THURSDAY, DECEMBER 08, 2016

Announcements

MEMPHIS IN MAY WCBCC / BBQ FEST 2016

There are just 12 days until the Superbowl of Swine!!!

MAY 11-14 2016

Memphis booths

If you are a spectator planning to attend the festival in 2016 and don’t want to join a team, click here for our Tips for Visitors Not on a BBQ Team

Want history of the contest and some overall guidance for the festival…Click here for our Unofficial Guide To Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest

If you are attending MIM and need a Sample Itinerary on how to do the festival right…here it is

Are you planning to bring the little ones to Memphis in May…Click here for our BBQ Fest for Families

TSTP BOOTHOur 2015 Team Booth

If you are a Barbecue Team looking for a breakdown of what it takes gear and money wise to do this amazing contest click here for our Step by Step Guide to BBQ Fest for Teams

If you are planning on attending Memphis in May an want a great description of what it is like, go to this link from Extraordinary BBQ about the contest.

CLICK HERE FOR MEMPHIS IN MAY’S OFFICIAL SITE

Memphis2016

Announcements

Attending MIM

Picture this: You arrive in Memphis, Tennessee on a Thursday morning in May. In the airport you see a few quick service BBQ restaurants; Sun Cafe and Interstate. Even though you are quite famished after your 6 a.m. flight, you of course pass these stale airport outlets in favor of the fresh smoked love that Memphis has to offer.

Hailing a cab, you tell your driver to high-tail it downtown. Stepping out of the cab at your hotel, your sinuses are assaulted by the smell of roast pork, spices, and sweet smoke. You walk through the revolving door and into the Grand Lobby of the Peabody Hotel, taking notice of the ducks splashing around in the center fountain, and the tux clad jazz pianist in the bar.

Peabody1
Checking in at your hotel, you can’t help but notice the hazy blue fog drifting and dancing about the alleys and byways of downtown. You drop your luggage and proceed to relive your own version of “Walking in Memphis”, pretending those Nike’s are blue suede, you are walking with your feet 10 feet off of Beale. You grab a “Big Ass Beer” from a vendor on Beale Street, watch the Beale Street Flippers do 27 continuous backward handsprings down the middle of the road; then follow the crowds, and your nose, towards the Mississippi River. Walking down the long brick-clad street, Ole Man River comes into view and so does the crowd. There are about a thousand or so people here, all calmly walking to the gates of what many consider to be the Super Bowl of Swine.

As you walk through the huge gates of the contest, the sweet smell of hickory hangs thick in the air. Over 250 BBQ team booths (some 3 levels tall) line the over one mile long park. Over 100,000 people flock to this Mecca of BBQ every year to eat, drink, and worship at the altar of swine. This is the Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest. Held every year on the third weekend in May, Thursday through Saturday, it is certified by Guinness as the “World’s Largest Pork BBQ Contest.” In three days, over 84 tons of pork are cooked and consumed.

 

 

Before founding our Barbecue family, Too Sauced To Pork, many of us cooked on different teams in the contest. We were guests of barbecue teams for many years before that. Some of us on Too Sauced To Pork have been a part of this amazing contest in one form or another for over 25 years

 

US

There is one huge drawback to the festival: you can’t buy the competing team’s barbecue. Due to Memphis Health Department regulations, teams are not allowed to sell or give out samples to the general public…BUT…BBQ teams can give food and beverages to “invited guests.” An “invited guest” is defined in the rules as anyone inside the fence of your team booth. There are bbq vendors and a few of them are teams, but the best way to experience this contest is on a team, or at least in a team booth, otherwise you will be on the outside looking in. You can join a team; there are many that offer everyday people a chance to experience this swinetastic soiree. You can also buy a VIP Pit pass, participate in the Kingsford Tour of Champions and judge the teams BBQ, or tour team booths in the Cooker Caravan. But the easiest thing you can do is simply talk to teams, ask us about our smokers, our meat or our process…most of us will invite you in and give you a little tour.

The days are full of contests, 16 different categories over 3 days. The nights are full of raging parties, many of which have huge buffet dinners, DJ’s, light shows, dance floors and multiple bars on multiple stories of a BBQ booth. When I say booth, I know you picture a ten foot by ten foot EZ-up with a table and some smokers. Nope. These monstrosities are larger than most people’s houses. Many are 26 feet wide by 50 feet deep, 1,300 square feet, before you start adding levels to them. Some of these scaffolding-boned portable structures are three stories tall, 3,900 square feet of pure pork party.

Booth42

Thursday is the Best Booth, Best T-shirt, and the Ms. Piggie Idol contest. First two are self-explanatory, the third is, well, more complicated. Performers wear elaborate costumes, many featuring full-figured men in pig drag, singing porked-up versions of popular songs. Winners have included “Rib in a Box,” “Grills, Grills, Grills,” “Sweet Swine O’ Mine,” and the “Swine Warp.” The best time to connect with teams is on this day. Go around and ask about their cookers. No team can resist showing off. Awards are in the early evening and then a band is called in to finish out the night.

