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And The Winner(s) Is (are)...

In the end it all comes down to the final count.  The crowd was huddled tight and excitedly against cool winds as they shared a family spirit of everyone being ...

Winners in the Waiting

At this moment the judges are convening to decide the fate of the faithful.  Q teams from across the fruited plains are holding their breath and each believing it is ...

Winners in the Works, and Those Announced

Today is the big finale for the MIM World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest with judging of Whole Hog, Shoulder and Ribs starting at 11:00 (gates open at 10:00).  Tonight teams, ...

A Mounting Ritual in Procession

As the ebbing and flowing of the sun and clouds has treated all in attendance to a slow bake with gentle winds, a feeling of well-being for this displaced river ...

Free Shuttle to BBQ Fest

Continuous FREE Shuttle Service from Downtown to BBQ Festival Offered.

Going to Memphis in May? Come Hungry

All that smoke certainly stirs the hunger pangs at the epic event known as the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, and there are dozens of vendors to ...

How to Have a Good Time Without Knowing a Team

O.K., so you’re going down to the biggest, baddest, bestest of the best barbecue festival in the world, and you don’t know a soul there with a barbecue ...

Voo Doo Q Takes Ms. Piggy to Transylvania

Six lusty teams put forth outstanding efforts to claim the trove of Ms. Piggy Idol in the early evening hours of May 12, 2011.  First was....

A Successful Beginning to a Moveable Feat

Friends and Family came together Wednesday night at the Mid-South Fairgrounds to kick the tires at the relocated “Come Hell or High Water” World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.  All indications ...

Tiger Lane's Asphalt Easier Than Muddy Waters

Preparations are nearing completion for the opening of the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest at Tiger Lane at the Mid-South Fairgrounds.  Thursday, May 12, will mark the commencement of this ...

BBQ Trails: The Northwest Comes to The Mid-South

Barbecue competitors travel from all over the map to cook at the world's biggest pork party. Some travel with teams, others are free agents. Meet one cook from the Northwest.

Meet Restaurateurs Who Love Memphis in May

There are quite a few folks in the restaurant business who get fired up about competing in the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and we salute them!

Barbecue Contest Moved to Fairgrounds

Memphis In May officials decided Monday to move the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest to Tiger Lane  from the soon-to-be-submerged Tom Lee Park.

Getting Nostalgic About Past MIM Competitons

Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is famous for some mighty tall tales. In this post, Ernie Mellor, a seasoned veteran of this competition shares a red-hot story ...

Where: Tiger Lane at the Mid-South Fairgrounds.

When: Thursday-Saturday.


Thursday: Gates open to public at 11 a.m., free admission from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

  • 5:30 p.m., Opening ceremonies
  • 6 p.m., Ms. Piggie Idol Contest
  • 8 p.m., Awards (Piggy Idol, Best Booth, Best T-Shirt)
  • 8:30 p.m., Music by Pam and Terry, high-energy rock, country, pop

Friday: Gates open to public at 11 a.m., free admission from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • 12:30 p.m., Ancillary judging
  • 5 p.m., Cold Hard Cash Show, variety show with comedy and music
  • 6:30 p.m., Awards (Cole Slaw, Anything But, Baked Beans, Hot Wings, Sauce).
  • 7:30 p.m., music by Tonic

Saturday: Gates open to public at 10 a.m.

  • 11 a.m., barbecue competition judging
  • 6:30 p.m., barbecue competition awards
  • 8 p.m., music by Clarence Carter

Tickets: Can be purchased online through Ticketmaster or by calling (800) 745-3000. Tickets also be sold at gates off East Parkway between Southern and Central, at Central and Early Maxwell and at Southern and Early Maxwell. Ticket prices: Online single day: $7 in advance; Single day ticket: $8 at gate; People's Choice: $5; Children 6 and under: Free

More information: Including information on parking ($5 in public lots around the stadium) go to memphisinmay.org.

Who will win? Who should we be keeping an eye on? Who will present the judges with the tastiest morsels? Here’s the short list of who to be watching for as smokin’ hot contenders for the pork prizes at Memphis in May.

As last year’s Grand Champions, Yazoo Delta Q, is in everyone’s crosshairs. They’re the ones to knock off stage. They upset all the others in a startling win in 2010 and surely have the confidence to do it again. They are sort of the Sugar Ray Leonards of Q, and the mere mention of their name triggers awe.

