As if on cue there was a rainstorm at 5:30 this morning ensuring there will be enough residual mud for tonight's round of Memphis in May's BBQ Cooking Contest fun. I won't be going until tomorrow night but the crew I'm venturing out with is growing exponentially each day. We had a great time last year visiting teams and being the beneficiaries of their hard work. I love to see all of the inventive tents and set ups and of course the team names are always fun.
Rub Me Tender, 80 Proof Pit Crew, Any Pork in A Storm, Here for the Beer, Slapjo Mama Cooking Team, Porkosaurus and on and on.
For the BBQ uninitiated, here is the gist of how this works. This is a competition so health regulations prohibit teams from serving barbecue to the general public. There are food vendors set up that do sell to the public however.
So what if you're not on a team and you've not been invited to any teams? The answer to that comes straight from the MIM website http://www.memphisinmay.org/bbqstuffyouneedtoknow :
"There are two programs for our patrons that allow them to experience the World Championship as a team or judge would: People's Choice Contest allows John "Que" Public to taste and judge championship barbecue. In this tent, you will receive 5 samples of barbecue each visit and you judge your favorite of those five samples. You may judge as often as you like and the judging fee is $4 per visit. The Cooker's Caravan takes you on a guided tour of the teams and lets you hear first-hand about the team's passion for pork. The team's will tell you about their secrets for grilling championship barbecue, show you their rigs and explain the process of cooking at Memphis in May. There is no charge for the tours and you may tour as often as you like. The tours are available Thursday and Friday every thirty minutes from 11:30am - 3:30pm."
GRIDLOCK ALERT: Apart from the BBQ Fest, the traffic from which was already picking up at lunch time downtown, there are the rooftop parties tonight at the Peabody Hotel and the Madison Hotel. In addition, the Redbirds play a game at 7 pm tonight, 7 pm tomorrow night and 6 pm Saturday night.