Piggie Idol3Friday is chock full of competition cooking with the ancillary division contests. Categories include Tomato, Mustard and Vinegar Sauces; meat categories which include Beef, Poultry, Exotic, and Seafood, as well as the Hot Wings contest. A band plays before the awards, and then another after.

Many cooking teams throw down the party on Thursday but are very much reserved on Friday night in anticipation for Saturday’s turn-ins. Of course that is just the cooking crew, about five people. The rest of the team, up to 200 members for some teams, live high on the hog and party till the cops shut them down for quiet time at midnight.

 

 

party time

Saturday dawns with the reverence of a Sunday morning Baptist church. There are no loud stereos, no parties, and no sign of the Carnival-like atmosphere of the previous days. This is the Church of Cochon.

Today we celebrate and piously reflect upon the main pork categories of Ribs, Shoulder, and Whole Hog. Every team has a blind box to turn in, and three onsite judges to schmooze. Booths are dolled up prettier than a 5th Avenue fine dining restaurant. Silver platters hold racks of ribs, exotic lettuces and fruits ornately decorate grilles and smokers, and you could even spot a team or two wearing tuxes, and greeting judges with a maitre d’.

 

After all is said and done the long wait begins. Only three teams from each category make the finals. We all wait for a smiling guy in a golf cart to attach a sign to your fence, signaling you are a finalist. When this happens, a hueg cheer erupts, then you go into panic mode. That sign means four judges are coming to your booth to judge your pork.
Fast forward to 6:30 p.m. Everyone gathers at the main stage for the awards. The MC comes on and announces 10th through 1st place. If you didn’t final, you pray for 4th-10th, each prize a huge honor in a field of 250.

hog

 

I love this contest, one of the highlights of my year, because of the excitement, pure and simple. Where else can you find a BBQ contest two football fields wide and a full mile long with the majestic Mississippi as a backdrop? Where else can you meet BBQ enthusiasts from across the globe, like the Danish national BBQ team, Norwegian national BBQ team, or the Black Pig team from Canada? Where else can you rub hoofs with some of the best in BBQ, people like Myron Mixon, Melissa Cookston, Johnny Trigg, Tuffy Stone, Moe Cason, the Orrisons, and Chris Lilly, just to name a few.

Every year, as that warm orange sun sinks into the Big Muddy, casting its amber hues over 100,000 swine worshippers, competitors reflect upon its beauty with true reverence. Dreams are realized and shattered here, blood and tears are spilt, deep friendships are cemented, and lifelong dreams are granted. There is no place on earth like Memphis in May.

Announcements

BBQ Fest for Families

The Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest…BBQ FEST…The Superbowl of Swine…

Many people say this festival is adult only, but that is far from the truth. While most folks agree it is not a place for anyone under 18 AFTER 8PM, it is absolutely family friendly for all sized kids before 6pm when most of the drinking starts. Adding to the family fun is the 11am-1pm Free Admission (normally $9 for anyone over 6 years old). Free Admission is available Thursday and Friday of the Contest.

 

bbq1

When most people think of the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest (WCBCC or MIM) they think of succulent pork, booze and the hedonistic team parties that go on after dark. The family aspect of the festival never crosses their mind…and it really should. I attended my first Memphis in May in 1991 with my parents. My father, Mike, and I walked through the rows of magnificent team booths, and as an 11 year old kid, I was astonished at the scenes that played out before me. Smokers and grills of every imaginable shape and size, hogs splayed out being prepped for the cooker, skits being performed outside of booths, friendly loving people smiling willing to chat with; but the thing I remember most is looking up at my Dad and asking “Can we do this?”; his answer “Absolutely we will, I promise”.

 

This Contest transformed my feelings about food, it cemented my love of Barbecue, my love for the WCBCC…my deep love of Memphis. We finished our visit with a team that let us into their booth, sat down and talked to us. They gave us food, they treated us like family…This one act shaped my later life and my team Too Sauced To Pork, but that is a story for another time.

porkosaurus

 

We had always been a family of outdoor cookers, I remember being 5 years old, living in New Orleans and helping my mom cook blackened redfish on the grill. We also attended Mardi Gras, which also gets a bad rap even though it is really a family holiday. The truth is 99% of stupid things at Mardi Gras go down on Bourbon Street, the rest of the Carnival festivities in the city are celebrated in a family friendly atmosphere. This is just as true with the Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest. 99.9% of the things parents don’t want children to see happens after 7pm. This leaves 11am-6pm, 7 full hours, to have a great time as a family.

redhot

 

I did not know what to expect on that day in 1991, and neither did my parents; but I can tell you as a kid what I didn’t find. I found no nudity or debauchery, as an 11 year old boy I would have definitely remembered that. I found no rowdy behavior, drunken idiots or fighting of any kind. What I did find at 2pm on a Thursday was a multitude of food vendors with no lines ready to serve my family. I found that as a kid interested in BBQ I could go up to any booth and talk to the guys cooking…and they were happy to see me. They would take me back and show me their cookers, a few even tore off a chuck of meat directly from the smoker and had me taste it. We found that during the day this festival is a treasure trove of fun for the meat centric family.

