6 Things to Know About The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest

Posted by Holly Whitfield | May 17th 2018 494 0

The largest barbecue event in the world is happening right now at Tom Lee Park in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. Here are the six quick points I’d like to make about WCBCC 2018, followed by the schedule.

1. Win tickets! Follow me on Twitter at @ilovememphis. I’ll be giving away some tickets in person downtown Thursday and maybe Friday and I’ll let you know where I’m at.

2. In case you missed it….this is not a free-for-all eatin’ ribs situation. Think of this as ton of private parties/team cook-offs all gathered together on the river…not a festival where anyone can buy food from the teams. In fact, they aren’t allowed to sell it at all. If you go there without a team invite, expect to see some fun entertainment and get grub from your usual fair-food vendors (pronto pups, etc.) but not all their barbecue.

3. Get an invite. To get around this, you may be able to gain entry to a friend’s team. Some thoughts on this:
– A friend who is on a team might invite you to stop by during a convenient time, sometimes you can ask/beg them.
– Don’t try to bring a big pack of friends with you if you get an invite. This is just not cool.
– Mind your manners.
– Bring some cash for tip jars think $10 or a $20, especially if drinks are free. If I’m staying in a friend’s tent eating and drink all night for free, I will add more.

In the “anything but” category.

4. BBQ Alley. Another way to get around this is to buy tickets to the BBQ Alley, which is only in its second year. These $15 tickets are in addition to your admission ticket. Read all the fine print and get limited number of tickets here.

5. Common sense. If you’re heading down there, it sure won’t hurt you to keep in mind some of my favorites from the ABCs of Memphis in May.

– drink water, please
– wear sunscreen
– don’t drink and drive, there is literally no reason on earth to do this when there are lyfts and ubers and cabs
– wearing real, closed-toe shoes is best; no heels, and flip flips are darn iffy
– charge your phone
– don’t skip Ms. Piggy Idol; it’s hilarious

The Too Sauced To Pork team puts out a very in-depth unofficial guide every year that you might be interested in. John over at Carbunkle Trumpet has an even more unofficial, entertaining “guide” as well.

6. Check the schedule.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 16
Park hours: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Sauce Wrestling: 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

THURSDAY, MAY 17
Park hours: 11 a.m. – midnight
Free admission: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Ms. Piggie Idol Contest: 6 p.m.
Ms. Piggie Idol Finals: 8 p.m.
Awards Ceremony: 8 p.m. (Ms. Piggie Idol, T-shirt, Booth)
Featured Entertainment – Graceland Ninjaz: 8:30 p.m.

FRIDAY, MAY 18
Park hours: 11 a.m. – midnight
Free admission: 11 a.m. — 1 p.m.
Awards Ceremony: 6:30 p.m. (Anything But, Hot Wings, Sauce)
Featured Entertainment – MIX MASTER MIKE (Beastie Boys): 8 p.m.

SATURDAY, MAY 19
Park hours: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Awards Ceremony: 6:30 p.m.
Featured Entertainment – Big Daddy Kane: 8 p.m.

To say the teams are excited is an enormous understatement. They’ve been out there setting up for five days already, getting ready for parties and setting up to cook recipes they’ve been perfecting all year…or maybe for decades.

In additional to elaborate multi-level “tents”, tantalizing smells, hilarious entertainment, and honestly, some of the wildest partying I’ve ever seen, this is a damn serious cooking competition with world-class winners and judges.

Good luck everybody! PLEASE tag me in your photos online or use hashtag #ilovememphis.


Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

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