Having participated in similar things on other forums I'd just like to say that a photo is really the only thing you can submit online to reach around the world. Sure a nice description helps to explain the photo but as the saying goes, A photo is worth 1000 words.
I feel that the Topic and associated "label" should be followed, but if the topic is say .. Sausage.. does it have to be homemade? Some of you would say yes, but then that limits the entries to only the people who make their own Sausage. Can everyone make Gravy? Nope! Not yet anyways!
What if the topic was Ribeye? Would you have to buy a cow, raise it and butcher it yourself to get that very specific cut of meat? What if the Topic was Corn? Do you have to plant the seed, grow the whole stalk and harvest it in order for it to count? Sounds absurd doesn't it?
This site, as well as the Throw Downs have grown far beyond smoked things. Just take a look at the main page and you'll see.
For me, the Throw Downs are a challenge to my skills. Can I learn something new and present it in an eye catching way? That's the fun part for me personally.
If I recall correctly, in a past Sausage Throw Down, I made an elaborate version of a Low Country Boil that included a smoked sausage, but it also had corn I did not plant, shrimp I did not catch, potatoes that I did not dig up and even a freaking lobster that I didn't dive into the ocean to catch (this time). I did make my own butter from cream, but i didnt milk the cow to get that cream. I met all the criteria of the current rules though.
Just trying to offer another point of view.