Teams will not be allowed to reuest an extra grill on the day of the competition.


The ASBEE World Kosher BBQ Championship reserves the right to make additional rules and regulations as the situation warrants.

Contest Logistics

Cook's Meeting
There will be a Cook's Meeting on Thursday, September 12 at 6:00 pm in the ASBEE Social Hall. Meat Selection will take place at this time. Please make sure your Pit Boss or a team representative is able to attend this meeting. 

Preparation Prior to the Event
You will be allowed in the ASBEE Social Hall and Kitchen during the following times to prepare food: 

Thursday, September 12, from 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Saturday, September 14, starting at 8:15 pm 

BBQ participants must have all of their belongings out of the kitchen by midnight on Saturday, September 14. This will prevent items from being misplaced when the ASBEE Sisterhood arrives to prepare their food. 

Ingredient and Meat Pickup
When you arrive to prepare your meat, the ingredients you requested will be on a table and labeled with your name. You will also receive the cooking utensils that you are to use for preparing your sauce and for cooking on BBQ day. If you find that you need any additional kitchen items while you are preparing inside, you may use what you find available in the kitchen.

Please do not remove any cooking utensils from the Synagogue kitchen. 

If you do not find everything you need in your stock or on the community table, please ask for help. Please do not borrow from other teams' stock unless they are present and give permission to use some of their ingredients. 

Grills may not be taken offsite at any time prior to or during the event for any purposes other than clean up after the event by scheduling with the BBQ committee chair.

After you have finished for the evening, please clean up any mess that you have made. It is important that each team clean up after itself so that the teams that follow you will have a clean area in which to work.

Committee members will be available to answer questions you may have pertaining to the use of the kitchen equipment or clean up of the ASBEE kosher kitchen. Your sauce, marinated meat, and all other cooked items must be carefully and completely wrapped, and secured with masking tape and inspected by the Rabbi before being put in the outside cooler. There will also be aluminum foil in your stock to wrap the meat. You will be given two grocery bags to store your cooking utensils and all other items you will need for Sunday morning. 

Booth Setup
Tables, grills, and smokers will be set up outside on Saturday evening (weather permitting). If you wish, you may set up your booth on Saturday evening. Each booth will be allocated two grills (plus an extra grill or smoker if ordered and paid for) and two tables. Please be considerate of your BBQ neighbors and do not remove any grills, smokers, or tables from their booth areas. 

When setting up any booths, do not stake anything into the parking lot asphalt. You may use bricks or concrete blocks to secure your booth. At the end of the BBQ, please clean off your tables and surrounding areas. Toss all disposable items ion the trash box near your booth. The committee members will pick up all utensils, pots, etc. 

We want you to feel comfortable working in the Synagogue kitchen and Social Hall. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask anyone on the BBQ committee for help. 

Teams may not play music that interferes with the music provided.

Have fun and good luck!

Kosher Rules

Kosher Utensils 
Even if you cook with kosher ingredients, if you used your favorite skewer, or fork from home, your meat would NOT be kosher. This applies even if your home is kosher. As far as the competition goes, only utensils certified kosher and used exclusively at the Synagogue are considered kosher. You can only use the utensils provided by the Synagogue and/or found in the ASBEE kitchen to prepare and cook your meat. 

All outside cooking instruments must be brand new in the packaging, and must be delivered to the Synagogue by Thursday, September 12 in order to have the items inspected and dipped in the mikveh ritual bath.  These items will be returned to the teams on Saturday, September 14 in time for the prep period. 

Teams are prohibited from using electric or gas liquid based heat sources other than what is provided at the competition.

Jewish Cooking 
In order for most foods to be kosher, they need to be partially cooked by someone Jewish. If your team has no one on the team who is Jewish, we require that you ask the Rabbi or a Jewish friend to light the fire on the grill for you. This makes the food not only kosher but also Jewish food. 

Supervised Kosher 
You never know when the Rabbi may come by to check your food. Your food may be prepared with kosher ingredients and utensils and be cooked by someone Jewish, but if it is not done under the occasional glance of the Rabbi, it is not completely kosher. So please do not be shocked if the Rabbi seems overly interested in your brisket. He may be hungry or he may just be snooping for the sake of snooping, but rest assured that you will have followed the guidelines listed. For all the things the Rabbi might do, he will not bless your food. Kosher does not mean blessed by the Rabbi. The only blessing the Rabbi might make is a blessing over his own lunch. 

Kosher Guidelines for Snacks 
All snacks brought to the synagogue building and parking lot must be approved by Rabbi Joel Finkelstein. All food items must be in the original package, unopened, with the seal intact.   NO DAIRY is allowed. The Rabbi will be available to check any food items on Sunday morning. Be sure to see him before going to your booth. 

