Pitmasters fire up the grills at World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 10:40 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - At Liberty Park in Midtown Memphis, 212 teams fired up their grills this week for the 2022 World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.

“It’s a labor of love. We come to Memphis because Memphis is awesome,” Orrison told Action News 5, “and we come to Memphis in May because it’s the Super Bowl of Swine.”

Heming Walsmith is a WCBCC judge from Munich, Germany, where the temp’s a balmy 69 degrees, very different from the triple digit heat index in the Bluff City.

“Oh yeah, we’re fighting it,” Walsmith said, “but, you know, this is an event we have to take part in, so we do our best.”

For many of the spectators, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is in their DNA.

“I’ve always been a part of BBQ fest,” Matthew Ellis explained. “Growing up, my parents were on teams. My parents right now are judges. It’s just a wonderful experience that brings a lot to Memphis, in my opinion.”

For others, it’s all about the experience.

“I mean, there’s good food, good music, what else do you need?” asked spectator Ethan Vaughn.

And if you think you need to know a team with a booth to enjoy yourself, think again.

“We just walked around and were friendly,” said Midtowner Chris Thomas, “and you meet people and people let you in. Most people just let you in even if they don’t know you… if you’re friendly to them and act nice and smile.”

“Sometimes you’ll have people that say hey, come on in and have a good time,” Staci Summerville told Action News 5, “So, I think that’s probably my favorite part. Definitely the food, but also just getting to meet new friends.”

The food is the star attraction, and if you like the meats, the WCBCC is the place for you.

The best of the best BBQ, cooked by chefs from around the world, served up in decked out tents with parties nightly.

So bring your appetite and get ready to have a smokin’ good time.

“You were right,” Brad Orrison told Action News 5 Chief Meteorologist and certified BBQ judge Ron Childers, “It’s gonna be hot. And I’m good with it. This is Memphis in May. You gotta deal with it.”

Judging for the major categories and the awards ceremony take place Saturday, May 14.

$142,000 in prize money and bragging rights are up for grabs.

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