Do you have a magnificent marinade, a righteous rub or a sauce that simply stands out? The National Barbecue Association’s annual Awards of Excellence recognizes the very best barbecue products across 25 unique categories. This is your chance to share your inspiration with the rest of the barbecue world and be recognized for your outstanding contribution to our industry!

Judging Criteria
Judging is conducted under the independent direction of the Rend Lake Culinary Arts School in Ina, Illinois. For each food entry, judges will assign a score from 1-10 in the categories of Appearance, Taste and Texture, with Taste being weighted at 3%. All scores are then combined to create a single cumulative score for each product. Rubs will be applied and cooked by an experienced pitmaster in the same pit for the same length of time to assure consistency of preparation. Rubs are evaluated by themselves as well as with unseasoned pork or chicken. Product labels and other packaging for all food entries will be covered and assigned a random number to assure anonymity. Barbecue Specialty Items and Labels will be judged on a ten point scale based on appearance, design, content and consumer appeal.
Rules and Conditions
Sauces, rubs/seasonings and marinades must be commercially available to the general public through wholesale, retail or direct market outlets. Food entries must be labeled with product name, ingredients and all current FDA required nutritional information. The minimum weight for product samples is 8 oz. for sauces and marinades, and 2 oz. for spices and rubs. Items requiring refrigeration cannot be accepted. All items submitted for the Awards of Excellence become the property of NBBQA and all judges’ decisions are final. NBBQA Member discounts on entry fees apply only to paying member levels (Trade Partner, Operator, Competitor or Enthusiast.)
Entry Deadline
The Awards of Excellence Competition is now closed.
Questions can be directed to 1-630-596-9003 or email
Awards Presentation
Results will be announced during the Awards of Excellence ceremony on March 5, 2015 and posted online shortly thereafter. The ceremony will take place at the 24th Annual NBBQA National Conference (March 3–8, 2015) at the Sheraton Music City in Nashville, TN. All entrants are encouraged to attend the conference to accept potential awards in person, be recognized by peers, and take advantage of official photo and press release opportunities. However, you do not need to be present to win. Awards will be mailed to winning entrants who are not able to receive them in person. First, second and third place winners in each category receive medals (gold, silver, and bronze) along with custom award certificates. Fourth and fifth-place finishers are also awarded certificates. All winners are linked on the NBBQA website, published in the National Barbecue News and recognized in an official NBBQA press release. Winners are also entitled to showcase the Awards of Excellence and NBBQA logos on the labels, publications and websites of winning products.
People’s Choice Awards
Contestants who enter sauces in the Awards of Excellence are also invited to submit samples in the People’s Choice Awards – a public tasting competition on March 8, 2015 at the NBBQA Conference. Members of the public will join conference attendees to sample each sauce and vote for their overall favorite. First, second and third place finishers will be announced that evening. Winners will receive the same prizes and recognition as Awards of Excellence winners. There is no additional fee to participate or form to complete. However, sauces must have been entered in the Awards of Excellence to be eligible for the People’s Choice.
All products entered in the People’s Choice Awards become the property of the NBBQA.