May 17, 2022

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The smell of barbecue will soon be wafting through the streets of Memphis once again. That means one thing: It’s time for the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.

Set for May 11-14, the competition will be fierce with 215 teams competing at the first full-blown cooking contest since 2019.  

2021 Grand Champion Jack’s Old South will be back again to defend its title. Will it be the sixth title win for this team led by famed pitmaster Myron Mixon? Or will another team reign supreme?

Memphis’ own Melissa Cookston, pitmaster for competition team Yazoo’s Delta Q and Memphis Barbecue Company in Horn Lake, hopes this is her year to win again. 

MEMPHIS BARBECUE:Meet Melissa Cookston, the reigning queen of barbecue

“Competing at Memphis in May is taking your love of cooking with fire to the arena,” said Cookston, who is known as the “Winningest Woman in Competition Barbecue.” “Putting your skills to the test against others who have the same passion in search of the holy grail, the World Championship.”

But things are a bit different this year.

A new location

The smokers won’t be on the banks of the Mississippi River, instead they will be lined up in the Fairgrounds in Liberty Park in Midtown Memphis. The event’s usual home, Tom Lee Park, is unavailable this year due to ongoing construction. 

It’s the second time this famed barbecue cooking contest has had to make a temporary move to the fairgrounds. Back in 2011, the event moved to Tiger Lane as the river flooded to record levels.

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