Judging rules

Blind judging is used in the Bakken BBQ competition. On the day of the event, each BBQ Master’s team will be issued a number at random. To avoid nepotism, judges will only be provided the number and not the name of the BBQ Master’s team. 

Jackie Jenkin: 701-690-1184 
Hope Hilfer: 701-590-4932 

Is located near the stage and will serve as the central hub for all BBQ Master’s team needs, including judging information, wristbands, assistance and questions. 

Scoring will be based on the following: 

1 – Poor     2- Below     3- Average    4- Above average    5- Excellent 

  • Appearance: The food should look appetizing, have clear indication of the smoke process, and represent BBQ. A good example of this is the smoke ring in brisket, the pinkish tone of chicken and the redness of pork. 
  • Aroma: in your opinion, does it smell like barbeque 
  • Creativity 
  • Moisture 
  • Taste: this is a personal preference but should consider 1) how the smoke tastes; 2) how the spice tastes; 3) and the overall palate appeal of the meat and spice combination. 
  • Texture: is the meat moist and is it cooked just right. 
  • Tenderness 
  • Overall Impression the final criteria, what is the overall effect of the barbeque, your total impression. 

Companies are welcome to cook as many dishes as they wish but are required to enter at least one (1) category but a maximum of two (2) will be judged. If a company does not sign up for a category prior to the deadline, then the team will not be judged. No exceptions.  

If a company enters their dish into an incorrect category, they will be disqualified from that category. Please note if you have any changes to your menu, please contact Jackie or Hope.  

Deadline: June 7, 2024. 

  • Beef Meister: Beef 
  • King Clucker: Chicken 
  • Notorious P.I.G.: Pork 
  • Smoke & Dagger: Other meat such as fish, bison, alligator, etc.
  • Legendary Smokers: People’s Choice 

Bakken BBQ will provide the judging schedule at the BBQ Master meeting on Friday at 10:00 a.m.. This will contain the time that your dish is required to be delivered to the BBQ Pit. The times will be staggered to allow the judges to completely enjoy each entry. The food will be presented to the judges by volunteers. Please arrive at the BBQ Pit Tent at your listed time with your food entry. Tardiness may result in disqualification. 

BBQ Master’s teams are required to use the containers supplied by the Bakken BBQ. The container will be in the form of a Styrofoam box, aluminum container or a neutral looking plate. The Bakken BBQ Committee will provide each teams given number on the container. 

Food will be delivered by the BBQ Master’s team to the BBQ Pit. Presentations may not be submitted that would indicate the origin of the team. Example: ABC Company should not brand their buns with ABC logo which would indicate which team cooked the food. If food has an indication of the BBQ team, the team will be excluded from judging. Each submission container must include exactly one serving for each judge. The number of judges will be determined by how many entries are entered into each category. Judging will be held from 4:00 P.M. to 6:30 P.M.  

Each BBQ Master’s team is encouraged to bring suitable transportation to deliver food to the BBQ Pit Tent. This could be a collapsible wagon, box, etc. 

The judges panel will be randomly selected and will not be announced until after the competition. The number of judges in each category is determined by how many BBQ teams enter the category. 

The judging area will be held inside the West River Ice Center to provide the judges with a secure and cool environment to indulge on the delicious BBQ. The judging volunteers will present the food to the judges. A Bakken BBQ representative will be always present during the judging to assist or help with any questions. 

In the event of a tie breaker, the judges, volunteer team representative, and Bakken BBQ representative will conduct a coin toss to determine the winner. 

The judges will announce the winners of each BBQ category and people’s choice trophy at approx. 8:30 PM. Each BBQ Master winner will be asked to come up to the stage to accept their trophy and take a team photo. 

Each patron is allowed to vote one time for their favorite BBQ team on the QR code. Judges will announce winner onstage at approx. 9:00 P.M.  

No cheating will be tolerated. Companies are not allowed to share their code on social media or any electronic communication. This is considered cheating and may result in disqualification and may not be invited back. 

Any inappropriate or misconduct at the event may result in a strike. We have a no tolerance and harassment policy. The Bakken BBQ board will determine if the misconduct will be considered a strike.