This post provides general guidance about competition BBQ health and fire requirements, but remember that every county, city and state has different rules when it comes to health and fire codes at barbecue competitions.

Be sure to reach out to the event organizer to find out the exact rules for your contest.

Fire Requirements

I’m going to start with the standard fire code rules, because these are a little easier.

Fire Extinguisher

Whether it’s required or not, it’s a good idea to have a 5-pound ABC fire extinguisher. The ABC is the rating. It means it will extinguish, wood, paper, liquids (like gas) and electrical equipment.

You can pick up a fire extinguisher at Wal-Mart or Amazon, but be mindful that it needs to be inspected annually. I thought I could just buy an extinguisher and bring it to a comp, but it has to have an inspection tag on it, and it doesn’t come with one.

Getting it inspected is trickier than I thought. I’ve heard some fire departments will inspect them, but not in my city. So you’ll need to google “fire extinguisher inspection” to find a place near you.

An inspection costs around $20.


Another common fire code rule is making sure your fire and pits are not underneath your tent. This is a precaution in case there is a spark. Those tents are super flammable.

If you’re given a 10×10 space, this is a little tough, but I’ve found contests will give you a little extra space behind your 10×10 area for grills.

Ash Disposal

Lastly, think about how you’re going to dispose of your ashes. With my drums, I can close the vents down, let the coals extinguish and bring everything home contained where I dispose of them.

For grills that aren’t that simple, you’ll need to dispose of your ashes