2020 Official Rules, Regulations and Judging Procedures
The following rules, regulations and judging procedures will be used at all ACSA sanctioned events
General Competitive Steak Cook-Off Event Rules
- All events requesting ACSA sanction must apply at least 60-days in advance of the competition to allow ACSA time to review the application, assign Contest Representative and authorize the event as an officially sanctioned competition.
- ACSA is the sanctioning body for official American Competitive Steak Association cook-offs and will provide the format for the competition, a properly trained Contest Representative, rules and regulations for judging the event, competition toolkit to direct and guide promoter on the organization and promotion of their contest. ACSA is not responsible for prize payouts or liable for financial obligations incurred by the promoter to host the competition. ACSA is solely the sanctioning body for the competition.
- The Contest Representative is the official designee of ACSA at sanctioned competitions. Their decisions and interpretations of the rules are final subject to appeal to the ACSA board.
- The Contest Promoter is responsible for the organization and promotion of the even Promoter assumes all responsibility for paying guaranteed payouts. As ACSA does not have a financial stake in the outcome of the event, all revenue and liabilities from the competition belongs to the promoter.
- The Competitive Teams shall be comprised of at least one individual cook and as many others as they wish to have on their team. The head cook must be at least 18 years of age on the date of the competition. All prize money shall be awarded to the winning teams in the amount designated by the promoter prior to the start of the competition.
- Each Competitive team must have a fire extinguisher at cook site
- ACSA events are judged by a panel of judges and will be in a “blind judging” format. All judges will be required to participate in a judges meeting prior to the commencement of the competition to review the rules and order of the event. ACSA requires all judges to join the association prior to judging their first competition, (Campground Series events excluded) ACSA also encourages all judges to participate in a certified judging class to better appreciate the event as well as understand the rules and how to judge the competition. However, completion of a certified judging class is not a requirement of judging a sanctioned event.
Competition Cooking Rules
- Competitive Teams shall provide all needed equipment and supplies, except as arranged for in advance by the Promoter. Teams must follow all electric, fire and safety codes as required by the local jurisdiction of the event. A fire extinguisher must be near all cooking devices or the team will be disqualified from the event. Teams are responsible to ensure that their assigned cooking area is clean and orderly following the event. Failure to follow this rule may disqualify the team from future ACSA sanctioned events.
- At least one member of the cook team must be a member of ACSA prior to the start of the competition. (Campground Series events excluded)
- Points will be awarded for all competitive teams that successfully compete in each Steak contest, these points will accumulate through the year for the “team of the year” award.
- Teams must have the head cook be an ACSA member in good standing to accrue points
- For standard steak events the Promoter shall provide two (2) 1-1/4” boneless choice ribeye steaks to each team for the cook-off as well as any ancillary categories they so choose.
- For “Backyard” & “Campground Series events” steak events the promoter will provide one (1) 1-1/4” boneless choice ribeye steaks to each team for the cook-off as well as any ancillary categories they so choose.
- Alternatively, the Promoter may require teams that wish to participate in an Ancillary Category to provide their own meat for that category. Any meat used in an ancillary category not provided by the Promoter must be inspected during the times established by the contest organizer. All competition meat shall start out raw. No pre-seasoned meat is allowed.
- Each Competitive team may only enter 1 entry into the Steak category.
- Cooks may cook on any fire or heat source.
- NO other rib-eye steaks are to be present at cook sites other than the ones provided to the teams by promoters. Failure to follow this rule will be lead to immediate disqualification of the team and possible banning of all future ACSA sanctioned events.
- Steaks may not be removed from the teams cooking area except to turn in the entry.
- Entries should consist of one steak cooked Medium (warm pink center). Teams may only submit one entry in the Steak category.
- Steaks may be lightly trimmed before, but not after cooking. Steaks may not be marked or branded in any way. (Grill marks are not considered marking)
- Steaks must be turned in whole and uncut on top of the provided foil disk. The provided foil disks must be placed in the box, silver side up and not folded in any way.
- Steak modifications:
- The steak(s) given to teams during steak selection are to be handled individually and not to be combined in any way whatsoever, EX cutting the spinalis from one steak and attaching it to the other.
- Steaks may be lightly trimmed, the spinalis may not be removed from the steak.
- Rubs / sauces: Chunks are to be no larger than a fine dice, approximately 1/8 inch cubed. Violations shall receive a penalty score of zero (0) on Appearance.
- Garnish for Categories: Steak category will always be NO GARNISH, ancillary categories are always OPEN GARNISH
- OPEN GARNISH – All ancillary categories are Open Garnish, Anything goes. Stuffing, wrapping, skewers, and decorations of any kind edible or not are allowed. Any size chunks or ingredients can be used. Cooks should remember the judges will be instructed to evaluate how well the cook has represented the contest category. Excessive garnish or additional ingredients, that covers or hides the appearance and/or taste of the defined category, may result in a lower score.
