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Memphis in May

posted May 17, 2012, 1:35 PM by C Compton
One of the major barbecue competitions, some say the biggest, begins today.  Memphis in May is an annual collection of the best pitmasters and some not so good.  There are other events surrounding the three day event, but the Q is where it's at!  Last years Champion, Big Bob Gibson's Barbecue returns to do battle with with well known teams like Cool Smoke-- Pitmaster Tuffy Stone, Jack's Old South-- Pitmaster Myron Mixon, Yazoo's Delta Q-- Pitmaster Melissa Cookston, and many more.  I wouldn't count Chris Lilly, Pitmaster for Big Bob Gibson's Barbecue out for a repeat, but repeating in this competition is a bigger challenge than your first brisket.

One thing I always find interesting is the names of barbecue teams.  Some teams represent companies and their names reflect that.  Then you have Big Al and the Buttrubbers, The Count Bastie Porkestra, Hogs & Kisses, Pork Fiction,  Pork Me Baby,  Pork Me Tender,  Pork O Saurus, and the Porkstars.  Whew!  It's a veritable Pig Pandemonium and that's the name of a team too!

This competition and all the others in the Memphis Barbecue Network uses an different scoring system which reflects their total interest in pork barbecue.  Three categories are cooked: Whole Hog, Pork Butt, and Pork Rib.  The highest single category score gets the Grand Prize.  So a feller could have tough ribs, burn his hog, and a really nice butt would get him the Grand Prize.  I am not sure how Chris Lilly's ribs or hog turned out last year, but he apparently had the best butt in Memphis! :)  The second way MBN competitions differ is that a judge visits each team in contention for the best of category.  The pitmaster then has to put on the swine and dine show.  I can promise you that the often blunt Myron Mixon is the king of polishing his hog for a judge.

Since all of this is subjective, it really can be any ones day.  I am looking forward to the results and I believe I just may have to make some Q on Saturday to demonstrate my barbecue solidarity.

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