International Dutch Oven Society’s

Cook-Off Information Packet

World Championship Cook-Off Rules

Last update 4-Oct-11

  1. The WCCO is a three-pot cook off consisting of a main dish, a dessert, and a bread.
  1. Bread is defined as a corn bread*, biscuit type bread*, sour dough bread, or yeast bread/rolls.  
  2. Stuffed breads are defined as bread filled with meat, cheese or vegetables.  Stuffed breads are not allowed.
  3. Sweet rolls are not considered to be stuffed breads or desserts and are allowed.
  4. Banana, pumpkin and other quick breads are not allowed.  These are considered snacks or desserts and will not be judged as breads.
  5. All breads must be in a roll or loaf form with ALL MEATS/CHEESE/VEGETABLE blended into the dough.
  6. Cheese, herbs, spices, or fats/oils may be added on top as a garnish.

* Corn breads and biscuits may not be scored as high as a yeast or sour dough bread since cornbread or biscuits may be considered easier recipes.

  1. A team may consist of one or two members. An adult must accompany any contestant under the age of 18.  

  1. All contestants cooking in the IDOS World Championship Cook-Off  must be members of IDOS.

  1. Entrants may not be professional cooks, chefs, culinary instructors, employees of contest sponsors, their affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising or promotional agencies.

  1. Only team members and cook’s aids (no family or friends) are allowed in the cooking area. One team member must remain in the cooking area at all times.

  1. Know and practice safe food handling procedures. At least one team member is required to have a current food handler's permit from their local county. A copy of this permit should be readily available during the cook-off.  These permits will be checked by the field judges.

  1. Recipes must be submitted by the designated date and should include a complete list of all ingredients in order of use.  Complete instructions on how to prepare the recipes, including the final meat temperature, should also be included.

  1. Outside the realm of copyright, recipes become the property of the cook-off for subsequent use in cook-off cookbooks or publications. All copyright recipes must include the source.

  1. Using recipes from the previous year’s WCCO is not allowed.  If this is your second consecutive year cooking in the WCCO and you intend to use recipes from the previous year, there must be a 20% difference in ingredients and methods used.  This is to avoid the same recipes being published in the IDOS cookbook from year to year.  We understand wanting to improve on your dish from the previous year but a significant difference must be apparent in the recipe.  

  1. All ingredients must be combined, chopped, sliced, diced and cooked on site including garnishes and marinades. For safety reasons, no ingredients prepared or processed at home are allowed. All meat must be USDA inspected. Sour dough starters are okay as long as they are still in their liquid form.

  1. All cooking must be done in an approved (factory made) Dutch Oven and everything cooked must be presented to the judges with the exception of excess gravies and sauces. Removing burnt or undercooked sections of food may result in point deductions or disqualification. Side items such as butter, jam or sauces should not be presented to the judges' table unless specifically listed in the recipe and prepared on site.

  1. Only competition recipes can be cooked during the cook-off. There should be no eating in the cooking area.  Food and beverages will be provided in the hospitality booth.

  1. Battery operated or electrical devices, such as mixers or blenders, are not allowed in the preparation of food.  Digital thermometers and digital scales are allowed.

  1. All dishes must be presented to the Food Judges' table on time. 5 points will be deducted at turn in time if food is not at the table and 1 point for every minute after.  This will be assessed by the Field Judges.

  1. All foods submitted for judging should be displayed in the pot or on the lid. Lid stands will be provided by the cook-off. For sanitation concerns, please do not display foods on fabric.  Note: Dishes presented on a lid usually have a higher presentation appeal, but is not required.  

  1. Garnishing should be simple, complement the dish being presented, and not distract from it. This is not a garnishing contest. Garnishes should be edible. Any flowers used in garnishing should be pesticide free and edible. Judges may request proof from place of purchase that the flowers comply with this rule.  

  1. Use good fire safety practices. Keep yourself and the public safe. Building restrictions prohibit the use of propane stoves. All cooking must be done at least 18 inches above the ground.  

  1. Interaction with the public is encouraged. Please be courteous in sharing cooking information. Do not advertise for personal gain.

  1. Alcoholic beverages will not be allowed during the cook-off (up until and including the announcement of the winners.) Smoking is allowed in designated areas only.

  1. All judging decisions are final.

IDOS and the ISE are not responsible for accidents or damage that may occur during the cook-off.

Any exceptions or clarifications on the official rules must be submitted in writing to the cook off committee at least two weeks prior to the World Championship Cook-Off.

World Championship Cook-Off General Information

  1. You will be allowed to bring and light your own charcoal if you wish, but there will be someone lighting charcoal and providing charcoal for you.

