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Butt Rubbin' Fun: The Memphis World Championship Barbecue Festival '09
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From WTLE staff writer, Charles Harris: No, it’s not the river. That wonderful smell lingering over Memphis is the result of the World Barbeque Cooking Championships at Tom Lee Park on the riverfront. Over 250 teams, 500 barbecue judges — how one acquires this prestigious title remains to be seen — countless spectators and an ungodly amount of pork made this event, on the third week of Memphis in May, a smashing success.  

Teams competed in their respective categories, such as pulled pork, ribs, whole hog and best sauce (tomato, vinegar or mustard). There was even the “Anything But” subdivision including beef, poultry, seafood and “exotic.” Each team had their own booth, offering barbecue samples and drinks to friends (and those with schmoozing skills). As can be imagined, there were pork puns aplenty ranging from Aporkalypse Now, Piggy Stardust, The Pig Lebowski, and this barbecue enthusiast’s personal favorite, No Pig Left Behind.

Multiple food vendors sold all kind of barbecue delights and state fair fare (pardon the expression). By far the most crowded — and justifiably so — was the Willingham’s BBQ stand, serving up pulled pork sandwiches, pork nachos and some of the best dry rub ribs you’ll ever taste. Other food oddities of interest: chicken on a stick, barbecue sweet potato chips, and Jamaican jerk sausages.

And after a day’s worth of barbecue, beer and funnel cakes, what could be better than free samples of Tums. Here are some pics from this year's event:






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