 

t and me

I am now the father of two beautiful girls one 3 years and one 5 months. My oldest will tear into bacon like a bag of jellybeans, her favorite foods include nitrate free hotdogs, ribs and pulled chicken. The oldest has been to the contest twice, and will be headed back this year. She loves cooking with Daddy, and I can’t wait for her to have a blast at the contest. Of course, there are certain parts of MIM that are not appropriate for my daughter, and she will be leaving the contest about 5pm every night as the crowds increase and things turn more adult. Teenagers, when not professing how everything in the world sucks, will have fun at the Ms Piggie Idol contest on Thursday, as well as looking at the booths. They can also have fun alongside their parents at the Cooker Caravan, a free tour of team booths led by Memphis in May volunteers (see our guide here for a description). You can also buy tickets to the Kingsford Tour of Champions ($12 for a two hour session. Click here to learn more), where 4 teams wine and dine you for two hours, with artfully prepared pork shoulder and you get to vote who is best.

 

 

 

 

Sample Itinerary for a family with Babies or Toddlers. Tweens and Teens would be in school during Free Admission time, but our itinerary here (Sample Itinerary) can be adapted.

Thursday and Friday

  1. 10:55am arrive at the Beale Street gates, enter the park when the gates open for free at 11am, and find the “Cooker Caravan” Kiosk in the middle of the walkway near the first break in rib tents. Sign up for the 1pm Caravan.
  2.  11:20-12:50 make a loop around “Rib Row” by walking back towards the Beale Street Entrance to the north and making your last left and walking back towards the South along the riverside booths. Grab a little something to eat from a Vendor and talk to teams to make friends. Use your kids, As to take pictures in front of their smokers with your child, we all have a soft spot for kids. Meet back at Cooker Caravan kiosk at 12:50
  3.  100 -1:50 Tour team booths, make friends, take notes of teams that invite you back. Some booths sit well above the ground…if you have a stroller be prepared to hold your toddler as booths are not all that large and some have 2 stories with steep stairs.
  4. 1:50-3pm walk around the “Shoulder and Whole Hog” sections, or go back and visit teams who invited you back to chat…hopefully the kid will fall asleep in the stroller, if not then they will probably be cranky and this might be your last sweep of the contest before retreating for a nap.

US

Saturday

  1. 10:55am arrive at the Beale Street gates, having already bought your ticket online for $9 (NOT FREE ON SATURDAY) enter the park, and proceed to the “Whole Hog” area, they are the first to be judged. Situate yourself where you can duck between 3 team presentations…careful not to make a noise. Observe and be amazed.
    2. 11:50 proceed to the “Shoulder” area, they are the second to be judged. Situate yourself where you can duck between 3 team presentations…careful not to make a noise. Again observe and be amazed.
    3. 12:40 proceed to the “Rib” area, they are the third to be judged. Situate yourself where you can duck between 3 team presentations…careful not to make a noise. Again observe and be amazed.
    4. 1:30-3:30 walk around the sections checking in and chatting to the teams that you visited the day before, if you have done as we said and made friends, they will invite you in for lunch.

Judging

 

Below are the things Memphis in May wants you to know before coming.

 

WCBCC Visitor FAQs

Below are things to know before you visit the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest:

  • This is a competition. Local health regulations prohibit teams from serving barbecue to the general public. There are barbecue vendors, as well as other food vendors that sell food to the public.
  • Food and beverages, including beer, are available from the concessionaires.
  • All food must be purchased with cash. ATMs are available at Tom Lee Park for your convenience.
  • Picture I.D.’s will be required from everyone purchasing alcohol.
  • The Kingsford Tour of Champions and Cooker’s Caravan allow for a team-like WCBCC experience.
  • Wear comfortable shoes! The park is roughly one mile from end to end.
  • All packages and purses are subject to inspection.

WHAT NOT TO BRING: No beverages, bicycles, cans, containers, coolers, food, glass bottles, laser pointers, lawn chairs, over-sized umbrellas, pets, roller blades, roller skates, water guns, weapons or thrown objects (baseballs, footballs, frisbees, etc.).

Visitor Information

We love visitors! Each year, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest entertains visitors from around the world. In 2015, visitors came from all 50 states and several foreign countries. Please let our guest services volunteers know you are our visitor, and they will explain all of the rib-tickling entertainment offerings.

If you’re planning on visiting the event, please take advantage of the following programs and events for visitors.

While local codes prohibit teams from selling barbecue to the general public, the Kingsford Tour of Champions allows you to taste and judge world-class barbecue.

Announcements

Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest 2016

Hello All!

