Memphis in May: The Most Valuable Prize

Memphis in May

Aliene and Pat Burke are our Apple City Barbecue family.
Mike and Don McLemore, Big Bob Gibson, sharing secrets.

The real prizes we take home from a barbecue competition are the lifelong friendships we form. Lots of bonding takes place before cooking and  during late nights gathered around the fire.


Top left: Linus Kim, OnCue alum, brought me a delicious bottle of Hooker’s House bourbon.
Top right: Allen Smith, Boar’s Night Out, with his Praise the Lard Grand Champion trophy.
Bottom: Luke Ray, Ken Hess, and Phillip Heern hang out from Madison Avenue to Tom Lee Park.

Linus Kim, born in Birmingham and currently living in South Korea, came to our OnCue class in April and spent the spring traveling the country and sampling more barbecue. He showed up at Memphis in May with the Party Q team from Batesville, Arkansas. Allen Smith just makes me smile. His team, Boar’s Night Out, won MBN Grand Champion at our contest in Murphysboro and he travels everywhere with the pig trophy. He even buckles it into the passenger seat of his truck and drives it around. Our 17th Street pitmaster, Phillip Heern, and Ken Hess from Big Bob Gibson bonded on the streets of New York City during the Block Party and they enjoying spending time together every chance they get.


Woody Tunnicliffe, Phillip Heern, Justin Spencer, Shane McBride, Mike Mills, Lauren Hirschberg, Johnny Keenan, and Adam Evans at the famous Gus’s Fried Chicken in Memphis.

Late night at Gus’s with the Ribdiculous BBQ boys is one of my favorite memories. I was in their booth sampling pickles, competition sauce, and hamburgers when Mike called to say he’d secured a table at Gus’s.  What you don’t see  are the 40 pieces of chicken that arrived right after we took this photo!

Mike and his nephew, Chris Mills of the Flying Pigs BBQ team, share a moment during the awards ceremony.

Mike and his nephew, Chris Mills of the Flying Pigs BBQ team,
share a moment during the awards ceremony.

As the first chapter of our book, Peace, Love, and Barbecue, proclaims: Barbecue = Friends + Family + Love. It doesn’t get any better than this. 

Read more about our Memphis in May adventures: filming The ChewLessons learned from Rocky III,The Judging,
and Danish National Team shirt exchange

One Response to “Memphis in May: The Most Valuable Prize”

  1. I would have to agree, my favorite thing about competing at MIM this year was the friendships, new and old, that I am blessed to have. Great post and pictures!


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