Slideshow: Snapshots From The Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest

Rib time
Rib time
Here a team has a few racks of ribs ready for the smoker. Six to eight hours later, these will be tender, juicy, and ready to eat. How did they taste?
The finished product
The finished product
Well, I can't really tell you how those ribs tasted. A common misconception for visitors is that you can just show up and eat as much BBQ as you want. The teams are not allowed to serve to the public due to health codes, but there are plenty of authorized vendors on site. Not just the usual carnival fare, but local BBQ joints will set up stalls selling smoked turkey legs, kielbasa, and other 'cue in addition to the standard ribs and pulled pork.
The Moody Ques
The Moody Ques
I got to spend a little behind-the-scenes time with The Moody Ques, winner of Best Booth this year. The design is a recreation of the Moderna Museet, aka the Stockholm Museum of Modern Art (Sweden was the country honored by the Memphis In May cultural festival this year).
Pork shoulder goodness
Pork shoulder goodness
One of The Moody Ques takes a cleaver to pork shoulder to begin prepping a dish for the judge. Leftovers will be enjoyed for lunch, dinner, and for days afterward.
Signage pros
Signage pros
Puns are welcomed, encouraged, and celebrated at the WCBCC. This one gets bonus points for the Waffle House-style letters on top of the booth. For a good groan, read the entire list of team names.
Blast from the past
Blast from the past
Some teams got pretty creative with their booths. As someone who watched M*A*S*H in reruns as a child, I loved this one.
Eggs everywhere
Eggs everywhere
The contest also attracts commercial vendors of BBQ grills, smokers, and equipment. Here's the setup for my father's rig of choice, the ceramic kamado-style cooker called The Big Green Egg. You can use it for smoking, grilling, or even as a great pizza oven.
American Idol (sort of)
American Idol (sort of)
Voo Doo Q used their black magic to win third place in the Piggy Idol contest, in which guys dress up in pig masks and evening gowns to compete in the world's most questionable beauty contest.
Merch madness
Merch madness
Most teams will have their own t-shirts, like this group that is waiting outside the tent during a judging session. These t-shirts will be worn for years until they fall apart, and every now and then somebody's kid gets in trouble for wearing one of the racier ones to school.
Markers of glory
Markers of glory
Awards are presented on Saturday night, and teams will proudly display them for years to come at the festival, but also on a rotating basis at the homes of team members. Sunday is the day that you tear everything down, clean up and return home, and on Monday, head into work a little sunburned, tired, and still faintly smelling like smoke and roasted pig. But it's well worth all the hard work.