Judging Opportunities

The American Royal World Series of Barbecue is scheduled as planned for the weekend of September 16-19, 2021. The American Royal will proceed with the regulations and policies of the current mandate provided by Wyandotte County through the conclusion of the event. For a full list of details outlining the specific contest procedures & safety guidelines, please click the link below – updated 8.13.2021

Application Process

Judges application MUST be filled out online – no email or phone entries will be accepted. You may judge more than one contest. Only one form needs to be completed to judge for the World Series of Barbecue. You will be asked on the form which contest(s) you are applying to participate in. Select all that you are interested in judging.

Notes about Judging

  • Judges are encouraged to sign up to judge more than one event (with the exception of Open Sides and Kids Que due to timing).

  • Filling out an application does not guarantee you a spot judging or as a table captain.

  • Please only fill out one application per person

  • Please DO NOT share an email address with another judge. It is requested that each judge has their own email address.

  • All judging applications must be submitted online. Emails and phone calls will not be accepted as applications.

  • Questions? Email the BBQ Team [email protected]

2021 Judging Updates

All confirmed judges will receive updated safety procedures presented by the American Royal and KCBS. Judges and Table Captains must comply with the judges procedures to participate.

See below for updated guidelines at this time:


PLEASE NOTE: The traditional judging times have changed. For the health and safety of all teams, judges, reps and volunteers, the following edits have been made:

Open Meats Sausage category has been moved to Saturday at the end of Open Sides. Judges that participate in Open Sides (Vegetables, Potatoes, Beans & Dessert) will also judge Sausage.

Open Meats on Sunday turn in times have been extended by 15 minutes each. Judges check in time and additional information will be sent to all confirmed judges.



    Judges are selected on a first come – first serve basis.

    Judging is complimentary, but a small donation of $20 is appreciated and goes back to support the American Royal mission.

    Signing up for both a table captain and a judge is not recommended. Those who sign up as both will be placed as either a table captain or judge at the discretion of the American Royal based on need. Signing up for both table captain and judge does not increase your chances of being selected or guarantee a seat.




    Judges will be tasting both divisions of the competition (hamburger and steak).

    Judges may not judge Open Sides and Kids Que due to timing. If a judge signs up for both, they will be placed at one of the events based on the American Royal's discretion.


  • Invitational Contest Judging Information

    The process to become an Invitational Judge is as follows:

    Invitational judges from the year prior (2019) are given first right of refusal to sign up to judge. If additional judging spaces become available, Open judges that have signed up will be selected at random* and asked to judge the Invitational. Invitational judges from 2019 will receive an email with an invitation to apply in May.  If you believe you should be receiving an invite and have not received the email by the end of May, please contact [email protected] with your name and a copy of your signed KCBS invitational judging papers from 2019.

    All Invitational judges must be a Certified Barbecue Judge in good standing at the time of the event. Each judge and table captain will be verified with KCBS to confirm good standing.

    If you are not a current CBJ or not in good standing, please take the CBJ courses offered by the American Royal in May or in September at the event.

    All barbecue judging is complementary, but a small donation of $20 is appreciated and goes back to support the American Royal mission.

    *Random judges selected are only those who are current Certified Barbecue Judges in good standing.


    The Rub Contest judging will occur on Sunday, May 2, 2021 and the Sauce Contest judging will take place on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.

    Sauce and Rub Judging applications are now closed.



    The American Royal and KCBS will be hosting a Certified Barbecue Judging Class and a Table Captain Class in September, the week of the World Series of Barbecue. BBQ Judging Classes to take place in the infield of the World Series of Barbecue at the Kansas Speedway.

    In order to participate, you must be a current KCBS member. Please sign up here prior to signing up for the class: https://www.kcbs.us/

    Certified Barbecue Judge Class

    Thursday, September 16, 2021

    10:00am – 2:00pm (estimated)


    Certified Table Captain Class

    Thursday, September 16, 2021

    3:30pm – 5:00pm