Chris Lilly Earns Record Breaking 4th Memphis in May World Champion Title

June 20, 2014

From May 15-17, over 200 barbecue teams assembled on the banks of the Mississippi to once again go head-to-head in the fiercest pork barbecue battle on the planet, the 2014 Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.

Memphis in May 2014

Memphis in May 2014

As with every year, weather was a concern as the storm clouds rolled in late Thursday afternoon, but a little rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the thousands that converged on Tom Lee Park that evening for what is always an epic night of partying (at least for those who were fortunate to find a way in to the countless private beer and ice luge fueled team parties).

Memphis in May

Memphis in May Teams Set Up along the Banks of the Mississippi

DOuble Rainbow

A Double Rainbow Showers Good Luck on Memphis in May

Memphis in May 2014

The Crowds Gather at Memphis in May 2014

While hangovers were plenty in the park the following morning, it was time for some serious cooking business as teams put forth their very best in a variety of “Anything But” categories (i.e. anything but pork which is reserved for the big showdown on Saturday).

Memphis in May Awards

Teams Gather for Awards at Memphis in May

The Bastey Boys

The Bastey Boys Take Second in the Mustard Sauce Category

In the end, it was Extreme Cookers who took the top prize in the Beef category; Moonlight Smokers in Poultry; Iowa Barn Stormers BBQ in Seafood; Full Moon Smokers in Exotic; Team Canada BBQ in Tomato-based Sauce; Ribdiculous Bar-B-Krew in Mustard Sauce; Too Sauced to Pork in Vinegar Sauce; and the Pit & the Pilgulum II in the Franks Red Hot Wings division.

Another highlight of Memphis in May is always checking out the outrageous lengths teams will go to in the annual Miss Piggie Idol Contest and this year was no different as the Chi-Town Cookers took the top prize for the third consecutive year.  Meanwhile, The Moody Ques showed off their best representation of this year’s honor country Panama, taking top prize in the Best Booth contest and Pork O Saurus (home of the smoke breathing boar) won in the Best T-shirt category.

And while Friday night once again saw it’s share of hardcore parties, it was also time for the majority of teams to start focusing on the primary reason they were there – to compete in either the pork shoulder, pork ribs, or whole hog category.

Unlike most contests held across the country where teams turn-in their competition meats to judges in a randomly numbered blind turn-in box then sit back to wait for the awards ceremony, MBN style contests such as Memphis in May require competitors to not only turn-in a blind box but to also present their ribs, pork shoulder or whole hog to three on-site judges.

Across the park Saturday morning, teams scrambled to not only put the finishing touches on their meats but to spit shine their sites for the judges.  As the judges made their way to individual sites, beginning first with the pork shoulder entries, followed by whole hog, and finally ribs, a hush fell outside each team site as they gave their very best sales pitch to the judges.

Soon after, officials tallied the blind box and on-site judging scores and teams stood by the front of their sites hoping that the golf cart containing a team of contest officials would stop and let them know that they would be one of only three teams that would move forward to finals judging in each category.

George and Tuffy Stone

George Stone Reacts to Making Finals in Ribs while Tuffy looks on in shock

For those who didn’t make the cut, it was time for a cocktail and to begin breaking down their sites.  But for the finals team including The Rat Pack, Cool Smoke, and Auto Be Grillin’ in ribs; Red Hot Smokers, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, and Boarhouse Smokers in shoulder; and Cotton Pickin Porkers, Yazoos Delta Q, and British Bulldog BBQ in whole hog; it meant a mad scramble to make set up their sites and make their meat look as beautiful as possible before the four finals judges showed up for one last presentation.

Memphis in May Awards

Memphis in May “Anything Butt” Awards

By 6pm all of the presentations had long been completed, the overall scores had been tallied and the awards ceremony got underway on the Memphis in May main stage beginning with the Patio Porkers, a collection of smaller teams that compete exclusively in ribs.

It’s interesting to note that for most Patio Porker teams, the goal is not to come in first place but to come in second as a first place win earns then a mandatory bump up to the big, more expensive primary contest the following year.  Earning the automatic berth for next year was Moonlite Smokers, with my good friends from New England the Bastey Boys avoiding the top spot and coming in third place after The More you Drink the Better it Tastes.