We received our acceptance letter from Memphis in May today. We are very happy to be returning for our 11th MIM. If you are interested in joining us, click “Join us” on the main menu to the right…we will be in contact with you.

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Announcements

Memphis in May 2016

Hello All!

It is that season again, time for the Superbowl of Swine!!!

MAY 11-14 2016

Memphis booths

 

If you are interested in joining Too Sauced to Pork for the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, please click the Join Us button on the menu to the right.

TSTP BOOTHOur 2015 Team Booth

If you are a spectator planning to attend the festival in 2016 and don’t want to join a team, click here for our Tips for Visitors Not on a BBQ Team

If you are a Barbecue Team looking for a breakdown of what it takes gear and money wise to do this amazing contest click here for our Step by Step Guide to BBQ Fest for Teams

If you are planning on attending Memphis in May an want a great description of what it is like, go to this link from Extraordinary BBQ about the contest.

If you are attending MIM and need a Sample Itinerary on how to do the festival right…here it is

CLICK HERE FOR MEMPHIS IN MAY’S OFFICIAL SITE

Memphis2016

 

Announcements

Memphis in May 2015

Hello all,

One of the reasons we started Too Sauced To Pork was a way to combat the way many attendees and non-team members were treated at BBQ competitions. As you probably know, at Barbecue competitions many teams retreat into their booths only letting a few lucky people into their world. Our team is different. We based our BBQ team on inclusion vs exclusion and treat each other like a family. We have no secrets on our team and we share all of our knowledge openly. We give tours of our booth and cookers to interested passers by, in fact every year at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest we open 20 TSTP team membership spots up for BBQ enthusiasts to join us and be a part of our family for this amazing contest.

 

TeamStage

 

Our Unofficial MIM BBQ Fest Guide is listed at the right of this post in the main menu. For anyone interested in attending the contest, this is a good read. It includes sample itineraries, contest best practices, and lots of other info for spectators and teams alike. If you attend the WCBCC drop by our booth and say hello…if we are not in the middle of turn ins or judging, we will be happy to give you a tour of our booth.

 

We currently have 8 new member spots available on the 2015 TSTP MIM WCBCC Team. We have filled up our 20 new spots faster than in previous years so if you are considering joining up with us please drop us a line by y clicking the JOIN US link on the main menu to the right —>

If you have not booked your hotel yet for Memphis in May BBQ Fest, I suggest doing it immediately before the team list is confirmed next week. Once this happens hotels fill up VERY fast. The link below is a map of hotels within walking distance of the contest.
http://www.bealestreethotels.com/map.html

Announcements

Entering Memphis in May

There are always a few teams that ask us questions about applying for their first time competing at Memphis in May

First on this post is all the steps we take as a team to prepare for the contest.

Second (at the bottom) is the “Crap they don’t tell you about Competing in Memphis in May” list…a conglomeration of best practices and pitfalls we have learned throughout the years.

memphis_in_may full view

Let’s start with the planning, since they are still accepting applications til the middle of February…

Application here

1. At this time you need only sign up for the entry fee and cleaning deposit, this includes
a. What category you are entered in
b. What size space you want
c. Do you want Riverside(more expensive) or a regular spot

We choose riverside for the view…

teamarticle1

but MOSTLY for the Breeze.

teamarticle2

2. The $500 clean up deposit. Of which $250 is returned to you upon site clean up

3. On the application it asks about wristbands, ancillaries, Big Hog, and Wednesday night tickets.
a. Wristbands can be purchased at the Cooks Meeting in April (see below)
b. Wednesday night tickets can be purchased at the Cooks Meeting in April (see below)
c. Big Hog can be purchased at the Cooks Meeting in April (see below)
d. Ancillaries can also be entered at the cooks meeting in April…but we pay them on the front end to show MIM we enter everything.
e. Cooker Caravan – Your team gives 1 tour a day of your booth to the public. You have a question and answer session, and send them off with a smile. It is totally free for the public and you meet some very interesting and cool people. It is a great program, please think about doing it
f. Kingsford Tour of Champions. You can only enter this if your team has placed top 20 at MIM before

2nd Kingsford Tour
1. Cooks meeting – first timers – go if you can…great way to network

You can add ancillaries, wed. night tickets, and 3 day wristbands up until cooks meeting in April
2. Patio Porkers get 5 – 24 hour bands
3. Regular Teams get 15-24 Hour bands

Larger teams (like TSTP) will buy your team’s extra 24 hour bands…(good way to recoup some costs or to get a keg or a case of pork paid for)

4. 3 day wristbands are only for gate hours 11AM-12AM Thurs and Fri – 11am-10pm Sat
5. Big hog package can be a waste of money for a small team, research your needs before buying…
6. Cattlemans offers free sauce to teams…sign up for it, get the maximium amount…free stuff is good stuff, and if you sign up for the max, that’s like 200 dollars worth of free bbq supplies. It includes Frenchs Mustard, Katsup, Worstershire, 5 kinds of Franks, and 6 kinds of Cattlemans.

