The plan today was plain and simple, finish painting Patty’s hallway!
I had marked up most of the hallway yesterday, and only needed to finish with a roller today! I woke up at 1000, and worked all day with only a coffee break here or there!
The two gallons of paint had just run out as the last roller went on! Feeling tired, sore and hungry, I cleaned up and joined Patty on the porch for dinner.
The day was over, and sadly I had done nothing else all day but paint!
I was asked by someone here about the best way to experience BBQ at Memphis in May, and I remember an article I had written for someone, that was never published!
As I had nothing to write about today, I thought I would publish most of that article as a guide!
For the whole month of May, the mile long Tom Lee Park in Memphis Tennessee, along the banks of the Mississippi River is transformed into the the party centre of the world.
For most of the month it holds various music festivals, however from the 15th to the 17th of May this year it become the BBQ centre of the universe!
The Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, is the largest Pork only cooking competition in the world. You will find around 250 teams competing for bragging rights and trophies in categories such as Shoulder, Whole Hog and Ribs. The title of Grand Champion is a much coveted honour, and it is also compulsory to display all of your BBQ achievements for all to see!
For many of the teams it is a celebration of the previous years hard work and a chance to catch up on old friends. For a first timer, you would be mistaken in thinking that those inside the booths are secluded and a little stuck up! Far from it, in fact if you are lucky enough to break down the barriers, you will find yourself being part of the action, looking out from the inside.
If you picture a little boy in a candy shop and not being allowed to have a lolly, thats what MIM is a little like.
Because the MIM is a competition, local health regulations prohibit teams from serving BBQ to the general public! There are 250 booths cooking great food having a great time, this is the only way you can get to eat the tastiest BBQ on the planet. Because of this you will also find most people will do “whatever”it takes to be part of the action!
The only way you can officially get to taste barbecue is from the vendors that are able to sell to the public. Not all is lost however, I found there are several options to allow you to be closer to the action.
Other than trying to use charm to gain entry to a booth, you could consider purchasing Memphis in May (MIM) VIP tickets, become a judge in the Peoples choice tent,or, join a world championship BBQ team! I chose the latter.
MIM VIP tickets
For around $475 you can purchase VIP tickets to the event, which entitle you to the following benefits.
* Admission into all three days of the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest with come-and-go privileges
* Invitation to up to 6 championship teams to enjoy competitive grilling tips and sample great championship barbecue with a complimentary goodies bag
Enjoy cool beverages and hot tips on judging great barbecue from a Memphis in May certified judge. Light snacks, soft drinks, beer and wine in a private area for V.I.Pit Pass holders.
The price is considerably dearer than the cost of the daily general admission ($8), but with all the inclusions and access to the teams, would be a good option for the first timer.
Kingsford Tour of Champions
The Kingsford Tour of Champions allows members of the general public to purchase tickets and taste and judge entries from teams competing in the shoulder category.
It is held on the Thursday and Friday of the competition, and you travel around to the booths of the teams competing and receive a small sample of bbq to taste. The host will provide information on how it was cooked and you may pick up some good tips!
Some of the teams competing may invite you back to their booth after the tasting, play your cards right and they may allow you to stay in their booth!
Being a member of a Championship BBQ Team (Too Sauced To Pork)
During my planning for the trip, I noticed a team competing in the MIM offering a limited number of places to anyone from anywhere, interested in being part of a championship team competing in the event. That team was Too Sauced to Pork.
The team is based in Memphis TN and Buffalo NY, and believe that everyone should have a chance to compete and enjoy the delights of MIM. There are 20 spots available each year with different prices for varying levels of involvement.The cost was much cheaper than the VIP ticket and also included entry to the event, unlimited food and drink. The thing that sold it for me was the Wednesday night ‘family’ night, not available to the general public, along with the number of other teams that TSTP knew and introduced me to.
I was accepted as a BBQ brother by the team from the start, and had a blast. Their motto is that everyone is part of the team, no matter how much or how little you do, thats up to you.
The team had their best results at MIM, finishing first in Vinegar based sauce, and 6th in Ribs!