2023 Praise the Lard Cook-Off Winners


Here it is…the list of the 2023 Praise the Lard Cook-Off Winners!

For the last 36 years, the Murphysboro Praise the Lard Cook-Off has been a cornerstone on the national barbecue circuit, having earned the reputation as one of the best three-days to experience and celebrate the competitive barbecue culture. This year, 17th Street Barbecue was thrilled to welcome back 90 teams from 15 states, competing for Grand Champion bragging rights, entry into the Kansas City Royal, the Jack Daniel’s draw and over $30,000 in prize money.

This year also saw the eighth year of our successful partnership with the Steak Cook Off Association, as we expanded the widely popular Friday night competition into a Doubleheader taking place through Saturday afternoon. We also introduced the first Pork Steak Cook-Off ancillary, recognizing this Midwest classic. A record number of 40 teams competed in the Steak Doubleheader. Rounding out a weekend of firsts, was the Anything Apple ancillary, paying tribute to Murphysboro’s rich apple history.  


This year marked the 15th year of a dual-sanctioned barbecue event with teams cooking for both the Memphis Barbecue Network (MBN) and Kansas City Barbecue Society (KSCBS) sanctioned contests. 

The three-day event continues to pay tribute to the memory of my dad, Mike Mills, affectionately known as “The Legend,” who passed away at the end of 2020. Originating as a one-day effort hosted by him to benefit the community, Praise the Lard Cook-Off has become as much a jewel in the crown on the barbecue circuit as one of the most anticipated fall weekends in the world of barbecue. We’re so proud to showcase the city of Murphysboro and show the teams and judges the gracious hospitality that is a trademark of Southern Illinois. We’re continuing his legacy of promoting barbecue as a conduit for community.

Overhead view of the Cook-off

The trophies at our competition are coveted works of art. Winning teams received one-of-a-kind hand-blown glass apples, exclusively commissioned for The Murphysboro Barbecue Cook-Off by the Douglass School Art Place in Murphysboro. The two Grand Champions each received a chainsaw-carved pig from Southern Illinois Chainsaw Carving in Marion, Illinois.

We are thankful for the generous support of the city, sponsors, community at large and hardworking volunteers to make the 36th year of this treasured weekend possible.  

2023 Praise the Lard Cook-Off Winners


Swine Life BBQ

1) Swine Life BBQ
2) Boro City Smokers
3) Ain’t it the Life
4) The Great Pig in the Sky
5) Twyford BBQ

1) Smoke Masters BBQ
2) Ain’t it the Life
3) BBQ Bus
4) Twyford BBQ
5)  Will-Be-Que

1) Swine Life BBQ
2) Steamboat BBQ-1
3) Party Q
4) The Great Pig in the Sky
5)  Will-B-Que

Janky Leg BBQ

Good Googly Goo BBQ

1) Good Googly Goo BBQ
2) Fire Dancer BBQ
3) Razorracks
4) Swine Life
5) Jab’s BBQ

1) Fire Dancer BBQ
2) Iowa Smokey D’s
3) Jab’s BBQ
4) Backdraft BBQ
5) Janky Leg BBQ

1) Janky Leg BBQ
2) T-Rex BBQ
3) Rusty Pig BBQ
4) Q-Jitsu
5) Swine Life

1) Kith N’ Kin
2) Triple H BBQ
3) Man Meat BBQ
4) Fire Dancer BBQ
5) The BBQ Bus

1) Joe Osbrick
2) Paul Perpich
3) Ann Neal
4) Dale Benson
5) Sandy Brown

1) TIE: Kevin Jaenke and Pat McDevitt
3) Chad Korte
4) Rust Hadacek
5) Zac Miller

1) Marty Plate
2) Randy Twyford
3) Ken Perkins
4) Steve Innarrone
5) John Bovinette

1) Jessica Korte
2) Melissa McDevitt
3) Cierra Krause
4) John Bovinette
5) Paul Perpich

Winners photos: ©Kyle Quigley
Drone and event photos: ©Prescott Doll

2023 Praise the Lard Cook-Off Winners

Praise The Lard Murphysboro Barbecue Flagship Cook-Off Sponsors include 17th Street Barbecue, Faye, Ole Hickory Pits, Certified Angus Beef, Townsend Spice, Pepsi, Silkworm, Samron, City of Murphysboro, Graue Inc, Big Muddy Brewing, Kingsford, Oliver & Associates, Brews Brothers, Henson’s Septic Service, Mileur Orchard, Republic Services, SIH, Schwebel Printing, Arthur, Voss Heating & A/C, US Foods, PFG Performance Food Group, Wichita Packing Company, Southern Illinois Tourism, UA 160, Donnewald Distributing Co., and Holiday Inn Express.


36th Annual Murphysboro Praise the Lard Cook-off

The 36th Annual Murphysboro Praise the Lard Cook-Off will take place September 21-23. The weekend kicks off on Thursday with our annual Fish Fry, from 5:30 until 8:30, and the feasting continues on Friday with our Grand Champion Meal from 5:30 to 8:30. Get tickets in person on the day of either event, or ahead of time by visiting our office at The Warehouse on 17th Street.

We’ll have live music starting at 6pm on Friday night, including Pity Thy Neighbors and 90s Kidz. Saturday afternoon will feature live music by Ethan Stephenson and Robert Russell, hosted by Big Muddy Brewing.

Get details about the weekend’s double-header SCA-sanctioned Steak Cook-Off when you review the online SCA registration pages for the Friday or Saturday contest. We’ll also be hosting a Bloody Mary contest on Saturday, sponsored by Brews Brothers Taproom. Click here for Bloody Mary Contest entry details.