Gilroy Garli-Que BBQ Challenge

In 2017, Mike Lindley with Smokin’ Mo’s smoked the competition to win Overall Grand Champ and $2,000 in the official Kansas City BBQ Society-sanctioned competition.

The Gilroy Garli-Que BBQ Challenge

This is a Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) sanctioned four meat Championship Series event, a Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue (draw), an American Royal Invitational Qualifier and a Team of the Year (ToY) event for both KCBS and the California BBQ Association (CBBQA). The prize purse is $11,000 plus trophies.

There will be an optional fifth category of “Anything Goes with Garlic” as well as People’s Choice. “Anything Goes With Garlic” will be any BBQ’d or grilled dish incorporating fresh garlic. Judging will be 100% KCBS certified.

Cash prizes will be awarded from 1st through 10th place in all four meat categories, with trophies for 1st through 5th. The top three finishers in People's Choice and "Anything Goes with Garlic" will be awarded prize money and trophies.


Celebrating 40 Years of Family Fun!

The Gilroy Garlic Festival is recognized as the world's greatest summer food festival, featuring three days of great garlicky food, three stages of live entertainment, cooking contests, arts & crafts, and fun for the whole family. Over 4,000 volunteers host the event with proceeds benefiting the community. Since its inception in 1979, over $10.9 million have been distributed to local schools, charities, and non-profit organizations.

Gilroy Garli-Que BBQ Challenge Judge Registration - Closed for 2018

People's Choice (PC):
The Garlic Festival is one of the nation’s premier food events, with proceeds benefiting the community. We expect an attendance of 35,000 people on Saturday, many of whom would love to try your BBQ. Teams that participate in People’s Choice will receive a $50 application refund mailed out within 14 days after the event. PC will be ribs only. The National Pork Board has generously agreed to donate the ribs, thus teams will not have to come out of pocket for the protein.

For every rack cooked and served, we will pay you $10. We will give you as many racks as you say you are able to cook and sample to the public. Teams will be paid within 14 days.

Festival goers will purchase rib tickets for $3 each, and receive one voting ballot for every $9 purchase. PC prizes are based on votes, not total sales. PC voting will take place from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm. You may serve after 3:00 pm, but no PC votes will count after the 3:00 pm turn in time. 1st through 3rd place winners will receive prize money and trophies (see below).

All PC teams must comply with Santa Clara County Environmental Health (EHD) regulations. The Santa Clara County EHD Fee for temporary event food sampling is $88.00. We must receive your completed EHD forms by 7/3/18. Form is attached below.

Regulations, Rules, and Requirements Summarized for PC teams only:

  • Serving and preparation area must be fully enclosed with 4 walls and a roof; Grass or dirt floors must be covered with approved tarps or plywood.
  • Serving and preparation area must have pass through windows for customer service (no bigger than 216 square inches, each).
  • Barbecues must be located next to the booth and safely away from the public.
  • Serving and preparation area must have a hand washing facility with water at least 110°F, a catch bucket, a single service soap dispenser, paper towels, and a trash container.
  • Serving and preparation area must have a three-compartment ware washing sink.

Santa Clara County EHD is now waiving all fees for Temporary Food Facility permits for United States Military Veterans. Any vet on the team can qualify you to have the EHD fee waived.

The Veteran must: List his/her name as the “owner” on the EHD permit, Include a copy of his/her DD-214 federal form with submission of the EHD permit (electronic/scanned submission is acceptable), by 7/3/18 and lastly be present (with valid ID) on the day of the event. Teams with Veteran exemptions will still need to complete the EHD form, and comply with the EHD rules.



  • $11,000 guaranteed total prize purse
  • Prizes for 4 meat cagetories:
    • 1st Place: $300
    • 2nd Place: $275
    • 3rd Place: $250
    • 4th Place: $200
    • 5th Place: $175
    • 6th Place: $150
    • 7th Place: $125
    • 8th Place: $100
    • 9th Place: $75
    • 10th Place: $50
    • Overall Grand Champion: $2,000
    • Reserve Champion: $1,000
  • Prizes for Anything Goes With Garlic (optional category) and People's Choice:
    • 1st Place: $250
    • 2nd Place: $200
    • 3rd Place: $150

Each team will receive 4 festival passes (worth $20 each), as well as a parking pass for both days. Any additional festival passes will need to be purchased at the gate, or online.

Spaces are 20’ x 20’ with one 15 amp circuit ($300 entry fee). A few 20’ x 30’ ($325) and 20’x40’ ($350) spaces are available on first-come, first-served basis. Cookers, grills, props, tents, trailers or any other equipment may not exceed the boundaries of the assigned area.

Teams can load in Thursday or Friday 10:00 am to 10:00 pm through our separate entrance north of the Festival grounds. Maps will be mailed to registered teams.

Schedule of Events:

Friday July 27

  • Load-in: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm
  • 5:00 pm: Cooks Meeting

Saturday, July 28

  • 12:00 pm: Chicken Turn-In
  • 12:30 pm: Pork Ribs Turn-In
  • 1:00 pm: Pork Shoulder Turn-In
  • 1:30 pm: Beef Brisket Turn-In
  • 2:15 pm: Anything Goes With Garlic Turn-In
  • 6:00 pm: Awards Ceremony on the Challenge Butter Cook-Off Stage


Backyard BBQ Rib Throwdown

Amateurs (who have never competed in a sanctioned, professional BBQ event) will compete on Sunday, July 29 to produce their best rack of ribs.

  • Teams will bring their own meat, ingredients, cookers, utensils and fuel to produce their best rack of ribs.
  • Meat must be in its original package and cannot be pretreated or marinated prior to start of competition.
  • All meats will be inspected for expiration dates on arrival. Any meat beyond expiration will be disqualified.
  • Recipe must use fresh garlic.
  • Competition starts at 8:00 am.
  • Turn-in time will be at 1:00 pm.
  • First through third place winners will be announced on the Great Garlic Cook-Off  Stage.
  • BBQ’ers will compete for prize money, trophies and bragging rights to say they cooked the best ribs at the Gilroy Garlic Festival!
    • 1st Place: $150
    • 2nd Place: $100
    • 3rd Place: $50
  • A maximum of 20 teams will be accepted.

Register online!

Click on the links below to register online:

Gilroy Garli-Que BBQ Challenge Team Registration - Closed for 2018

Gilroy Garli-Que Backyard BBQ Rib Challenge Registration - Closed for 2018

Gilroy Garli-Que BBQ Challenge Judge Registration - Closed for 2018