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2024 "Grill for Gaza" BBQ Competition


“Grill for Gaza!”

Halal BBQ Pitmasters 6th Annual BBQ Competition
Date: Sunday April 28, 2023
 
 Deadline to register: April 14, 2024 or once maximum number of teams (15) have registered.
Maximum teams: 15 (max team size: 5 people per team)
Time: 9 AM-4 PM
Location: Green Vine Market, 1804 K Ave, Plano, TX 75047
America’s premiere Halal BBQ Competition!  Come cook, hang out, and support!

Register here. The registration fee is $100The funds from entry fees will be used to cover overhead, and any excess funds will be donated to orphans in Gaza via our humanitarian aid partner Human Development FundOnce registered, your team leader will be added to a WhatsApp group. The purpose of this group is to keep the teams informed of any updates, reminders, or changes leading up to the event

If the registration fee is not affordable for you, please email us at halalpitmasters@gmail.com and we will waive the entry fees with no questions asked (and we will maintain your anonymity). We make full efforts to ensure anyone who is interested in participating can do so regardless of religious beliefs, race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.  

If you’re interested in being a sponsor (with opportunity to be a judge), click here.

Overall structure. The competition will consist of the below 3 categories (more details below):

  1. brisket: Texas style brisket. Briskets supplied by Jana Food Services
  2. brisket +: dish that utilizes either the cooked brisket or brisket trimmings
  3. skewered meat "grocery games" : shop for meat and ingredients and grill a skewered meat dish of your choice.
  • You do not have to participate in all three categories, but the registration fee is the same regardless of how many categories you are participating in
  • Trophies will be given to the top 5 in each category.
  • The team with the highest cumulative points (sum of all 3 categories) will be crowned the Grand Champion. 

Judges. There will be at least 6-8 judges. Judges will be a mix of professionals (chefs, famous pitmasters, food journalists, etc) and a few platinum level sponsors (who may have limited experience with BBQ). All judges will undergo an orientation to reduce bias and ensure uniform judging.

Categories

1. "Jana Food Services" Texas-style brisket challenge. For this category, prime grade briskets have been donated by Jana Food Services (Arlington, TX). Jana Foods obtains Halal briskets from either Greater Omaha or Demokota. If you have any alternative requirements (Kosher, HMS-certified, etc), please email us at halalpitmasters@gmail.com and we will find a way to accommodate you.

Two briskets will be randomly assigned and must be picked up from Green Vine Market during the week prior to the competition. Briskets will be cooked at home and brought to the competition.

    • Turn in time: Starts at 11:00 AM (exact times will be announced later)
    • Each team must turn in their best 8 slices of brisket: they may come from flat or point (or a combination), all ¼ inch to ¾ inch in thickness. A turn-in box will be provided. No garnish is allowed in the box; it must have only the brisket slices. Do not include burnt ends in the turn-in box.
    • Sauce is optional. If used, it should be applied directly to the meat and not be pooled or puddled in the container. Keep in mind Texas style brisket does not typically incorporate sauce. 
    • Judging/Scoring. Judging will be blinded. Brisket will be submitted in slices and judged for Appearance, Taste, and Tenderness (see details below). Scores will range from 7 (worst) to 10 (best). The weighted sum of each category will determine the final score. In the case of ties, taste will be the first tiebreaker, tenderness will be the second. Judges will be told not to compare the briskets against the others, but rather on its own merits, independent of the others. 
      • Appearance 
        • 10% of total score
        • When presented with the brisket, judges open the styrofoam container and judge the appearance. They are looking for a uniform dark bark, rendered fat (typically caramel color), and appealing look to the meat (not dry or off-color). While a smoke ring is not in the judging criteria, note that many judges may still be looking for it.
        • 10 - perfect bark, fully rendered fat, and appealing meat
        • 9 -
        • 8 - 
        • 7 - no bark, white fat, meat that looks dry and disgusting
      • Taste 
        • 50% of total score
        • Each judge will taste one slice. Brisket should taste like beef and not be dry. Spices/flavors should be balanced and not overwhelming. Meat should be salted through without bland areas. Smoke flavor should be prominent but not overwhelming or bitter. 
        • 10 - juicy, perfectly seasoned, appropriate smoke flavor
        • 9
        • 8
        • 7 - too dry;  too salty OR not enough salt/seasoning (bland); no smoke flavor OR excessive smoke flavor (like ash)
      • Tenderness 
        • 40% of total score
        • 10 - perfect mouthfeel: tender but still has some chew 
        • 9 - falls apart too easily
        • 8 -
        • 7 -  too tough/chewy

2. Brisket +. This category honors the tradition of not wasting anything. At the best BBQ restaurants in Texas, they don’t waste anything. Brisket trimmings get turned into burgers or sausage. Cooked brisket - if it’s not good enough to sell - gets used in dishes like brisket elote, etc.

