Texas Gatorfest, the Lone Star State’s most unique festival, would like to invite you to participate in the Annual Texas Gatorfest Barbecue Cook-Off to kick off this year’s festival. Our family oriented festival is one of the fastest growing festivals in Texas. It has stablished a reputation for being “good old-fashioned Texas fun” and providing visitors with a variety of entertainment. Our celebration of the alligator and its wetlands habitat has something for everyone.


The cook-off will be held the weekend prior to Texas GATORFEST 2022: September 8-9, on the festival grounds in historic Fort Anahuac Park. Saturday participates and visitors alike will enjoy the cook-off activities, cornhole and washer tournaments and a street dance with live entertainment.


CHANGES & Reminders for 2022:

  • The 2022 Texas GATORFEST Cook-Off will be held, September 8-9, 2022 (weekend PRIOR to the festival).

  • The first 30 teams that have paid entries submitted will be accepted.

  • Contestants may move in starting Thursday, September 8, 2022, at 5:00 pm

  • MANDATORY Cooks Meeting will be held Friday, September 8, 2022, at 3:00 pm.

  • NEW CATEGORY - Kid’s Burger have been added this year! Open to 30 participants ages 5 – 17 years old. Kids will only be allowed to enter under a team that is already participating in the Texas Gatorfest BBQ Cook Off; teams may enter multiple kids. *see rules 15 & 16 for more information

  • We will be limited on set up space this year and cannot promise each team electrical outlets like in years past.

  • There will be NO OYSTERS or GATOR FOR SALE at the cook-off! Contestants must make their own arrangements formeat.

  • Teams can pre-purchase general admission tickets at a discounted rate of $5 each. This must be done with the submission of your BBQ application; after the submission of your application tickets must be purchased at full price.

  • Chicken to be turned in ½ fully jointed chicken that includes the breast, wing (WING-TIP OPTIONAL) and drumstick.

  • ALL ENTRY PORTIONS SHOUBLE BE ADEQUATE FOR THE TASTINGS OF 12 JUDGES.

  • Pellet Smokers may be used FRIDAY only. No Pellet Grills will be allowed to be used to cook or prepare items on Saturday. Anyone who uses a pellet grill/smoker on Saturday will be disqualified from all Saturday entries with no refund.

  • See attached document for new information on the cocktail and bloody Mary categories.

  • Trophies will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd,and 3rdplaces in each division. Payouts will be based on the number of entries per division. 1st, 2nd, and 3rdplace in each division will receive a payout. Jackpot in each category will be awarded to the highest placing team entered in that respective jackpot.

Entry Deadline: Monday, August 29, 2022, before 5 pm
Set-Up: Thursday, September 8, 2022, 5 pm – Friday, September 9, 2022, 12 pm
Take Down: Sunday, September 11, 2022, 8 am – 12 pm
Cook Sites: Your cook site will consist of a 40’ x 40’ space.


Entries will be limited & will be awarded on first come first served basis with PAID entries!


Categories: Contestants must compete in a minimum of 4 out of the 9 following categories:
Cocktail, Dessert, Oyster, Rice, Blood Mary, Chicken, Rib, Gator & Brisket


Entry Fees: $30 each
Judging Time:

  • Friday, September 9, 2022

    • 5:00 pm-Cocktail

    • 5:30 pm-Kid’s Burger

    • 6:30 pm-Dessert

    • 7:30 pm-Oysters

    • 8:30 pm-Rice

  • Saturday, September 10, 2022

    • 9:00 am-Bloody Mary

    • 10:00 am-Chicken

    • 11:30 am-Ribs

    • 1:30 pm-Gator

    • 2:30 pm-Brisket

Winners will be announced, and trophies given at 6:00 pm *time subject to change*


Exhibitor Rules:
**A limited number of entries will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis to paid entrants only.

  1. Entrants exhibit at their own risk. The festival provides daytime and overnight security (Friday & Saturday nights). Texas Gatorfest and the Anahuac Area Chamber of Commerce, its members, or agents, assume no liability for injury, damage, loss or theft of any exhibitor’s display.

  2. Once accepted, an entrant is committed to show.

  3. There are no rain dates, no refunds. (This includes act of God i.e.: hurricanes)

  4. Texas Gatorfest reserves the right to reject any entry or to remove any contestant or team found to be breaking festival rules or whose conduct is found to be unfavorable to the festival or its guest. The head cook will be responsible for the conduct of his/her team and guests. Excessive use of alcoholic beverages will be grounds for disqualifications and removal.

  5. All cooking teams, their employees and associates agree to greet and provide professional service to all Gatorfest guest. They also agree to work with Gatorfest volunteers and staff in a positive manner. Any vendor, exhibitor or contractor of Texas Gatorfest who chose to exhibit an unprofessional code of conduct, will be asked to leave the festival.

  6. Water is available but be prepared with long hoses on some spots. Each team will be limited to one 110 outlet plug of electricity *IF AVAILABLE*. Should your setup require more electricity, you will need to bring a generator. All generators used will be subject to inspection by electricians hired by the festival. Each team shall be responsible for providing their own extension cords to reach the electrical supply source and or hoses to reach water sources. Cook sites will consist of a 40’ x 40’ space. Only one self-contained RV per cook site.

  7. A MANDATORY Cooks Meeting will be held Friday at 3:00 pm. Only head cooks are required to attend.

  8. All meats and perishables must be in packaging and on ice or cold storage upon arrival and remain on ice or in cold storage until used. All meats will be inspected prior to cooking.

  9. NO MEATS MAY BE COOKED, SALTED, MARINATED, INJECTED, OR SEASONED IN ANY MANOR PRIOR TO MEAT CHECK.

  10. Contestants must supply all needed equipment and supplies. No gas or electric cookers allowed for Kid’s burgers, Brisket, Chicken and Ribs. Wood or wood substance only, except for Cook’s Choice categories. All fires must be in containers not on the ground. 

