Participating in the 42nd Annual Oyster Cook-Off

2021 Oyster Cook-Off-Rules (in MS Word .docx Format). The Oyster Cook-off is supported by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Seafood Marketing Program, the St. Mary’s County Department of Economic and Community Development, and the Rotary Club of Lexington Park.

Forty Second Annual


Part of the US Oyster Festival in St. Mary’s County, MD

Download 2021 Oyster Cook-Off-Rules in a printable Adobe .pdf file

Saturday, October 16, 2021

St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds

Leonardtown, MD


Hors d’oeuvres,

Soups & Stews, and

Main Dishes



1ST                  $300

2ND                 $200

3rd                   $150


Recipes must be submitted by August 31, 2021. Each contestant may enter up to a total 6 (six) recipes.

Please either email your recipe(s) to:

or mail it to:

US Oyster Festival, P.O. Box 766, California, MD 20619.



  1. 1)  Type or print your original recipe on 81?2” X 11” paper. On each recipe note the title, the category being entered, the number of people it serves, and all ingredients along with full preparation instructions. (Original Recipe = contestant must be the creator of recipe and able to attend contest in person to prepare the dish for judging; no substitutions allowed). Include name, address, telephone number, and email address. A photo of the completed dish should be included whenever possible.
  2. 2)  All recipes become the property of the National Oyster Cook-Off. Entry constitutes permission to edit, adapt, publish or otherwise use recipe without further compensation.
  3. 3)  Finalists will be notified by September 15, 2021 and must respond with commitment to participate by September 20, 2021. There will be 9 finalists to compete – 3 contestants per category. A contestant may compete in only one category. If more than one recipe by the same person is initially selected as a “finalist”, the contestant must choose in which category they will compete.
  4. 4)  Evaluation of the finished dish by the panel of judges is based on flavor, originality, predominance of oysters, color, and attractiveness of presentation.
  5. 5)  Finalists are responsible for transportation to St. Mary’s County, Md., to prepare recipe at Cook-Off. Friday night complimentary hotel accommodation are provided for contestants, and all are invited to attend the welcoming reception on Friday evening.
  6. 6)  Finalists will provide all recipe ingredients, mixing and cooking utensils. Fresh shucked oysters will be provided for you.
  7. 7)  Fresh oysters must be the predominant part of the dish. Recipe must use a minimum of 1 pint of oysters or 1 dozen fresh oysters in the shell. Contestants must specify whether they want shucked or un-shucked oysters. If your presentation requires oyster shells, you must bring your own sterilized shells.
  8. 8)  Contestants are limited to 1 hour for the prep and cooking of recipe. Recipes must be prepared double, one set-up for the judges and one for the photographers and press (this second portion will be served to the crowd for the People’s Choice votes.)
  9. 9)  The Cook-Off is open to everyone.

Recipes must be submitted by August 31, 2020. Each contestant may enter up to a total 6 (six) recipes. Please either email your recipe(s) to: or mail it to: US Oyster Festival, P.O. Box 766, California, MD 20619.