Tips: We encourage you to be as creative as possible! Last year's top 3 were brisket shawarma, seekh kabab sausage, and brisket pie. Dishes like chopped brisket sandwich, while delicious, did not score very high as they are common. Also, although appearance is only 20% of the score, many people "eat with their eyes." Make sure the dish is presented in an aesthetically pleasing way. You're encouraged to bring your own serving plates/utensils for the judges. Garnish is not required but encouraged for aesthetic purposes.

      • Teams must present a dish that utilizes either the cooked brisket or brisket trimmings. The more creative the better. These dishes may be prepared beforehand or at the event. We highly recommend serving warm and fresh food.
      • Judging time: 12:15-1:00 PM (tentative)
      • If you require a grill, air fryer, or other cooking device, please bring it. We have a few grills that can be borrowed for the event; please contact us at halalpitmasters@gmail.com to arrange their use. There are a few electrical outlets; please let us know if you will require electricity and we will assign you a canopy with a nearby electrical outlet.
      • This portion of the competition will NOT be blinded. Each judge will walk around to each team’s table. Teams will have a chance to present their dish to each judge. Since there will be at least 6-8 judges, we recommend each team should have 12 servings ready.
        • Judging criteria.
          • Taste - 50%.
            • 10 - best thing I’ve ever eaten
            • 9 -
            • 8 -
            • 7 - can barely swallow it
          • Creativity - 30%
            • 10 - a completely unique creation
            • 9
            • 8
            • 7 - It’s been done a million times
          • Appearance/Presentation - 20%
            • 10 - looks like it belongs in a Michelin star restaurant
            • 9
            • 8
            • 7 - looks like slop

      3. Skewered meat "grocery games." Outside of Texas, and especially in Eastern countries, the term "BBQ" often refers to skewered meat cooked directly over hot coals. This category honors that definition, and gives a chance to show off these centuries old skills.

      Upon arrival at the competition, you will be given a $100 allowance at Green Vine Market (likely as a gift card). With this allowance, you will purchase meat and any additional ingredients. Nearer to the event, you will be asked what type of meat you require so we can ensure Green Vine Market has sufficient supply.  

      Judging will NOT be blinded. Similar to the Brisket + category, judges will walk around and interact with each team.

      • Judging time: 2 PM (tentative)
      • Meat will be provided on-site. 
      • Meat may be cooked on any fire or heat source. (Wood, Charcoal, Gas, Electric, Pellet, Sous Vide etc.). If you are unable to bring your own grill, please email us at halalpitmasters@gmail.com; we have a few grills that can be borrowed for the event. 
      • All meat must be skewered while cooking. The skewers can be removed for serving, and cooked meat can be utilized in a more elaborate dish. Rotisserie, trompo, shawarma vertical skewer, etc  are acceptable forms of skewering.
      • All seasoning and cooking of the meat must be done at the team’s site. 
      • Meat must be handled in a sanitary manner. 
      • Meat may not be removed from the team’s cooking area
      • Judging/Scoring. Judging will NOT be blinded. Each judge will walk around to each team’s table. Teams will have a chance to present their dish to each judge. Since there will be at least 6-8 judges, we recommend each team should have 12 servings ready.  
          • Judging criteria.
            • Taste - 50%.
              • 10 - best thing I’ve ever eaten
              • 9 -
              • 8 -
              • 7 - can barely swallow it
            • Creativity - 30%
              • 10 - a completely unique creation
              • 9
              • 8
              • 7 - It’s been done a million times
            • Appearance/Presentation - 20%
              • 10 - looks like it belongs in a Michelin star restaurant
              • 9
              • 8
              • 7 - looks like slop
      Tentative timeline
      • 9-10 AM Teams arrive to set up stations and get grills set up
      • Meat (for skewered meat challenge) will be distributed to teams as they arrive.
      • 10:30 Judges orientation
      • 11: brisket turn in-times. 
      • 11-12 brisket judging period
      • 12:15 PM, brisket + judging starts and continues until 1:00 PM. Judges will be walking around to the teams. They have about 2-5 minutes per team.
      • 1:15 PM skewered meat judging starts and continues until 2:00 PM. Judges will be walking around to the teams. They have about 2-5 minutes per team.
      • Also at 2:00 PM, event will be open for guests. Guests are individuals who have donated $100/person to attend the event (kids under 12 are free)
      • About 1-1.5 hours for judging and tallying up scores. During this time, teams should clean up their sites
      • 3:30-4 PM winners announced

      Ready to register? Click here.