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2019 Awards Instructions

AOE Product Entry Deadline is January 14, 2019. **Packages must be post marked on or before the 14th **


1) Purchase (1) one full price Awards of Excellence Entry Fee for $40 (Member) or $70 (Non-Member)
2) Pick your product submissions
3) Checkout to purchase your Entry Fee and Submission fees.
4) Check your inbox for email confirmation. You will receive a link in the email receipt requesting that you fill out details about your product/media submission.
5) Print out your Awards of Excellence sheet and ship your products to this address:

Sammi Graff
NBBQA Awards of Excellence
c/o 17th Street Warehouse
214 N. 17th Street
Murphysboro, IL 62966

* For detailed instructions on packing product please refer to review rules & regulations section.



Please Read Carefully Before Proceeding

Your completed entry constitutes your agreement to be bound by the rules and conditions below. Failure to comply with these rules and conditions will result in the disqualification of your entry without refund. The NBBQA Awards of Excellence judging process is run by professional industry volunteers and these rules and conditions are in place to ensure efficiency and to minimize the volunteer hours required.

  • Sauces, rubs/seasonings must be commercially available to the general public through wholesale, retail or direct market outlets.
  • Please ship Two (2) bottles of sauces/rubs/products for judging
  • The ingredients must match the category in which it is entered. Example: Fruit or Mustard entries must be on the label of ingredients. EXCLUDING tomato from the fruit category even though it is a fruit. We have a category specifically for tomato.
  • Barbecue dry rub/seasoning label must contain at least one of the ingredients.
  • Entries must be professionally labeled with the product name, ingredients and all current FDA required nutritional information.
  • All entries must be properly processed and sealed. Any entry received with a broken seal will not be eligible for judging.
  • The minimum weight for product samples is 8 oz. for sauces and 2 oz. for spices and rubs.
  • Eight (8) clearly identifiable portions of snacks submitted.
  • All shipments must be packed carefully with cushioned shipping materials to avoid breakage. Any shipment received containing broken bottles will be disqualified without refund.
  • All BBQ products, and if not practical, feasible ($) to send a sample in, to reach out to Vic Clevenger, (  to coordinate appropriate access to the product via a showroom or similar.
  • A maximum of 5 submissions per category

All items submitted for the Awards of Excellence become the property of NBBQA and all judges’ decisions are final.

Judging Criteria

Rubs and sauces will be applied to the cooked protein. Your entries will be evaluated by themselves as well as with the cooked product. Judging is conducted under the independent direction of the Rend Lake Culinary Arts School in Ina, Illinois. For each entry, judges will assign a score from 6-10 in the categories of Appearance, Taste, and Texture, with Taste being weighted at 300 percent. All scores are then combined to create a single cumulative score for each product. Your entries will be evaluated by themselves as well as with the cooked product. 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.

Awards Presentation

Results will be announced during the Awards of Excellence ceremony on Thursday, April 4th @ 6:30 PM CST and posted online shortly thereafter. The ceremony will take place at the 29th NBBQA Conference (April 3, 2019 - April 6, 2019) in Kansas City. 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 April 6, 2019, at the NBBQA National Conference  & BBQ Bash. The above AOE Rules and Conditions also apply to the People’s Choice Awards. 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 at the NBBQA BBQ & BBQ Bash. There is no additional fee to participate, however, sauces must have been entered in the Awards of Excellence to be eligible for the People’s Choice.

A maximum of 2 bottles must be brought to the hotel site for the BBQ Bash. 

Kansas City Marriott Downtown
200 West 12th Street
Kansas City, MO 64105, US

AOE Product Entry Deadline is January 14, 2018. All product or media submissions received after this date will be ruled ineligible without refund.