By TED CARTER
America’s best barbecue?
If you’re in whole hog, look no farther than Ocean Springs, home of The Shed BBQ, whose pork perfectionists just laid claim to the Grand Championship of America title in the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest – long acclaimed as the Super Bowl of competitive barbecuing.
The Shed beat out 35 other teams in the Whole Hog category to earn the Grand Championship title and $20,500 in prize money.
“We knew when we opened that cooker and the pig was smiling at us,” said head cook Brad Orrison, who owns The Shed with his sister, Brooke Lewis.
Two other Mississippi teams placed in the top 10 in the Whole Hog competition: Cotton Patch Cooking Team from Columbus (3rd place and $1,500 in prize money) and Yazoo Delta Q from Hernando (10th place and $300).
Four Mississippi teams placed in the top 10 in the Shoulder category:
» Second Place — $2,000 – Sweet Swine O’ Mine from Olive Branch;
» Third Place — $1,500 – Red Hot Smokers from Olive Branch;
» Fifth Place — $750 – Killer Hogs from Southaven;
» Ninth Place — $350 – Ubon’s BBQ from Yazoo City.
First place in the Shoulder category went to Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, Decatur, Ala.
Natural Born Grillers from Southaven took fourth place in the Rib category, winning $1,000. First place and $8,500 in prize money went to Serial Grillers from Memphis.
Dirty Hogs from Southaven claimed first place and $2,500 in the Patio Porkers category. Third place and $750 in winnings went to 3 Stacks BBQ from Ridgeland.
Memphis in May International Festival is a month-long celebration of the Bluff City. In addition to the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, events include the Beale Street Music Festival and the AutoZone Sunset Symphony.
We had a great turnout this year and could not be more excited for this year’s Grand Champion, The Shed BBQ team,” said Jim Holt, president & CEO of Memphis in May. “Teams that compete in the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest spend a tremendous amount of time and energy to produce world championship barbecue in an effort to be named Grand Champion of the most prestigious barbecue cooking contest in the nation, making this is an honor and achievement that many strive for and only a select few will attain.”
Two hundred and forty four barbecue teams competed in the 2015 World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest with 125 teams competing in the Rib category, 51 teams competing in the Shoulder category and 36 teams competing in the Whole Hog category.
The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest started in 1977 in a parking lot with a few dozen teams and their grills. The contest quickly grew and is now located on the beautiful banks of the mighty Mississippi River in the 25-acre Tom Lee Park which is filled to capacity each year with approximately 250 competing teams.