Every pit boss you meet at the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest will vehemently swear his or her technique is the best. One pays homage to the fruit woods--peach or apple--and will snub hickory like it just walked barefoot through The Peabody. At the booth right next door, the cooker loads a smoker with hickory and then squirts apple juice onto his whole hog. Above the hiss on the grill, he casually dismisses his competitor. "This is all you need for good flavor," he says.
Of the more than 200 teams spread throughout the park, most of them have earned the right to be here, rising through the ranks by winning at various Memphis in May-sanctioned barbecue contests throughout the South. They've nearly perfected the art of cooking pork shoulders, ribs, or whole hogs. They've invested half-a-year's worth of weekends and a small fortune just to make it this far. Many barbecue fanatics can only dream of getting here to the Super Bowl of Swine, the largest pork barbecue cooking contest in the world.