While on the synagogue grounds (inside and outside), please do not bring any food prepared outside of the congregation. You may purchase food from our Sisterhood Cowsher Café.

You may bring your own fresh fruits or vegetables, but they must not be placed on the grills or smokers. 

You may bring closed packaged snacks such as potato chips and pretzels only if they have one of the following symbols:



If there is also a "D" on it, it means it is a dairy product and should not be used at the BBQ

You may bring the following drinks:  
Coke            Pepsi         Sprite
7 Up      Mountain Dew   Seagram's Ginger Ale
100% Apple Juice      Domestic Beers   PowerAde (NO GATORADE)


No fruit punch drinks allowed (many are not approved kosher).

Please note:  Not all flavored drinks are kosher.  If there is a certain flavor that you would like to bring, please ask Rabbi FInkelstein, or someone on his Committee, if it is kosher.

Judging Procedures


Trophies will be awarded for Overall Grand Champion and 1st - 5th place in categories for Kosher Beef Brisket, Kosher Beef Ribs, Kosher Chicken, Kosher Beans, Team Name, and Team Booth. Contest Judges are briefed on criteria prior to judging. Total Grand Score is based upon weighted scoring of each category and not upon category placement.

To protect the integrity of this competition, all Kosher BBQ  Judges will be screened for competence to ensure that the  team's entries will be judged objectively based upon their merits. Judges may not fraternize with teams on contest day after the Judging Orientation.

Judging, other than for booth and name, will be "blind judging." Judges will not know the identity of the team(s) being judged.

Judging will be done by a team of 3 people.  All Judges will be 18 years of age or older. Only Judges, contest representatives and necessary support staff are allowed in the judging areas during the judging process. 

Judging containers will be delivered to each team. If your team does not receive judging containers, please send a team member to the Judge's Tent. Teams will be instructed to bring their judging containers to the Judges' Tent at a designated time.
Overall Grand Chamion will be determined by a cumulative weighting of all categories, with a greater weight given to the meat categories.

The BBQ Committee reserves the right to make additional rules and regulations as the situation may warrant.

Competition Food Submission

Contest Numbering System
Numbered presentation containers will be given to each team upon arrival on Sunday morning.

Food Judging Criteria
Entries are scored in whole numbers from 9 (Excellent) to 2 (Poor) with 1 being inedible (marking, extraneous material in the food, or sauce pooling - if sauce is used it should be on the product and not pooled in the container.).  All whole numbers between 1 and 9 may be used to score an entry with 5 as the starting point or benchmark. The low score for each entry will be thrown out and results will then be tallied. Total points per entry will determine the winners in each classification. 

Cumulative points for all categories, with greater weight given to the meat cooking contest points as compared to the beans, team name and team booth, will determine the Overall Grand Champion as follows: 

                               Ribs               Brisket             Chicken               Beans               Booth              Team Name
1st Place                 60                     55                      50                          35                     45                       30
2nd Place                55                     45                      40                          25                     35                       25
3rd Place                 45                     35                      20                          15                     25                       15          

Each sample will be judged on the following:
  Appearance:  10%
  Taste:             45%
  Tenderness:   45%

Booth Judging Criteria
(1 - 9)
Originality, Theme and Presentation (equally weighed)

Team Name Judging Criteria
(1 - 9)
Originality, Jewish Relevance, and BBQ Theme Presentation (equally weighed)

Time Line
Kosher Beans:      drop off between 11 - 11:15 a.m.
                              judging begins at 11:30 a.m.
Kosher Ribs:         drop off between 11 - 11:15 a.m.
                              judging begins at 11:30 a.m.
Kosher Chicken:   drop off between 12 - 12:15 p.m.
                              judging begins at 12:30 p.m.
Kosher Brisket:     drop of between 1 - 1:15 p.m.
                              judging begins at 1:30 p.m.  

Important Information


Fire Management
Once a team's grill and/or smoker has been lit, a team member must remain onsite.  Unattended, lit grills and/or smokers may result in team disqualification.

Arrival Time for Competition
Teams may arrive as early as Saturday, September 14 at 8:15 p.m. at ASBEE Synagogue, 120 East Yates Road North, Memphis, TN.

Clean Up
All teams are responsible for clean-up of their booth location in order to receive their refundable deposit.  Please see Deposit Refund Form for details.  Note:  deposits will only be refunded if the form is submitted after clean up on the day of the event, so please make sure to submit completed form to the Event Welcome Booth before leaving.

Payment and Registration
Please visit, or contact Steve Conroy ( ), or mail your check to: ASBEE Kosher BBQ, 120 East Yates Road N., Memphis, TN  38120

Stay Informed
Please keep up with any new information through:

There will be lots of fun contests to win if you post, tweet and comment the day of the competition.