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I have summarized the notes I recorded as we cooked in several KCBS sanctioned contests in the late 1990’s. I would use these same notes at my next contest. The cooking procedures work very well for home-cooked barbecue, and the recipes are adaptable to restaurant fare.


This cooking series provides step-by-step procedures for cooking KCBS (Kansas City Barbecue Society) competition categories. The KCBS scoring system evaluates flavor, appearance, and tenderness on a scale of 1 to 9 (9 being a perfect score). The flavor scores are doubled before the combined scores are tallied up in a given category. There are four sanctioned KCBS categories: chicken, pork rib, pork butt, and beef brisket. All categories are weighted equally to tally up the overall contest score. The tally produces the prestigious “grand champion” winner. Consistency in all of the categories is usually needed to place in the top 5 teams, especially in a big contest.


In competition our team cooks the brisket, ribs, and chicken with various rubs and they are finished with original KC Masterpiece sauce. The pork butt is a southern hybrid recipe that cooks with a Memphis rub and finishes with a Lexington, NC (tomato base) sauce. My partner, Mark, from Tennessee cooks the pork categories and I cook the others. I’m from North Carolina.