World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest ends with fierce cooking competition, camaraderie

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. ( The 42nd World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is in the book and the competition ended a lot like it started.

Bad weather forced everyone to evacuate Tom Lee Park on Saturday, but not before the winners were crowned.

Several teams have been coming here since the beginning. However, it’s not all about competition but more so the camaraderie that goes along with it.

“This is our 27th year, had a great time down here,” said David Hill of the Parrothead Porkers of Hogaritaville. “Met some of the best friends the world down here. This is a barbeque family.


Part of that family is Lauren Cavanaugh, whose grown up around team Swine and Dine. They have been offering their pork shoulder for 38 years.


“We stay in the same hotel as them, so we see them even after the park before we come down,” said Cavanaugh. “We’ll have breakfast with them. They’re like extended family.”


Swine and Dine has been pitched up next to the Parrothead Porkers for the couple of decades.


For them it’s a type of brotherhood and sisterhood in barbecue.


“This is the main family, they’re the aunts and uncles,” shared Cavanaugh.


This year, Swine and Dine won the World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest’s Best Booth award.


They pulled it off by honoring Memphis with images of Aretha Franklin and Jerry Lawler.

“Our front wall is 200 years of Memphis history,” said team member Austin Brown. “So, 1819 to 2019, everything shared across the board there.”

Officials say prizes for the best pork shoulder, whole hog and ribs total about $120,000.

“The winners of each of those categories, ribs shoulders whole hog, those three winners whoever has the highest score of those first-place teams becomes the world champion,” said VP of Memphis in May Marketing Robert Griffin.

For the teams, the experience matters most.

“Beautiful time and beautiful park and I hope it stays that way,” said Jim Youngblood of the Parrothead Porkers.

About 250 teams travel from across the globe and country to claim the title of World Champion.

Click here for a full list of the World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest winners.

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