Memphis Zoo animals predict winner of World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest

(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It's a fact--Memphis is synonymous with BBQ.

Now, two of Memphis' best-loved attractions--Memphis Zoo and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest from Memphis in May--have teamed up to predict the winner of BBQ Fest.

Who better to judge a cooking contest than cats?

"If they smell you, if you have food in your pocket or something, they will chase you and try to get it," Cornerstone Prep 4th grader Mariunnna Horton said.

"We realized that the cats really like BBQ scents. We actually use Central BBQ scent quite a bit for them for enrichment, and we thought it might be fun with BBQ Fest coming to Memphis," Memphis Zoo team leader Rebecca Koller said.

Six cooking teams participated in the first-ever Memphis Zoo Cat Country BBQ Bash by donating their secret rubs for cats to enjoy.

"The species that made the decisions were our pumas, our tigers, our snow leopards, and finally and lastly the lions," Koller said.

The finalists were Yazoo Delta Q and Central BBQ.

Two boxes were scented with the two dry rubs. The finals were held Wednesday morning as the cats sniffed out a winner.

After a bit of debate, the lady lions ultimately decided on the winningest woman in BBQ: Yazoo Delta Q.

Zoo team leaders said for the cats, smelling the rubs is mentally stimulating.

"Scents are one of the great enrichment tools we can provide them, and the cool thing about scents is we can put them on different types of objects," Koller said.

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