teamarticleendofday

In 2014 our costs so far were:

$4075.00 on:

1. a Riverside 26’x50′ spot in the Rib division –
2. all the Food Ancillary contests – Hot Wings, Beef, Poultry, Exotic, Seafood, Tomato Sauce, Vinegar Sauce, Mustard Sauce, Best Tshirt and Ms Piggie Idol – we did not enter best booth
3. We also grabed a Big Hog package…which gives us 2 Extra 24 hour wristbands, extra Wednesday night tickets, and extra load in passes.
AND don’t forget that $350 clean up Deposit ($500 in 2015)

Now we will discuss electricity, porto johns, Pods, flooring, tents, and Tshirts.

Electric – NONE is provided

You will need to buy Electric hookups PRIOR to the Contest. If done before April, there is usually a good discount.

120V 20amp Electric boxes are $175 each. (4 or more $150 each) Each box has 3 plugs. We need 5 boxes to run all the electric in our booth…you may need less
#1 Fridge, Grill lights, Lights in the Pod, Treagger
#2 Ice Freezer, Kitchen Lights, Cadiliac Cooker
#3 Hot water heater and sink pump, Tent Lights, Guru for Stumps Smoker
#4 Porto Cool, Electric BBQ Sign on front of booth, DJ and sound equipment
#5 Margarita Machine, Dance Floor Lights, cell phone charging station

So that’s $750

Next we gotta go to the head…and so do our guests. Two Porto Johns cost us: $262.20

Next thing – we like having an easy load in with a safe secure place to store our gear. PODS rents a 8’x8’x12′ storage container to teams. They will drop it at a location before the contest, the team loads it, then Pods comes back and delivers it to your booth at the contest. This saves teams a couple days of load in. So…$242.53

Next is Flooring and Tent. Now, Memphis in May is also known as “Memphis in Mud” to us teams. Its going to rain, either before the contest causing problems at load-in, or during the contest a foot traffic in your booth will cause a mud pit.

Muddy Land

If you don’t have a floor put in your booth, you just maybe chin deep in mud by Friday afternoon. So you have 2 options…

Lay your own floor, which is cheaper but could take a few days,

Booth with Floor Down

OR

Rent a floor and have it professionally installed. We have built floors in the past, and we are usually one of the last teams in the park taking it out…so in 2014 we rented!

That’s $2200 for a 20ftx40ft floor lay

Add the rented Tent, Walls, Fire Permit, Chairs, Tables and delivery and setup:

That’s another 1499.10 for a 20×40 ft tent

So…add $3699.10, lets say $3700 to the pot.

Booth
TENTS

Classic Party Rentals rents tents and floor…and they have a contract with Memphis in May. No other tent rental companies are allowed in the park.

Rent tents and floor BEFORE April and there is a discount. YOU NEED A FLOOR!

OR, you rent scaffolding and get one of these built

2014-11-29_0-56-05
We gotta look good doing this, have a trinket to take home, and we gotta turn in a pretty shirt for the Best Tshirt contest…sooooo

Tshirts for every team member + extras ordered for family and friends….106 shirts – $1600

This is a sampling of our MIM Tshirts 2005-present

yearsofshirts

So folks that’s another $6554.44

Total spent so far 10,629.73

We will now chat about 3 day Gate Wristbands ($24) and Wednesday Night tickets ($9)

You see at Memphis in May admission is free from 11am – 1pm Thursday and Friday…but after 1pm Thursday and Friday and all day Saturday it is $8 inadvance or $9 at the Gate. Wednesday is a special night and teams can purchase up to 50 tickets at $9 each for “Friends and Family” night.

So 50 tickets at $9 is $450
AND 3day wristbands for our members are $1196

So add that to the cost so far ($10,629.73) and we are at $12,295.73

Oh it keeps adding up. Next is food, beer, booze, and supplies…That’s another $5000

TOTAL – $17,295.73 in 2014

It all leads up to this…Judging

teamarticleonsite

 

teamarticleribpic

In 2014 we placed:

1st in Vinegar Sauce

2nd in the Kingsford Tour of Champions

4th in Ms. Piggie Idol

6th in Ribs

8th in Mustard Sauce

11th in Exotic

13th in Poultry

Not bad huh?

ribs

rib presentation team

ribs 6th place

The Crap they don’t tell you about competing at Memphis in May list.

1. If you have a large trailer you want in your team booth get there the Saturday before the contest starts because once the fences go up it is dang near impossible to get that hoss into a muddy rutted out spot.

2. Put up your fence as soon as you get there…or send someone ahead to put one up ASAP – If you do not, then your empty spot will be used as a parking lot, a turn around, and a way to put a trailer into the spot behind yours. THIS SUX. The booth gets all rutted out and very nasty with mud. So prevention is the best policy

3. BRING or rent some kind of floor. You will thank me for this. They don’t call it Memphis in Mud for nothing. It has to sit above the ground. No wood chips, plywood directly on the ground, etc. We use pallets then hammer plywood over em…cheap and easy. I say bring b/c the rental company charges 48 bucks per 4ftx4ft square of flooring.

