Monday, May 17, 2010

The Pork Show

2010 Memphis In May World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest

No other event in the entire world focuses more on BBQ than the Memphis In May BBQ Cooking Contest, hosted every May in Memphis, TN. Hundreds of different teams throughout the world enter the event to see who is the King of Swine and win lots of money. There are 4 major categories to enter: whole hog, shoulder, ribs and patio porkers. Smaller competitions can be entered by any team within these 4 main categories that include: beans, slaw, sauces, hot wings, beef, poultry, seafood and exotic. Each team, no matter what category, bring their crews, smokers, tents, scaffolding, trailers, coolers, lots and lots of beer, tons of meat and most important, their A-game. It is by far the biggest event hosted in Memphis each year and is also the most fun I have ever had in my life.

I decided long ago that I wanted to volunteer for Memphis In May but wasn't too sure where I would fit in exactly. I went to a MIM volunteer expo back in February that had several options for Beale Street Music Fest, BBQ Cooking Contest and other events throughout the month of May. Each service for these events is run by a specific committee and all of them had booths set up with committee captains available to explain their services. Upon walking in, I was instantly snagged by the Contestants committee and introduced to one of the Ambassador team captains. It was explained to me that an Ambassador is the middle person between the BBQ teams and the event itself. They aid the teams in anything they need before, during and after the event so they can have the smoothest, most fun time possible. Ambassadors also help out with the on-site judging and blind judging categories for the teams. I fell in love on the spot and didn't hear a word that any other committee told me the remainder of the expo. I found my calling.

We had multiple meetings throughout the winter and spring months to prepare us for the contest. During this time, my involvement interested my buddy Tim, who tagged along for the fun. After all the preparation was final, the time was here. From Wednesday last week until yesterday, Tim and I became the new guys on the park. We were assigned to 5 ribs teams each that are very well known and had excellent spots right on the river. From the moment we walked in the gate, our teams were anxious to meet us and let the good times begin. We worked hard, made new friends, assisted in any way possible and had some of the best BBQ known to man. After 5 days of non-stop action, I was exhausted but would do it again next weekend if given the opportunity.

During our time on the park, I explained Burn My Mouth to many people and some were very interested in the concept. Coors from SSG, one of my teams, brought me some home made hot sauce that is absolutely fantastic. His dad has been making it for many years and he generously gave me a few bottles. Within one of Tim's teams, I was introduced to two guys from Guatemala who are fellow bloggers that write about food and beer around the world, found here: They brought with them some dried chili cobanero peppers. I have never heard of these and from what was explained, they are only found in Guatemala and other areas in South America. I was given a bunch and ate a few of them in front of many people who were expecting me to fall dead. A very, very hot pepper with lots of flavor made me sweat like mad, but I lived to tell the tale. As the event went on throughout the weekend, I had the pleasure to help out with on-site judging in whole hog. Here, I met the owners of The Shed. I saw these guys on the Food Network and would have never imagined meeting them. Not only did I meet Brooke and Brad, who are the brother and sister of the family-ran BBQ joint, I met their entire family. It was an absolute honor and I was given some of their Spicy ShedSpred which is an amazing, hot BBQ sauce. This will be used on many dishes at home and I plan on visiting one of their many locations once I make it back down to the Gulf Coast.

I have found this blog post difficult to write because of all the amazing experiences and people that we met on Tom Lee Park this past weekend. Too many stories to tell that will always be remembered. I finish my post with some of many pictures taken during the event. If you have had the pleasure of attending MIM BBQ before, then you know how great it is. If you haven't, mark your calendars for 2011 and prepare for one awesome experience!

1 comment:

  1. I got a Rib in the box baby.