10 Bones, with Mark West at the pit is always hot. In 2010, they took 2nd Place in Whole Hog at MIM and Grand Champions at the Tennessee Funfest, just to mention two high spots. West opened 10 Bones Restaurant last year in Southaven, and has more trophies and time at the cooker than many teams combined. He surely wants continued attention for his business. Elbows flying — best not get in his way!

A team lurking back behind the pack and capable of an easy pounce to the front based on historical achievement and headed by legendary Myron Mixon is Jack’s Old South. He took the Grand Champion at MIM three times — 2001, 2004 and 2007. His celebrity status could get in his way, or it could be the rocket fuel that his larger-than-life personality thrives and succeeds on. Look out for Myron!

Boar's Night Out, a second- generation team of relatively new fame that started as a group of recently-divorced guys, is more than encouraged and ready for the ruckus. As Grand Champions in 2010 at The Music City Festival, pit master and founder Allen Smith is coming to MIM with the fire in his belly, a new tandem-axle rig, and a steady stream of southeastern competitions in recent months. Hot to trot and not to be taken lightly!

And if you suspect Brown Chicken Brown Cow just by name is a sleeper, you can be assured that they are as evidenced by the former Grand Champs that they beat-out last year to take second place in whole hog at the Memphis BBQ Network Championship. They placed 17th in shoulder at MIM, and that ain’t bad in the arena of the best.

But if you want to keep an eye on core champions who are fully determined to win, and all indications by prior standings would support that resolve, you must be focused on Sweet Swine O’ Mine. They are as serious as a whole hog heart attack, and will attack with the full force of multi-talented Mark Lambert, dentist “sauce man” Richard Lackie, and pit hog tender, Chris Culver. They’re bad, and they know it!

Natural Born Grillers is at the top of the heap most years and never inclined to be anything but relentless in the midst of smoke and heat. Pork Fiction seems to want it, and this could be the year they coalesce into the team effort needed to win. Other finalists from last year like Cool Smoke (1st in Shoulder), Sofa King Smokers (2nd in Ribs), Prime Time BBQ (3rd in Ribs) could just do it. Not to forget the Rebel Roaster Revue (2nd Shoulder) and, hot on their heels by the judges’ scores, The Shed BBQ and Blues Joint (3rd Whole Hog).

What to look for at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest:

Shade – There isn’t much of it in Tom Lee Park, and big umbrellas are not permitted, so wear a hat with a brim. In order to enjoy as many hours as possible eating and drinking, you need to look for or create your own sun protection. When you spot some shade, take advantage, if just for a few minutes.

Refreshment – No coolers are allowed in the festival, so bring money for water, beer or soft drinks. All can be found at stations scattered throughout the park and in the vending area near the middle of the festival.

Invitations to Eat Barbecue – Look for people you know, or people looking for another friendly face (yours!), as you parade by the competition booths. Remember, this is a major party, and if you can befriend someone on the inside, an invitation to sample some Q may be next. Compliments go further than requests.

Celebrities – Memphis Barbecue Competition brings notables from around the world. They love to grovel in the mud with Memphians, and you may just find yourself glancing into a star’s eyes at any turn. Sightings over the years include politicians, movie celebs and sports figures. Keep a look out and your camera ready.

Ms. Piggie – She’ll be there as a man in a pink thong, a woman with whisk-broom eyelashes, a grade-schooler with an oversized snout or the Elvis reincarnate with a rhinestone corkscrew tail and long sideburns attached to pointy ears. She’s looking for a date, and you may want to be it when she wins the Ms. Piggie Idol Con

About the 2011 Memphis in May International Festival

Tickets for the Beale Street Music Festival, World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, AutoZone Sunset Symphony and Belgium on Beale may be purchased online through ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets will also be sold at the north and south gates at Tom Lee Park for Music Fest and the Barbecue Cooking Contest.

World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest -- May 12-14 in Tom Lee Park. Online ticket, $7; at the gate, $8. People's Choice, $5. Children 6 and under, free.

Sunset Symphony -- May 28. Online ticket, $7; at the gate, $8. Children 6 and under, free; VIP tables, $475.