MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - One of the hardest parts of the BBQ contest for fans is not being able to eat a lot of the food that’s up for judging.
Barbecue tents don't have health inspections like restaurants do, so they are not allowed to sell food to the general public.
However, there are a few ways you can sample the ribs and shoulders.
It comes around once a year.
A mecca of meats, lathered with saucy goodness.
“Oh, the ribs. They were really good,” said April Yewell, attendee.
All the tents are filled with pit masters cookin butt and takin names.
“We’ve been doing this for 13 years now, I think,” said Chris Purcell, Porkstars.
And all you want to do is get inside to get a plate... But there's one problem.
“Yeah, you can't get into a booth unless you know someone,” said Matt Thomas, Central Smokers.
And competitors can't sell you food. It's against local health regulations.
So this is where the art of negotiation comes in.
Tip number one comes from Central Smokers… be nice.
“If you're general public and check out barbecue fest, just be hospitable. Come up and say, ‘Hey, let me see your smoker.’ Strike up a conversation. Strike up a conversation,” said Thomas.
Tip number two comes from Pork Stars.
“Oh, the best way to get inside the tent at barbecue fest you act like you know somebody. You order a drink at the bar. Leave some cash in the tip jar,” said Purcell.
Yeah, but that can be risky. Most of the tents have security after a certain time and you may not get very far.
“So today we came out and we did the tour of champions. Kingsford tour champions. That's the way to go,” said Karen Norris, attendee.
Karen Norris from Little Rock offers tip number three. Purchase a ticket to sample different restaurants and championship barbecue teams
Unfortunately, both BBQ alley and Tour of champions is sold out.
However, there are plenty of vendors to purchase food items from.
There are also things to do outside the tents.
“Oh, the atmosphere alone and we got to take pictures with Big Moe Cason that we’ve seen on BBQ Pitmasters, so that was our highlight of this,” said Norris.
If nothing else, just take a seat on the mighty Mississippi and take in the best view in the city.