Today is moving day at Memphis in May, the first official judging day!
We arrived at the booth to find that the upstairs dining section was being set up for a VIP lunch for Cattlemans and French’s officials! Neil was looking as cool as ice, despite his house burning down only a few weeks prior, and the added stress of the competition!
While upstairs was being set up, downstairs was a busy hive of activity, getting ready for today’s judging.
What really looked good, was the Aussie flag flying proudly next to the American flags at the biggest pork only BBQ event in the world! As it it fluttered in the swift breeze, it was truly a patriotic moment as I sat with my ‘family’ high above the banks of the mighty Mississippi River!
With the VIP lunch complete, it was time to relax and enjoy the highlight of the day, the Crawfish Broil!
Just like last year it was a magic event, and I enjoyed sharing it with Sam and Rhi! It was even more enjoyable when Tryus from Huntsville dropped by with his mate! The mushrooms were the best part!
With a full belly, it was time to walk off lunch. Last year I had seen guys hitting golf balls into the Mississippi River, and after approaching one of the teams, I was able to add this to my bucket list!
Those of you who know me will understand when I say that I eventually hit a ball well enough to actually make it into the river!
I spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the park soaking up the atmosphere with Sam and Rhi.Backwoods Smokers regarding the different models available and how we can ship them to Australia. We had agreed to meet up at MIM, so I went over to the team.
The team was FireMan John’s BBQ from Madison MS. Johnny was a certified Backwoods dealer, and I had a great chat regarding the different models. The several swigs of the Fireball Whisky made the conversation all the better!
Just around the corner from Johnnys was an Aussie, Dave from Memphis BBQ Pit in Penrith NSW. It was great chatting to him about the BBQ scene back home, and how he has big plans for the future! He cooked Kangaroo for his exotic dish and was also competing in the whole hog category.
What I love about the BBQ brotherhood is that almost everyone knows everyone! Whilst talking to Dave, he mentioned that he was just talking to Malcom Reed, from Killer Hogs BBQ!
The best thing, other than meeting Malcom, was that Mike from Backwoods Smokers was in his booth! I had finally caught up with him, and got to have a lengthy discussion on how to get his smokers to Australia!
I couldn’t believe my luck, when I saw the most winningest man in competition BBQ Myron Mixon, out in the ‘open’ ahead of me!
He was very obliging and was happy to take a photo with me, why wouldn’t he be!
The stage area was filling fast, and we finally found the Too Sauced to Pork team.
This time last year we did well, winning first place in Vinegar sauce. There was a feeling of nervous expectation and excitement. Perhaps this year the results would be higher, or not! The hunger to get back onto the stage was a driving force!
A storm was fast approaching, and the announcements for the placings were rushed.The anticipation was building, and everyone was on edge listening out for our name to be called!
The euphoria I experienced last year on the stage appeared to be slipping away. As 5th, 4th, and 3rd place chicken were announced there still no mention of our team. The hope of making it up on stage two years in a row were not looking good today!
As I was praying for a bit of Aussie ‘luck’.., BOOM, “second placed chicken, Too Sauced to Pork”!
The feeling you get when you hear your team called is hard to describe! This may well be our one and only chance to get up in front of hundreds of our BBQ brothers, there was no way we would miss that opportunity!
They say that ‘winners are grinners’, and tonight we left the the Memphis in May stage with smiles that the Cheshire Cat would be proud of!
We also found out that our friend Mitch from Meat Mitch won first place Beef! We stopped by to congratulate them.
As we walked back to our booth, I was really excited to have shared the glory once again with my Too Sauced to Pork family. It was even more exciting to have shared the experience with Sam and Rhiannah, both at their first MIM! The booze and music was freely flowing and we partied until close!
As we made our way into Beale Street, we were saddened to find out that B.B.King had passed away! All of Memphis seemed to be there, and as a result all of the taxi drivers seemed to want to charge us an airfare just to get back to Patty’s house!
We were lucky to find Chris, a cabbie who lived close to Patty and we grabbed his card to use him again!
Tomorrow is the final day of MIM, and the hope is that we go one better than last year! This year has been just as good as last year, and to get higher than 6th place ribs, would just top it of!
We sat down and had a beer in honour of B.B.King. Tomorrow the plan is to try some Gus’s Fried Chicken before enjoying the last day of MIM!