4. Get the Fire Marshall permit tag as soon as you can on Monday or Tues…DO NOT FORGET…it will be absolute HELL trying to track these guys down come Wednesday

5. Bring your own grounding wire kit for your tent, if you don’t the electricians will charge you for a kit..AND INSTALLATION…if you bring your own they will hook you in no charge

6. WATCH your team boundaries…there are some teams that will move paint and stakes to get a bigger area. I won’t name names, but it is rude and sh**ty to do. Measure your spot, then drive BIG stakes into the ground at the corners…put your fence up ASAP

7. Count on electric to not be hooked up until Tuesday afternoon…it usually gets hooked up before, but there have been snafu’s in the past. Make sure you have an alternative plan for meat, tools, light, etc

8. RENT A PORT-O-JOHN (or two), and put em in the BACK of your booth. You can thank me later for this. If your crapper is in the front people will just walk into your booth and use it without permission…not cool. If you don’t have one you will regret it when you go to relive yourself only to find overflowing crappers from the 100,000 people that used them before you. Plus all the drunks= PUKE in the public ones…NASTY

9. Beer sales end early by 9pm everyday…PLAN FOR THIS. Wed is like 6pm and Sat is 7 pm…Remember to stock up or you will be SOL…

10. Wednesday is the last day to load in…7am – NOON.  Vehicles must leave by 3pm…those of you driving in from points unknown This is the ABSOLUTE LAST time to load big stuff in…otherwise you will be hoofing it in from ½ a mile away…that is no exaggeration…½ a mile at least carrying stuff.

11. GET A WAGON – this will save you LOTS of heartache. From kegs to meat, to the 2 kids you can haul everything you need in them. A must for MIM.

12. You will need to have Blockers and runners for your entries. The crowds are thick and you will need 2 or 3 person teams to get your stuff to the judging quickly and safely.

13. You need to bring a fire extinguisher with a CURRENT INSPECTION TAG ATTACHED. They will not give you a fire permit without one.

14. All propane tanks (maximum of 2) must have a holder…a milk crate is perfect for this, without a holder…no permit

15. Bring PLENTY of bottled water. The Sams Club on site runs out…

AND THE BIGGEST RULE
If things go wrong with your pork entry put the beautiful portions in the blind box. (remember pork entries can have NO garnish) You have to learn to B.S. and sell your onsite judge on your product. You can talk your way out of a burnt looking rib or shoulder to an onsite judge, you can’t explain anything to the blind judges….click here to learn the MBN/MIM judging system

If any visitors or first timers need tips, please contact us and we will give you our contact info.

 

Announcements

Memphis in May 2014

We had a great year at Memphis in May

1st in Vinegar Sauce

1st Place Win MIM 2014 (1)

Thank you Frank and Dave

frank and Dave

2nd in the Kingsford Tour of Champions

2nd Kingsford Tour

6th in the WORLD in RIBS

ribs

Rib Presentation Team

rib presentation team

Rib Trophy

ribs 6th place

ALSO

4th in Miss Piggie Idol, 8th in Mustard Sauce, 11th in Exotic, 13th in Poultry, 25th in Tomato Sauce

270+ Teams from around the USA and the World

WE DID AMAZING!!!

This was a team effort, every single member contributed to our success! From washing dishes to cooking team meals to bartending to cooking the entries…every single member of this team is part of the win!

THANK YOU!!!

ALSO a big THANK YOU goes out to CYCLE30 our AWESOME sponsor!

Check out David’s Blog for a bunch of info by the day

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

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Memphis in May on the Cheap

So after watching one of the many shows on the TV highlighting BBQ Fest, you have decided to attend the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. You have arranged to stay at a friend’s house or have rented a hotel room, you have read our Memphis in May Rules page (click to view) and decided you didn’t want to join one of the many teams.  Luckily you found and read our Guide to Memphis in May for people not on a BBQ Team (click to view), now what?

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Now you plan what to do. Right now log onto your phone and download the Memphis in May app. This has an interactive map with click and find team names and booths…you will need this.

For those of you that have decided not to purchase a VIP PITPASS, this article should help you navigate how attend BBQ FEST, and how to have fun on the cheap. The VIP pass that Memphis in May offers is a scheduled itinerary of meet and greets, instructional sessions, and parties. It costs over $400. While this is not out of reach, it is a bit pricey for the BBQ Fanatic whose pockets are a bit shallow, or for the non-fanatic that wants to attend one day of this magical event. We are not saying that the VIP is not worth the money…because it totally is. Being able to hang out with 6 top teams and eat and drink with World Champion pitmasters is worth it’s weight in gold, just not everyone can afford it.

