Darkside of the Grill 
Mel Chmilar Jr.

Mel Chmilar Jr.

Darkside of the Grill

Up In Smoke at Memphis in May Darkside of the Grill

I had the honor of attending one of this years biggest BBQ competitions and festivals this month! Memphis in May!

I was there cooking for the VIPs and BBQ alley with Big Green Egg.

Memphis was HOT Memphis was packed and Memphis was Alive 24 hours a day for 6 days straight! Most of the teams have traveled a few states and some from other countries to compete and that meant them staying on the grounds for the week. That also means long nights of friends food and parties!

Like a city of tents, trailers and smokers all filling the air it was a sight to see and walk through. Every stop having a beer or a snack and almost every pit master I saw had a stogie in there hand! It was at this point I noticed that cigars and barbecue go hand in hand for the most part! 

And just like that you see the taste profile of the cigars is a lot like the flavours of our food…Big Bold and tons of flavour! I was in heaven all the way around ! Big hogs on the grill, a fresh glass of 100 proof bourbon and an assortment of Maduros to choose from. This is about as good as it gets! Even when we ventured down to Beal street to take in the juke joints and hit up the classic diner the bourbon was a pourin and cigars were everywhere.

classic diner the bourbon was a pourin and cigars we’re everywhere. So many amazing things to see in Memphis like the original Sun records where a certain king of rock and roll used to record…

As well as the bass pro pyramid that stands taller than the statue of liberty right off the Mississippi River. Incredible places await every street corner. I ate a ton of fried catfish and hushpuppies, tried to take in as many blues bands as we could see but this is about the BBQ so lets get back on track! The Spin doctors played on the live stage the night before awards and they didn’t suck! I was surprised! And after a day of bourbon and sprite my pit mate The BBQ Buddha got me on the massive Ferris wheel to take in the views of the park from the sky! It was pretty cool! There was a cigar booth set up at the base of the ride that I hit up for some classics (AB magic toast, Camacho triple maduro, Macanudo) to make sure I was stocked for awards night. That guy was BUSY ! Seemed there were 3 people looking every time we walked passed.

I had the honor of judging a category for the Memphis in may board and went into the judges building. Tight security and blind box judging was key here and I was able to score on the Beef category. Amazing turn ins of brisket, pin wheels and even a wellington tart! The competition was tight! And super cool to see the process from inside the judges quarters! The Awards were handed out the last day with teams screaming and cheering as they were called! TV crews were at every corner and people lined up to congratulate the chard champion who was Blues hog this year! All in all it was a ton of work, a ton of walking, some real late nights and the heat…whew. But its a bucket list trip and one of the best BBQ events in the world so I tell you what! Grab a bottle of bourbon a box of cigars and get down there next year!

They were called! TV crews were at every corner and people lined up to congratulate the chard champion who was Blues hog this year! All in all it was a ton of work, a ton of walking, some real late nights and the heat… whew. But it’s a bucket list trip and one of the best BBQ events in the world so I tell you what! Grab a bottle of bourbon a box of cigars and get down there next year! But pace yourself ! Its easy to over indulge on any of these amazing habits! Hahahahaha I know I did…daily! 

Mel Chmilar 

@darksideofthegrill

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on email
Email
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on print
Print