Rules in FBA Competition


I am wondering if anyone can clear this up for me. I am doing a trial run (spare ribs only) for fun and see where I stand in regards to my cooking.

FBA sanctioning allows for blind judging only. Entries will be submitted in an approved container, with NO garnish, or decorating of any kind. Only the entry to be judged is allowed in the container. Marking of any kind will disqualify the entry. Each entry will be judged on PRESENTATION, TASTE / FLAVOR, and TENDERNESS / TEXTURE. Meat may be sauced or unsauced. A minimum of 8 separate and identifiable portions must be submitted.

In the bold, it states, "NO garnish". What does this mean? I thought if you turned in a box, you would atleast put a bed of garnish on the bottom instead of just placing your meat in the box.

Does anyone have any experience in "FBA Rules"?

BTW: FBA stands for "Florida BarBQue Association"

Thanks in advance.
I think I've found my answer. It has nothing but the meat in the container that is supposed to be turned in. Why would they have this type of requirement? This makes the box look kinda plain. Has anyone done this type before, and if so, what were your presentations looking like? To me its weird, but I'm new to this competing...Thanks!
Last edited:

Dave R

I don't compete at all but I would think it helps to make things simpler for the judging and to give every entry the same chance for scoring. If you see anything else in the box, it gets eliminated whereas if garnish was allowed, it could bring on a couple different things: verify that the proper garnish was used and/or if an entry has greener garnish than another entry, the judge may be swayed by that in appearance score. Using no garnish, in my opinion, helps to provide a more level playing field.

With that being said, looking at pictures of some entries on the web, comparing a box with garnish to one without garnish, the one with garnish usually appears better pleasing to the eye.


Jeff F

TVWBB Super Fan
Sounds pretty good to me...I would rather be judged on the taste of my barbecue than by how pretty my wife can arrange it in the box. I'm guessing FBA has taken this step to set themselves apart from KCBS.

Bob Bass

TVWBB Gold Member
In KCBS garnish is allowed. If used, it is limited to only a few very specific types.
Judges are not allowed to consider the garnish other than for legality.

For the novice judge, it's difficult to ignore the garnish... but ignore they must !

FBA rules allows for no garnish nor foil.
KCBS rules allow for garnish, but no foil.
IBCA rules allow for no garnish, but must use foil.
SCBA rules allow for no garnish nor foil.
PNWBA rules allow for garnish, but no foil.

Benji Chong

TVWBB Super Fan
It's already been answered but just wanted to chime in that I like the no garnish rule. Definitely levels the playing field, even though in KCBS judges aren't "supposed to" judge based on garnish, it's pretty obvious it does play a factor in some way. Another difference in FBS is the 8 piece rule as opposed to the 6 pieces in KCBS. In the last FBS comp i did i was glad i was reminded of the 8 piece rule as i'm so used to just 6. I had a hard time fitting 8 chicken lollipops in the turn in box that's for sure but i got them in there eventually. No garnish maybe makes more room in the box for 8 pieces of meat perhaps?
Garnish is NOT allowed in FBA. The only thing allowed in the box is the meat. No toothpicks, foil, greens, and sauce cannot be in any type of container (yes, it has happened). There is no pooling rule.

One other item that may be useful, rib meat MUST be on the bone.