Originally Posted by Just Pulin' Pork
Bret this is a conversation that is brought up every year because its a BBQ contest not a garnish contest. IBCA (The International BBQ Association) another sanctioning body, they are out of Texas and they do not require garnish. I have never cooked an IBCA contest but their rules are different. So to answer you, this is brought up every year and the KCBS (Kansas City BBQ Society) requires a garnish as a rule for their events. Personally I like it because it adds something to the contest. Learning to build boxes used to be hard but on the interweb its not hard to find out how to build one.
IBCA rules prohibit any garnish in the box to include pooling sauce. If present in the box it is not accepted at the turnin table until corrected. They have paper towels handy to mop the sauce and garbage containers for the garnish. The only thing that WILL be in the box is the piece of foil they gave you with the box (placed neatly in the bottom without identifiable creases), the exact number of pieces stated at the meeting and no pooling.
KCBS makes garnish optional. Some teams leave it out but most put it in. There are specific rules about type allowed, if used, and I really don't think it has any traction to ever change.