In our previous articles we have discussed Memphis in May’s (MIM) programs. They are the Cooker’s Caravan and the Kingsford Tour of Champions. Now with a bit of forethought and $91 we can show you how to have 3 full days of fun at MIM BBQ Fest.

First…click here to purchase your Kingsford Tour of Champions Tickets. They are $12 per session and are available Thursday and Friday. There are 2 sessions each day – 2pm-4pm and 4pm-6pm.  I would purchase the Thursday 4pm-6pm session and the Friday 4pm-6pm session.

This program evolved from the People’s Choice contest that was a mainstay for a decade. Two years ago MIM decided to let teams be judged by the public in the team’s booth. This costs $12 and gives you access to 4 teams booths. You go to the booths and taste the teams BBQ…AND JUDGE IT. Many teams will offer you a libation while you are judging and will sweet talk you into voting for them. These sessions are 2 hours each and can be bought through MIM website before the contest. THESE SELL OUT EVERY YEAR…DO NOT WAIT

This program makes you an official judge. The Kingsford Tour of Champions provides an opportunity for barbecue enthusiasts to judge entries from contenders in the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. You will be participating in on-site judging for barbecued pork shoulder. A pork shoulder entry is defined by Memphis in May as the portion of the hog containing the arm bone, shank bone and a portion of the blade bone. The pork ham, considered to be a shoulder entry, contains the hind leg bone.  You will be given detailed judging information and scoring criteria in your judges packet and during the judging orientation.  If you have any questions about this program, please e-mail [email protected].

so that’s $24 spent.

Now it’s time to discuss the Cooker’s Caravan.  Before 2003 there were no programs for the general public, then came the Cooker Caravan. This program is a guided tour of team booths. It is absolutely FREE. All you have to do is show up at the Cooker’s Caravan Kiosk and sign up. There are two of these in the Park, one near the first set of Rib tents, and one in the Shoulders section. You visit 3 team’s booths, get a guided tour, have a question and answer period…and possibly get food and an invite back.  IF A TEAM INVITES YOU BACK WRITE DOWN THEIR 1. booth number, 2. name of person giving you the booth tour, 3. detailed description of where the booth is located in the park using landmarks able to be seen in the dark. These are imperative as when “Party Time” starts up you will need names of team members to get in the booth, but first you will have to find their booth after the sun goes down, hence #2 and 3.

Now for your itinerary…

Admission Gates are free on Thursday and Friday from 11am-1pm. 

memphisinmay walk in

Thursday May 15th – PARTY DAY

Thursday is the Best Booth, Best T-shirt, and the Ms. Piggie Idol contest. First two are self-explanatory, the third is well….more complicated.  Performers wear elaborate costumes, many featuring full-figured men in Pig Drag, singing porked up versions of popular songs.  An absolute MUST SEE!  Winners have included “Rib in a Box”, “Grills, Grills, Grills”, “Sweet Swine O’ Mine”, and the “Swine Warp.” The best time to connect with teams is on this day.  Go around and ask about their cookers, no team can resist showing off.  Awards are in the early evening and then a band is called in to finish out the night

1. 11:10am arrive at the Beale Street gates, enter the park, and find the “Cooker Caravan” Kiosk in the middle of the walkway near the first break in rib tents. Sign up for the 12:30pm and 3:00pm Caravans.
2. 11:45-12:15 make a loop around “Rib Row” by walking back towards the Beale Street Entrance to the north and making your last left and walking back towards the South along the riverside booths. Grab a beer ($4) and a bottle of water ($3) from a vendor and Meet back at Cooker Caravan kiosk at 12:20
3. 12:30-1:20 Tour team booths, make friends, take notes of teams that invite you back.
4. 1:30-2:20 walk around the “Shoulder and Whole Hog” sections then grab something from a vendor ($12)
5. 2:50 meet back at Cooker Caravan kiosk.
6 3:00-3:50 Tour team booths, make friends, take notes of teams that invite you back.
7. 4:00-6:00 Tour Kingsford Tour of Champions teams. Pig out on Pork, judge it, have fun, make friends.
8. 6:30 Watch Ms. Piggie Idol competition. Utter hilarity
9. 8:00 Go back to the teams you made friends with and party until the Cops shut down the park at Midnight. While you can’t pay to get into a team booth, it is customary to throw some cash in the bartenders tip jar for the drinks and hospitality.

Notice today we only spent about $19 so far…why? Well you have hopefully had a few samples given to you by teams during the two caravans, you ate lunch from a vendor, you bought a beer and water to stay hydrated, and, to get your vote, the 4 different 4pm-6pm Tour of Champions teams wined and dined you with pulled pork and a few libations. You have thus far spent $43 total. If you were invited back to a booth for a party, you should toss at least $10 into their tip jar, you have now spent $53…and are now indebted to your new friends, don’t forget you are a guest, try to remember team members names, and go back tomorrow to say hi. If you feel your welcome has worn out, move on, try again later tonight after they have had a couple liters of beer.

