The 36th annual Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest went down earlier this month in Tom Lee Park, near downtown Memphis on the banks of the Mississippi River. Often called the Super Bowl of Swine, it’s the largest pork barbecue contest in the world, drawing more than 250 teams to compete for $110,000 in cash, prizes and bragging rights. And when the hogs are smoking and the beer is flowing, even cruddy weather can’t prevent one big, ridiculous, meat-filled party. See what we mean on the following pages… Photography:Joe York
Abandon all diets, ye who enter here…
Memphis in May judge Frank Chin. By Saturday night, he will call himself Frank Chins.
Barbecue tents brighten an otherwise grey and muddy day to stroll along the mighty Mississippi.
Put a fork, er, pin in it at the VooDooQ team tent.
The universe has a few immutable laws, one of which is: anyone who serves a drink called the Panty Dropper is not getting any panties to drop. Yet the Swinos insist, “We can’t tell you what’s in it, but it works.”
They would also give Martin Sheen a heart attack.
Backstage at the judge’s tent, the fans desperately try to blow away the meat sweats.
Man invented fire, and so here we are. Time to cook.
“Uh, honey, yes, we are working hard. What’s that? Oh, of course, we’re sober.”
Team members from Fireman John’s BBQ take a cooking break to see if anyone can hit a golf ball across the Mississippi River. Or just into it.
Visitors can’t eat the competition barbecue, so they stave off the jones with corn dogs, funnel cakes and an endless river of Budweiser.
A preview of things to come? Stay tuned...