Gilroy Garli-Que BBQ Challenge

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).

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 of any meat, incorporating at least one (1) bulb of garlic. Judging will be 100% KCBS certified. First through fifth place winners in all categories will be awarded prize money and trophies, and will be announced on Saturday afternoon on the Great Garlic Cook-Off Stage.


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 Team Registration

Gilroy Garli-Que BBQ Challenge Judge Registration

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 5th 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.



  • $7,500 guaranteed total prize purse plus trophies for champions and each paid category (1st - 5th).
  • Paid categories include all 4 meats, optional 5th “Anything Goes With Garlic”, and People’s Choice.
  • 1st Place: $250
  • 2nd Place: $200
  • 3rd Place: $150
  • 4th Place: $100
  • 5th Place: $50
  • Overall Grand Champ: $2,000
  • Reserve Champ: $1,000

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. Please note: due to severe space limitations on the Garlic Festival grounds, onsite parking locations are in two areas. Teams that are participating in the PC competition will be given priority to the spaces located closest to the BBQ area.

RVs cannot be accommodated on Festival Grounds. 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.

We expect 30,000 attendees on Friday between 10:00 am - 7:00 pm. This creates special challenges for load-in times on Friday. Thus please note carefully the following load in information:

  • Teams can load in Thursday 10:00 am to 10:00 pm and up to 9:00 am Friday morning.
  • If the 9:00 am Friday deadline is missed, the next available time will not be until 7:00 pm that night (after the festival closes).
  • Thus you must be onsite by 9:00 am Friday 7/27/18.

We greatly appreciate your understanding of the challenges imposed by the tens of thousands of attendees walking all over the festival grounds.

Schedule of Events:

Friday July 27

  • Until 9:00 am: Load-in
  • 9:00 am - 7:00 pm: No load-in available
  • 8:00 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
  • 6:00 pm: Awards Ceremony


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 one (1) bulb of 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 trophies and bragging rights (no prize money) to say they cooked the best ribs at the Gilroy Garlic Festival!
  • A maximum of 20 teams will be accepted.

Gilroy Garli-Que Backyard BBQ Rib Challenge Registration

Register online!

Click on the links below to register online:

Gilroy Garli-Que BBQ Challenge Team Registration

Gilroy Garli-Que BBQ Challenge Judge Registration

Gilroy Garli-Que Backyard BBQ Rib Challenge Registration