Friday May 16th – ANCILLARY DAY

Friday is chocked full of competition cooking with the ancillary division contests.  Categories include Tomato, Mustard and Vinegar Sauces; meat categories which include Beef, Poultry, Exotic, and Seafood, as well as the Hot Wings contest.  A band plays before the awards, and then another after.  Many cooking teams throw down the party on Thursday but are very much reserved on Friday night in anticipation for Saturday’s turn-ins.  Of course that is just the cooking  crew (about 5 people), the REST of the team, which on some teams include up to 200 members, live high on the hog and party till the cops shut them down for quiet time at midnight.

1. 11:10am arrive at the Beale Street gates, enter the park, and find the “Cooker Caravan” Kiosk in the middle of the park near the Shoulders section. Sign up for the 12:30pm and 3:00pm Caravans.
2. 11:45-12:15 make a loop around “Rib Row” and check back in with teams you have made friends with…or perhaps chat up a few new teams asking to see their rigs. Grab a beer ($4) and a bottle of water ($3) from a vendor and Meet back at Cooker Caravan kiosk at 12:20
3. 12:30-1:20 Tour team booths, make more friends, take notes of teams that invite you back.
4. 1:30-2:20 walk around the “Shoulder and Whole Hog” sections checking in and chating to the teams that you visited the day before, then grab something from a vendor for lunch ($12)
5. 2:50 meet back at Cooker Caravan
6 3:00-3:50 Tour team booths, make friends, take notes of teams that invite you back.
7. 4:00-6:00 Tour Kingsford Tour of Champions teams. Pig out on Pork, judge it, have fun, make friends.
8. 6:30 Watch the daily awards ceremony
9. 8:00 Go back to the teams you made friends with and party until the Cops shut down the park at Midnight. While you can’t pay to get into a team booth, it is customary to throw some cash in the bartenders tip jar for the drinks and hospitality.

Notice again today we only spent about $19…why? Well you have hopefully had a few more samples given to you by teams during the two caravans, you ate lunch from a vendor, you bought a beer and water to stay hydrated, and, to get your vote, the 4 different from last night 4pm-6pm Tour of Champions teams wined and dined you with pulled pork and a few libations. You have thus far spent $62 total. If you were invited back to a booth for a party, you should toss at least $10 into their tip jar, Lucky you were invited back to 2 teams tents thus you dropped $20. You have now spent $82…

Saturday May 17th – COMPETITION DAY

Saturday is held in the reverence of a Sunday morning Baptist church.  There are no loud stereos, no parties, and no sign of the Carnival like atmosphere of the previous days.  This is the Church of Cochon. Today we celebrate and piously reflect upon the main pork categories of Ribs, Shoulder, and Whole Hog.  Every team has a blind box to turn in, and three onsite judges to schmooze.  Booths are dolled up prettier than a 5th Avenue fine dining restaurant.  Silver platters hold racks of ribs, exotic lettuces and fruits ornately decorate grilles and smokers, and you could even spot a team or two wearing tuxes, and greeting judges with a maitre d’.   After all is said and done the long wait begins…only 3 teams from each category make the finals.  We all wait for a smiling guy in a golf cart to attach a sign to your fence, signaling you are a finalist.  When this happens, a HUGE cheer erupts, then you go into panic mode.  That sign means 4 judges are coming to your booth to judge your pork.  Fast forward to 6:30pm, everyone gathers at the main stage for the awards. The MC comes on and announces 10th through 1st place.  If you didn’t final you pray for 4th-10th a HUGE honor in a field of 250.

1. 11:10am arrive at the Beale Street gates, buy your ticket for $9 (NOT FREE ON SATURDAY) enter the park, and proceed to the “Whole Hog” area, they are the first to be judged. Situate yourself where you can duck between 3 team presentations…careful not to make a noise. Observe and be amazed.
2. 11:50 proceed to the “Shoulder” area, they are the second to be judged. Situate yourself where you can duck between 3 team presentations…careful not to make a noise. Again observe and be amazed.
3. 12:40 proceed to the “Rib” area, they are the third to be judged. Situate yourself where you can duck between 3 team presentations…careful not to make a noise. Again observe and be amazed.
4. 1:30-3:10 walk around the “Shoulder and Whole Hog” sections checking in and chatting to the teams that you visited the day before, if you have done as we said and made friends, they will invite you in for lunch.
5. 3:15 walk around the “Rib” section checking in and chatting to the teams that you visited the day before, if you have done as we said and made friends, they will invite you in for lunch.
6. 6:30 Watch the daily awards ceremony
7. 8:00 Go back to the teams you made friends with and party until the Cops shut down the park at 10PM.

You have partied at Memphis in May for $91…If at all possible throw a little more in those team tip jars, they spend thousands of dollars putting this amazing contest on, put it this way – two beers on Beale is $12 with a tip, do the right thing.


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