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Memphis, a Mecca for Pork Lovers

Memphis, TN. 

For worshippers of the Pig, Memphis in May is one holy combination. The weather is hot, the grills are sizzling, and smoke fills the air. It is in May when acolytes of the Church of the Pig congregate on the banks of the Mississippi for four days of feast, celebration, and good ole’ competition. They come for the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and erect a thriving shanty town on the riverside. Each team comes equipped with its own Porta John, sink, refrigerator, speakers, tents – some simple pop up tents, others two story dance halls – disco balls, dance floor, grills, and of course, meat. The flesh of untold beasts hiss and spit day in and day out. Pit masters and crew tend to the meat with religious zeal: basting, braising, injecting, tenderizing.

Through a tenuous connection  (I as the girlfriend of a friend of a brother of a Pit Master) I was able to tag along with team SnoutKast, the unofficial title holders of “Best Team Name.” Though the team is relatively young – this was its third year at Memphis in May – and comprised entirely of students and young professionals, SnoutKast placed respectably in the top 25 for the shoulder competition!

Practical Info: The Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is an event held annually along the Mississippi River, with competitions in Pork- patio porkers, shoulder, whole hog, rib – and Anything But-  hot wings, exotic, beef, seafood, poultry, etc. With hundreds of teams cooking nonstop for three days, it’s a feast for the eyes, ears, belly and snout!

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