Barbecue fest live stream: Shoulder and whole hog winners

By , Daily Memphian Updated: May 29, 2021 3:59 PM CT | Published: May 14, 2021 6:27 PM CT

Jennifer Biggs provides live coverage of the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. 

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May 15, 2021

MIM barbecue grand champion announced

2:44 PM CT, May 15

The grand champion of the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest for 2021 is Jack’s Old South.


The top winners in each division are:


1. Bluff City Cookers featuring Central City BBQ

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Teams of Barbecue: Mexican BBQ Team

8:12 PM CT, May 15

In the Mexican BBQ Team tent, you hear mariachi music playing on the radio and see Topo Chico in 2-liter bottles. And there are 29 team members from Mexico who started coming to Memphis in May in 2015 after team captain Alejandro Gutierrez saw a barbecue show on TV and got the itch.

“I told my wife, ‘Oh my God, I want to compete,’” he said. “I don’t even know what it was, but I knew I wanted to do it.”

But instead of just competing, he founded a competition in his hometown of Monterrey, Mexico, in 2012.

“I couldn’t compete in that, because I organized it,” he said. “So we came to Memphis in May.”

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Teams of Barbecue: I Only Smoke When I Drink

5:39 PM CT, May 15

A hog named Earl lived a good life, and there was a big party for him at I Only Smoke When I Drink, an all-female team of women mostly from Nashville.

“What makes our team even better, besides being all-female and competing against my husband’s team, is that Karen actually raised the hog,” team captain Delaniah Bringle, wife of longtime competitor Carey Bringle said.

Teams of Barbecue: Moe Cason Barbecue

“She bred him, raised him, butchered him and then we named him Earl,” she said. “We decided that would be a tradition. He’s Earl number one and next year we’ll cook Earl number two and so on.”

The “Earl” name comes from the Dixie Chicks song “Goodbye Earl,” which features the line “it didn’t take ’em long to decide that Earl had to die.”

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Teams of Barbecue: Moe Cason Barbecue

11:23 AM CT, May 15

Moe Cason is a relative newcomer to Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest; this is the fourth year he has his own team, though he cooked with other teams a couple of years prior to that.

But he’s in it to win it, and he’s shown that he understands the culture and business of competitive barbecue.

Barbecue fest live stream: Shoulder and whole hog winners

Cason is from Des Moines, where he was raised in a large family — his mother was one of 17 children. He learned to cook watching his grandmother and a host of other relatives.

“We always had barbecue,” he said. “My aunts cooked it, my uncles, my grandmother, my mom. Everyone.”

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May 14, 2021

Teams of Barbecue: Hog Wild-Competition Team

7:08 PM CT, May 14

Ernie Mellor’s catering company is named Hog Wild, his new takeout store is Hog Wild East and his barbecue team is Hog Wild-Competition Team.

“There’s a hyphen in it even though the sign doesn’t have it,” he said. “Trust me.”

Table Talk: A May festival is back and Hog Wild goes east

He’s officially had his catering company since 1997, but he and a few buddies were doing catering by accommodation, a legit way for smaller businesses to cater on-site, a few years before that. They used the business name for the barbecue team starting in 1994.

But that wasn’t when he started competing at Memphis in May.

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Rendezvous ribs delivered to stalled barges before river traffic resumed

2:24 PM CT, May 14

The C. Michael Reeves had been idling on the Mississippi River across from Tom Lee Park since Tuesday, when the towboat’s captain got the all-clear that he could prepare to leave around noon Friday.

“We can hit the road,” said Larry Davis, the 35-year-old captain.

No river vernacular for that?

“Nope. When you can go it’s just ‘hit the road,’ ” he said (though they were still holding their position, pushed in, or hovering – whatever term you prefer – at 1:30 p.m.)

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May 13, 2021

Teams of Barbecue: Big Bob Gibson’s

7:02 PM CT, May 13

Don’t complain. The Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest did not take you by surprise — you just waited too long to get your tickets. Now it’s sold out and guess what? The weather is perfect.

But it would be cruel to rub it in, so I shouldn’t tell you about the Thursday supper at Big Bob Gibson’s tent. They’re the most successful Memphis in May competitor — they’ve won their division about half the years they’ve competed and have been grand champions five times.

<strong>Carolyn McLemore</strong>

Carolyn McLemore

Each year Don and Carolyn McLemore, the owners of Big Bob Gibson’s in Decatur, Alabama, host the dinner and while you might think pit master Chris Lilly’s barbecue would be the hit, you need to consider Carolyn’s cornbread salad. And the pies.

Oh, the pies. Coconut, chocolate, pecan and peanut butter come to Tom Lee Park, though there are even more varieties at the restaurants.

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May 12, 2021

Longtime MIM volunteers remember when Barbecue Fest was this small

12:19 PM CT, May 12

Memphis in May, all of it, could not happen without hundreds of volunteers. This weekend two veteran volunteers, John Joplin and John Lawrence, will be back behind the wheel of their golf carts, hauling media, staff and other folks who need to get around from one end of the park to the other.

This 30-minute podcast was hosted by food editor Jennifer Biggs with guests John Joplin and John Lawrence. It was recorded on Monday, May 10, and airs on WYXR on Thursday morning, May 13, at 11. 

Like what you hear? Subscribe to Sound Bites wherever you get your podcasts and you’ll always have the latest episodes at your fingertips.

They’ve been doing this around 30 years — Lawrence started in 1987 and his lifelong best friend jumped on the volunteer wagon a few years later. The two men have been best friends since junior high school; their wives have been in business together; their children have grown up together and are like family.

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Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest


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