Memphis in May, an extremely expensive competition with a thing for sweet meats, is not a benchmark for the world, or even for Memphis-style barbecue, as a whole. Is it still fair, then, to call the victors of this year's competition "world champions"?
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I've seen just about everything over the past 48 hours here in Memphis, bouncing from booth to booth, subsisting only on a diet of smoked meats and taking photographs wherever I've ended up. I offer these photos to you as a taste of hog heaven.
"I have a barbecue prenup," explains pit cook Chris Mills when asked how many years lie ahead of him on the competitive barbecue circuit. "I told my wife that until I tell her otherwise, I will always be at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest." Chris and I are sitting in the precious shade of a raised tarp in his team The Flying Pig's official contest booth, facing the Mississippi River with ice-cold cans of Bud Light and doing what he's done on the first day of the WCBCC for many years: relax.