  1. Team Sponsorship: Teams are allowed personal sponsorship, but must keep advertising banners to 3 feet by 5 feet in size.  These banners must be displayed only in front of the team’s cooking area. This ensures that IDOS’s main World Championship Sponsors will be the most visible of sponsors. No drawings or lotteries can be run out of your booth by your personal sponsors.

  1. Safe food handling Procedures:
  1. Teams should start with clean equipment and use clean cooking practices. Food handler permits are required and will be checked by field judges.

  1. Good hand washing practices are required, including a separate basin for hand washing. There should be no finger licking.

  1. Dishwashing facilities, including washing, rinsing, and sanitizing basins, are required of all teams.  Tasting utensils must be washed immediately after use. All washing of dishes must be done in your own area.

  1. Food service gloves must be worn when handling food that will not be cooked further. Hot foods must be kept above 135 degrees F.  Field judges will also be watching for this.

  1. Some type of hair restraint (hat, hair net, pony tail holder, etc) should be worn during the cook off.

  1. Wash cutting boards with bleach water between meats and vegetables to avoid cross contamination, or if possible, use different cutting boards for meat and vegetables and clearly label them.

  1. Coolers are required for all refrigerated items and cold food must be kept below 41 degrees F.  Field judges will be checking cooler temperatures before and during the competition. They will also check the meat temperatures prior to judging.

  1. All reheated food must be taken back up to 165 degrees F for safety purposes if the temperature goes below 135 degrees F. A Field judge must take a temperature before reheating to determine how high to reheat the meat.

  1. If bringing store-bought pre-marinated or pre-injected meat to use in competition, please note this in your recipe. (i.e. Butterball Chicken.)

  1. Be prompt; attend the cooks’ meeting for last-minute instructions and questions.

  1. Prior to the day of the competition, read all of the information in the competitor’s cook off packet and come to the cooks’ meeting prepared to ask any questions you may have. If it is a question regarding clarification of a rule or a request for a rule change, please remember to contact the cook off committee at least two weeks prior to the cook off for a ruling on your question.

  1. Teams should demonstrate good sportsmanship within their own teams as well as with the other teams. Good interaction within the teams, with other competing teams, with the cook off helpers and committee, and with the public is an important part of the cooking contest. Teams should be courteous and willing to answer questions.

  1. Temperature guidelines for cooked meat are as follows: Meats should be cooked to at least the following temperatures: (All temperatures should hold for at least 15 seconds)

Poultry, stuffed meats, and stuffing

165 º F

Ground beef, veal, lamb, and pork

and meats that have been chopped or tenderized.

155 º F

Solid portions of beef, pork, lamb, and fish

145 º F

Hot Holding 135 º F or higher

Fin Fish Cook until opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

Scallops Should turn milky white or opaque and firm.

Clams, mussels, oysters Cook until shells open.

Shrimp, lobster, crab Should turn red and flesh should be pearly opaque.

Cold Holding 41° F


  1. There should be no cooking in the pit other than competition dishes. (for example, please don’t cook lunch in your pit.) Food and drink will be available in the Hospitality Suite for all of the cast and crew.

  1. No alcoholic consumption is permitted throughout the entire competition, including up to the announcing of the winners by all participants, judges, helpers, committee members or anyone helping with the cook-off.

  1. Each team is required to bring all their own equipment that is needed to compete, including a cooking table.  One 8 foot prep table will be provided for each team. If you are traveling from a distance, please contact the cook off committee to help make alternative arrangements (loan of equipment) where possible.

  1. The cook off committee will do their best to provide a 10 x 10 foot space for each team. All of your equipment must fit within this space.

  1. If you need hot water for a recipe, please plan on heating it yourself over briquettes (sometimes the hot water runs out at the facility.)

  1. This competition is about encouraging the skill of using the Dutch oven without the use of additional pans such as bread pans, pie tins, tinfoil or foil pan inserts. Trivets under meat and parchment paper are acceptable.

  1. The important thing is to have fun and spread the love and joy of Dutch Oven cooking with everyone you come in contact with.

Facility Specific Limitations

  1. There will be no washing of dishes in the Sandy Expo Center’s sink facility. It is for the disposal of and gaining of water only.

  1. Helpers are not allowed to wash the team’s dishes. That is part of your job as a competitor. They will only help with disposing of and getting water and charcoal.

  1. All charcoal must be lit outside and brought in with a bucket of some kind. Each team is required to provide their own coal bucket.

  1. Make sure your cook table is back about 6 inches from the fabric on the divider poles.

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