- NO GARNISH – Only edible portions of the category item may be in the box.
- Ancillary categories are optional and do not count towards the ACSA Championship points.
- Turn in times will be announced at cooks meeting and will not be changed once announced.
- Teams will be disqualified from the competition for the use of Ribeye steaks other than those provided by the event found in the team area. In addition the ACSA Representative will report the team to ACSA for possible disqualification of future sanctioned events. Teams that have foreign objects found in the turn in box, or if the turn-ins occur after the time window has expired, will only be disqualified for that round.
- Teams must turn in their entries in ACSA number container, provided by the contest Promoter. The number must be on top of the container at turn in. The container must not be marked in any way to ensure the fairness of the blind judging. Marked containers will be disqualified from the competition.
- Upon turn-in, once competitor places his/her entry on the turn-in table, it may not be touched by competitor again.
- Teams are subject to random inspections by any ACSA Representative.
- For kid categories, cooks must be ages 4-17 years old and may only be allowed to cook under the supervision of an adult 18 years or older.
- In case of a final results tie, the prize money will be split between the teams. Example a total tie between two teams for first place. The prize money from first and second place would be added up and divided between the cookers. The ACSA Representative will flip a coin to decide which team gets which the trophy and the bid at the ACSA Championship.
- There will be no refund of entry fees for any reason, except at the discretion of the contest Promoter.
- ACSA sanctioning allows for blind judging only. ACSA utilizes ACSA Certified Judges when possible.
- ACSA numbered container provided by the contest Promoter. The container may be renumbered by the Contest Representative or authorized personnel before being presented to the judged.
- Judging will be done by a team of 5 individuals at each judging table. Only judges, Contest Representative and authorized individuals shall be allowed in the judging area once the completion has commenced.
- Judging shall be on four components: Temperature, Presentation, Tenderness and Taste.
- The scoring system will be 1 to 5 as follows: 5 excellent, 4 very good, 3 average, 2 below average and 1 inedible.
- A score of 0 (zero) is a penalty or disqualification and required approval by the Contest Representative. Grounds for penalty/disqualification include prohibited garnish, a marked turn in container, foreign object in the container, incorrect entry type or amount (i.e. 2 ribeye’s in main category or less than five servings in an ancillary category)
- The Contest Representative will tally the scores from the judges at each table. The ACSA Contest Representative will use a proprietary weighting factor to determine the score for each team. Results will be tallied, if there is a tie in one of the categories, it will be broken as follows: The scores will be compared for the highest cumulative scores in Taste, Tenderness, Presentation and Temperature. If still tied, then the prize money for the two slots they occupy (i.e. first and second place) will be combined and split evenly by the winning teams and a coin toss will be used to determine their placement for the trophies.
- No prize monies will be withheld for nonparticipation in ancillary categories.
Additional Ancillary Cook-Off Rules
- May be cooked on any fire or heat source.
- Must be cooked / assembled on site. All meat or ancillary category items must be raw or uncooked at the start of cook time.
- You may decorate the inside of the turn in box however you chose. It is optional, not part of appearance score.
- Boxes may contain small disposable cups for sauce, dips or entry and toothpicks or skewers to hold food items together.
- Only 1 type of ancillary item per turn in box.
- Minimum of 6 samples should be put in the box
- Entries will be judged on Temperature, Presentation, Tenderness and Taste.
- The order of tie breakers for Ancillaries Taste, Tenderness, Presentation and Temperature.
- All entries should be fully assembled for judging.
- No desserts may be turned in for any appetizer categories.
Team of the Year Rules
Official season dates: 2nd Monday in November through October 31st midnight. Points collected during these dates will be counted towards Team of the Year.
Each team competing in a sanctioned contest will receive base points. Additionally, each of the teams will be awarded bonus points based on the number of teams at an event, up to a maximum of 25 bonus points.
Points are calculated from the best 8 competition results scores a team has in the season. In case of tie in the top 25 positions, the following procedures will be applied, look to the 9th contest cooked by the tied teams. This contest score will be factored in with the other eight (8) contest scores. Should this not break the tie, continue with contest nine (9) and so on until the tie is broken. If a team has not cooked more than 8 contests they will receive a zero for the tiebreaking contest.
Base points are awarded as shown below, bonus points are awarded 1 per team that competes in the event, maximum 25 bonus points. Teams total points example with 18 teams competing: 4th place team gets 255 base points+ 18 bonus points, total points for event = 273.
1st – 300, 2nd – 285, 3rd – 270, 4th – 255, 5th – 240, 6th – 225, 7th – 210, 8th – 195, 9th – 180, 10th – 165, 11th – 140, 12th – 130,
13th – 120, 14th – 110, 15th – 100, 16th – 90, 17th – 80, 18th – 70, 19th – 60, 20th – 50, 21st & below – 30