Big Bob Gibson

Big Bob Gibson Wins Pork Shoulder Division; Memphis in May 2014

In the pork shoulder division, it was Chris Lilly and the Big Bob Gibson team who took the top prize, with Red Hot Smokers in second, and Boarhouse Smokers in third place.

Auto Be Grillin'

Auto Be Grillin’ Wins the Rib Category; Memphis in May 2014

In ribs, Memphis’s own Auto Be Grillin’ earned the top spot, while Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke took second place in his first year competing in the rib division, and The Rat Pack taking third out of 120 teams.

Melissa Cookson wins Whole Hog

Yazoo’s Delta Q Wins Whole Hog; Memphis in May 2014

Finally in whole hog, it was Melissa Cookston of Yazoo’s Delta Q who earned her fourth World Championship title in the category, followed by British Bulldog BBQ, and Cotton Pickin’ Porkers.

Big Bob Gibson wins Memphis in May 2014

Big Bob Gibson; Memphis in May World Champions

It was then on to the day’s biggest announcement – the overall winner of Memphis in May.  Big Bob Gibson, Yazoos Delta Q, and Auto Be Grillin’ took the stage once more and shortly thereafter Chris Lilly and the Big Bob Gibson team earned a record breaking 4th Memphis in May Grand Champion title.

Chris Lilly and Ken Hess

Chris Lilly and Ken Hess

In the end it was another amazing year on the banks of the Mississippi, watching the best-of-the-best cook some of the most amazing pork you’ll ever put in your mouth while also getting to spend some quality time with old friends and new enjoying all things barbecue and grilling.  Here are a few of my favorite moments captured during four days of food, friends, and fun.

The Shed BBQ

Scott from the Shed Fires Up the Grill

Eddie Medlin and Garry Rourk

Eddie Medlin and Garry Rourk

Carey Bringle

Carey Bringle

Ribdiculous Bar-B-Krewe

Ribdiculous Bar-B-Krewe

Big Mo Cason

Big Mo Cason

Mike Mills

Mike Mills

Brooke Orrison Lewis, Clint Cantwell, and Robyn Medlin Lindars

Brooke Orrison Lewis, Clint Cantwell, and Robyn Medlin Lindars

Frank Chin and Chris Grove

Frank Chin and Chris Grove

Wayne Booth

Wayne Booth

Ray Lampe

Ray Lampe judges 3 Taxi Guys

Cabilicious Whole Hog

Cabilicious Whole Hog

Tuffy Stone

Tuffy Stone Greets Memphis in May Finals Judges

Frank Chin and Chris Grove

Frank Chin and Chris Grove

Blake Marcum

Blake Marcum

Daddio-O

Daddio-O

Randy Twyford, Clint Cantwell, Darren Warth

Randy Twyford, Clint Cantwell, Darren Warth

Brad Orrison

Brad Orrison Knows What’s Up

Smoking Pig

One Smokin’ Pig

Memphis in May 2014

The Sun Sets on Memphis in May 2014

 

– Clint Cantwell, Grilling.com Editor

Related Topics: 3 Taxi Guys | Auto Be Grillin | Bastey Boys | Big Bob Gibson | Blake Marcum | British Bulldog Bbq | Brooke Orrison Lewis | Carey Bringle | Chi-town Cookers | Chris Grove | Chris Lilly | Clint Cantwell | Cool Smoke | Cotton Pickin Porkers | Darren Warth | Eddie Medlin | Editor's Picks | Extreme Cookers | Frank Chin | Full Moon Smokers | Garry Rourk | George Stone | Iowa Barn Stormers | Ken Hess | Melissa Cookston | Memphis In May | Mike Mills | Mo Cason | Moonlight Smokers | Moonlite Smokers | Pit And The Pigdulum | Pork O Saurus | Randy Twyford | Ray Lampe | Red Hot Smokers | Ribdiculous | Robyn Medlin Lindars | Team Canada Bbq | The Moody Que | The Rat Pack | The Shed | Tom Lee Park | Too Sauced To Pork | Tuffy Stone | Wayne Booth | Yazoos Delta Q

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