The Window for the Awards of Excellence Is Open Now

Posted By: Vic Clevenger NBBQA Latest News,

Every year the NBBQA has the Awards of Excellence with the winners being announced at the National Conference which will be held, this year, at the historic Galt House in Louisville. KY April 1-4. As the attendees sit for a three-course meal on April 2nd the winners of Awards of Excellence will be showered with applause and have enough pictures taken which will rival a movie premier. The adage, “You can’t win if you don’t enter” is very true in this case and the window for entering is now open.

 I imagine you’re sitting there with your coffee reading this before you go to work or perhaps even thinking about that excellent rack of ribs you had for dinner last night. What made them excellent? Sure, the smoke was perfect and the color made them Instagram worthy but you know in your heart of hearts, it was the rub which set them apart. It wasn’t just any rub from the store or even your buddy’s, but rather it was your special rub. The rub you put together hoping to take it to market. The one your spouse says is phenomenal and if you don’t start selling it now, you’ll be missing the boat.

You know marketing is key if you want it to appeal to the masses. What’s your hook so the stores look your way to fill their shelf space? Being a World Champion would help, but that’s a part of your BBQ resume…yet. What would be the next best thing to being World Champion? Winning awards would certainly place your product on the radar of those store buyers looking to add something new and you could be just the “new” they are looking for.

The National BBQ & Grilling Association recognizes what it takes when you aren’t willing to settle for just being great but to strive for excellence. In the past, we mainly focused on rubs and sauces then came along other products like packaging. Over the last few years, media has entered the contest with journals and podcasts devoted solely to the outdoor cooking life. With the advent of Instagram, digital magazines and books on Kindle, it isn’t any wonder the NBBQA wants to acknowledge the variety of excellence seen in the BBQ world. There are seven major categories which are then broken down into sub-categories giving those in the business of BBQ several opportunities to add “award winning” to your marketing campaign.

Take a look at these brief descriptions then go to for more details and to enter.

Sauces Category

Under this category is eight sub- categories for many of the different types of BBQ sauces there are. What excellent sauce 

did you create? Fruit, spicy, original and the list goes on. With eight different types, there is a place for yours.

Rubs Category

We all use them and we all have our favorites. Many discerning cooks have a different rub for different types of meats and the same will be true for this category.

Foods Category

Five sub-categories make up the category. This isn’t a catch-all category but rather the recognition of the diverse products within the business of BBQ. Gift Packs, Sausage, Marinades, Injections, and BBQ snacks make this one of the more varied groups.

Equipment Category

How can we get along without all the equipment we use in our pursuit of BBQ cooking excellence? Here we have four separate sections including a new group called, “Barbecue.” This is the section where if you have a new grill, smoker or other vessel used for outdoor cooking you can enter and get the word out about your cooker.

Digital Media Category

With the continual evolution of live fire cooking in the digital age, it’s a no-brainer that we recognize the excellence found in BBQ focused digital media. From podcasts to websites to video, there’s a lot of excellent material out there to elevate your BBQ skills.

Publications and Literary Works

Did you get your cookbook published this year or have an article printed? Maybe you’ve had some great marketing material for your BBQ business. If this sounds like you then you need to investigate the Publication and Literary Works category.


Pictures capture snippets of every aspect of our lives from grandkids to celebrations to the latest cookoff we’ve attended. This category is for those who have captured that BBQ moment of time which in many cases evoke emotions, memories and highlights the photographer’s ability to encompass a glimpse of what we love, turning it into art.

In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins opens with this simple phrase, “Good is the enemy of great.” Reading this for the first time can be confusing. How could ‘good’ could be the enemy of anything, much less the enemy of ‘great,’ then he explained. When we say, “Ah, that’s good enough” we’re settling for simply being good at what we do without putting forth the extra effort it would take to be great. He also couples this with resting on your laurels citing examples such as AP Grocery and Woolworths (in recent history think Toys R Us and Sears). Companies satisfied with ‘good enough’ or resting on past success was enough to convince me that ‘Good’ was indeed the enemy of ‘Great!’

Then he hits the reader with the phrase. “Great is the enemy of Excellence!” Just when you are all set to put forth the effort it takes to be great, he asks me why would you settle for being great when you can be excellent. WOW! This is like being hit with a ton of bricks. Because in all that we do, why not strive for excellence, making the extra effort to excel in what we do? Being excellent doesn’t come easy nor is it cheap and I’m not talking just money, but time, sweat and tears all go into this. The experiments with flavors to get the right pork rub only to discover it would be better on fish. So back to the test kitchen you go.

The window to enter is open TODAY with the deadline being January 17th (post mark date) and the judging will take place February 8th, 2020. So, when you visit you will discover just where your submission or submissions will fit as you continue to pursue excellence in your business of BBQ. But hurry because the window to enter will be open before you know it.