If you’ve never had the chance to attend a BBQ competition you must do so as soon as possible. Run, don’t walk. I tell you this because I recently attended the Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Contest and it was a phenomenal experience. There are several large competitions throughout the year in various cities around the country, but Memphis in May is the big one. It’s affectionately referred to as the “Super Bowl of Swine.” It was truly a sight to see….and smell. Two weeks later and my purse still smells like smoked pork. Seriously.
There were over 250 teams and over 90,000 visitors. Competitors travel from all over the world to compete in categories like ribs, chicken, whole hog and exotic meat. Each team has their own booth where they grill, smoke, marinate, inject, baste and brush for three days in hopes of winning a cash prize and most importantly – bragging rights.
As much fun as the festival was, I was there for work. My Weber colleagues and I spent three days doing grilling demonstrations with our latest products, promoting the Weber Mobile Grill Academy and our latest cookbook “Weber’s Big Book of Burgers.” I am beyond blessed to have a job that I love and to work with people who are so passionate about what we do.
While we did our thing, the competition teams worked tirelessly, often sleeping in sleeping bags in their booth so they could wake up every few hours to check the temperatures on their smokers. Now that is dedication. I could barely stand waking up every two hours when I had a newborn and that was for my own child. Imagine doing that for a pork shoulder!
I was so impressed with their dedication and passion for barbecue. You cannot imagine how much time, effort and serious money these people pour into the competition.
The first night we were there we had dinner with the Danish National BBQ Team. Who knew there was such a thing?! Three of my Weber colleagues from Europe are on the team and they made some truly amazing food. We dined on grilled pork belly with potatoes and parsley sauce. I could have drank an entire bowl of the sauce…it was that good.
And for dessert we had mixed berries with heavy cream. Yes, please! I also got to try some of their competition ribs and they were off the charts. I learned a lot from them and I appreciate the time they spent teaching me and sharing their knowledge and passion. The competition was serious business but a good time was had by all.
When I got home I put my newfound knowledge to use by slow-smoking a pork shoulder. It was amazing! We had bbq pork sandwiches, of course, and I used some of the pork on a grilled pizza. Hands down my favorite grilled pizza to date. I’m working on the recipe and will post about it soon. In the meantime, I’ll be doing lots of running to burn off the unimaginable amount of calories I consumed in Memphis. 🙂