  11. Each team will be given five GATORFEST BBQ Cook Off Bracelets good for admittance to the COOK-OFF on Friday and Saturday. These bracelets are to be worn by the head cook and team at all times. Each team will also receive 5 complimentary GATORFEST Gate Passes for Saturday of the cook-off and 5 gate passes for the festival.

  12. All gates to and from the BBQ Cook-Off Area will be locked each night at 12:00 am. Once the gates are locked, there will be no traffic (vehicular or foot) after that time. The gate to the cook off area will be locked starting at 4:00 pm on Friday and will reopen at 8 am until 9:00 am on Saturday morning to allow teams to refresh and restock. Teams needing to enter before 8 am can enter the gate on foot as long as they have proper identification. 

  13. Teams will receive a Styrofoam container from Festival officials. Each container will contain a piece of foil in the bottom, the foil must be completely concealed (inside the container) when it is turned in for judging. 

  14. All props (storefronts), tents, coverings and equipment must be confined to the assigned areas. Teams should bring with them such suitable shelters as weather may require. 

  15. Chicken, Ribs and Brisket Entries: NO SAUCE OR GARNISH will be allowed on contest meat or in the container that is provided by the Festival Officials. Any entries with sauce or garnishment will be considered disqualified. (You may cook these items with sauce, though no sauce should be added after the cooking process.) 

  16. Kid’s Category Rules: Kids burger category is open to participants ages 5 – 17 years old. Participants will only be allowed to enter under a team that is already participating in the Texas Gatorfest BBQ Cook Off; teams may enter multiple kids. Each child cooking must have adult supervision with them at all times. Parents may only assist in starting the fire and/or cutting the meat. We will not allow “teams” to help prepare or cook at any time for this category. 

  17. Cocktail (Cooks Choice): You may enter any type of Cocktail of your choice but it must be prepared on site! Entries 
    cannot be store bought. Cocktails must be submitted in the containers provided by Festival Officials. Garnishes allowed as long as it fits within the confines of the container. Please see attached Cocktail/Bloody Mary Updates document. 

  18. Kids Burgers (Cook's Choice): Cook's choice category, you may enter any type of burger but it must be cooked on site 
    over an open fire! Turn-In will be patty ONLY and it must be cut into 8 pieces. No sauces or garnishes may be used in the turn-in tray. 

  19. Dessert (Cook’s Choice): Cook’s choice category, you may enter any type of dessert but it must be cooked on site! 
    Entries cannot be store bought and cannot require refrigeration. Dessert entries must be submitted in the containers provided by the Festival Officials. Garnishes allowed as long as it fits within the confines of the container. 

  20. Oysters (Cook’s Choice): Cook’s choice category, you may enter any oyster dish as long as the dish is prepared on site! Participants must purchase their own oysters. Oysters are available locally from Jeri’s Seafood, 409/355-2243.

  21. Rice (Cook’s Choice): Cook’s choice category, you may enter any rice dish as long as the dish is prepared on site! 

  22. Bloody Mary (Cooks Choice): You may enter any type of Bloody Mary of your choice but it must be prepared on site! 
    Entries cannot be store bought. Bloody Marys must be submitted in the containers provided by Festival Officials. Garnishes allowed as long as it fits within the confines of the container. Please see attached Cocktail/Bloody Mary Updates document. 

  23. Chicken: Chicken to be turned in ½ fully jointed chicken that includes breast, wing (wing tip OPTIONAL), thigh, and 
    drumstick. 

  24. Pork Spare Ribs: Pork spare ribs are to be turned in cut up individually (bone-in) and placed in the tray, top up, lying 
    parallel to the hinge. St. Louis cut acceptable. A minimum of 8 ribs must be submitted. 

  25. Alligator (Cook’s Choice): Recipe and preparation will be cook’s choice. Alligator meat will be inspected along with  the other meats as set forth in #7 of these rules. Alligator meat is available locally from alligator farmer, Porter’s Processing, 409/267-8413; however, these arrangements should be made prior to the cook-off. 

  26. Brisket: Brisket to be turned in placed in tray parallel to the hinge and cut less than ½ inch thick. 

  27. Trophies will be awarded to the 1st, 2ndand 3rdplaces in each division. Payouts will be based on the number of entries per division. 1st, 2nd, and 3rdplace in each division will receive a payout. Jackpot in each category will be awarded to the highest placing team entered into that respective jackpot. 

  28. Ice will be available throughout the cook-off on a cash only basis. 

  29. For more information on Texas Gatorfest Barbecue Cook-Off, the rules, or the festival itself, call the Anahuac Area Chamber of Commerce at 409/267-4190, visit us at www.texasgatorfest.com or email Katelynn Smith, katelynn@texasgatorfest.com 

  30. All teams agree to abide by the following festival rules:

  • No glass containers or concealed weapons may be brought into the park

  • No pets allowed in the park

  • No refunds

  • No swimming or personal pools

  • Festival authorized displays only

  • Use of handheld radios (walkie-talkies) prohibited

  • Everyone entering the festival is subject to search by Texas Gatorfest Security or local law enforcement officials.

  • This includes guest, volunteers, vendors, exhibitors, contractors, and entertainers

  • Participation in all activities available at Texas Gatorfest is by choice and at the participant’s own risk

  • Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code A person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411 Government Code may not enter this property with a concealed handgun or weapon.

31. Submission of an entry constitutes agreement on the part of the entrant to the terms and conditions set forth in this prospectus. Chief Cook and all team members listed on application for entry must sign a Texas Gatorfest Vendor/Exhibitor Agreement.