General Information and Rules


1. Each contestant must meet all requirements of eligibility for demonstration awards set forth in the PA 4-H Achievement Days Handbook. Contestants must be 14 years of age or older as of January 1 of the current year to be eligible to move on to the National level competition.


Product Cooking and Sensory Evaluation

1. Each contestant will prepare three 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pound chicken halves provided to them by the contest monitors. They will be evaluated during the preparation of their chicken by judges utilizing the barbecue skills score sheet.

2. There will be a 2 1/2 hour time limit for the preparation of the chicken. The chicken will not be available to the contestant prior to the contest starting time. The fire may not be lit until the contest starting time. Chicken shall not be marinated prior to start of the contest. Parboiling and/or deep-frying competition meat is not allowed. Contestant may not inject or insert any fluid, sauce, or additive into the chicken. Chicken halves may not be placed in baskets to aid in turning.

3. Barbecue grills will be provided for all contestants, which they will be required to use. Type of grill will be announced prior to the contest. Grill lid or cover will be provided. Each contestant will be assigned a cooking space and grill along with a work area of one half of a 4' by 8' folding table adjacent to their grill. Charcoal and lighter fuel will also be available if needed. Contestants may bring their own charcoal and lighter fuel. Self-starting charcoal or automatic fire starter blocks will not be permitted. Chimney-starters may be used but such devices must be placed inside the grill before and during ignition and removed from the grill prior to addition of the chicken for cooking. Fire is restricted to inside the provided grill. Burning materials outside the grills will be considered as a fire hazard. The use of non-charcoal combustible fuel is to be limited. Accessories such as spits, augers, or forced draft are not permitted. Electricity will not be provided or used.

4. All other equipment and supplies, including sauce, must be furnished by the contestant. Sauce, if used, may be commercial or private recipe (description must be provided to judges on the recipe card to assist during flavor and appearance evaluation). Contestants are expected to use a meat thermometer. Commercial devices for covering of meat during cooking will not be permitted; only aluminum foil wrap may be used.

5. Contestant must provide recipe or preparation outline cards describing sauce, rubs, or other treatments associated with the cooking of the chicken to include ingredients and special instructions if necessary for food safety, relating to these ingredients such as keeping sauce ingredients either cool or heated. NOTE : Three (3) copies on note card stock, single 3 inch by 5 inch size preferred containing these cooking instructions or recipe must be provided to judges – 2 copies to skills judges before starting fire, and 1 copy to turn in to sensory evaluation judges with the cooked product. Recipe cards need to include the following information: a) name of recipe and contestant number, b) ingredients and general cooking instructions, and c) if special cooking techniques were used to achieve unique flavoring.

6. Contestant is to have turned in product by the end of stated cooking time. Contestants will be notified 15 minutes prior to the end of the cooking time. Each contestant will present two intact, barbecued chicken halves to the panel of judges at the conclusion of their cooking time on plates or containers provided. No garnishes, dips or additional items shall be presented on the plates or submitted to the judges. Note that one recipe card or cooking outline card for the sensory judges must accompany the product. Product will be evaluated using the sensory score sheets.

Oral Presentation

An illustrated presentation, including factual information about broilers, will be made by each contestant (see score sheet). The participant is to demonstrate their knowledge in the following areas:

  • The broiler chicken industry in the United States and its economic importance
  • General food safety, including safe storage and handling of chicken (uncooked and cooked)
  • Nutritional value of chicken meat and role in a balanced diet

Contestants will be allotted a maximum of 10 minutes for their presentation. Judges will have up to 3 minutes for questions directed to contestants. Questions may be related to statements made by the contestant during their presentation that the judges feel might need further explanation. No contestant will be allowed to have any form of identification as to name or state represented, including from the presentation content, posters, or from the tabletop graphics utilized during the oral presentation.

Easels will be provided. PowerPoint presentations using a computer and computer projector can be used. A Windows based laptop computer and computer projector will be available. PowerPoint 2010 will be installed on the computer and contestants should have their talk on a USB flash drive device. If a PowerPoint presentation is planned, the presentation is due in final form for submission at time of contestant briefing the evening before the contest. PowerPoint presentations are not to include audio. Order of presentation and contestant number will be determined at contest briefing.

* In case of a tie following tabulation of contestant scores, the tie scores of the top five contestants will be broken in descending order by:

  • Highest score in Sensory Evaluation.
  • Highest Presentation score
  • Highest score in Barbecue Skills portion.