When you hear Memphis: most people think Elvis and BBQ! That's exactly what my trip to the south was all about y'all! It all started at a dinner in NY in February when I was exuberantly talking about my culinary passions when my friend Mary, our lovely hostess along with her hubby Jarren, invited me and our friend Marisa from NYC to join her at the WORLD'S LARGEST BBQ FEST in May! We both jumped on board, booked our flights and came to the hot and humid South for non-stop eating, drinking and Graceland!
The weather was sticky and unpredictable - there were some downpours but that didn't stop the teams from their basting, and barbecuing and everybody was in it to win it! We had the privilege of being a part of the "Cotton Picking Porkers" who are a 20 year old team and were competing in the pork shoulder competition. They have won 1st prize back in the day and were aiming for golden results again! Our group had got there right in time for lunch which was a crawfish bake. Crawfish, (or crayfish) for those who don't know, are a mix between a lobster and a shrimp and very popular in the South. The bake was a mixture of corn, potatos, sausages, artichoke and crawfish with cayenne pepper to add a huge punch and then some old bays seasoning to top it all off. They were hot and spicy!!! The trick is to crack the crawfish in half, suck out the inners from the head and eat the meat from the tail. Very spicy from all the seasoning but a fun experience none the less!
The Cotton Picking porkers placed 12th in the Pork Shoulder competition which they should be proud of as it's one of their best placements they've had in the competition! And I would love to think that we brought them some extra good luck from out of town - and perhaps will garner an invite for next year?
We went on a walk about later on and went through many other teams, everybody had a great team name that would make us laugh and would be working on their whole pig, pulled pork, pork shoulder, bbq'd baloney (which I thought was a processed meat) and of course ribs!!
When the folks heard that I am a poutine enthusiast, they wanted to show me what their version of Southern comfort food is (aside from the BBQ and fried chicken)- it's something called BBQ'd nachos which consist of nachos with pulled pork shoulder, smothered in bbq sauce with cheese. I have to say they were good- sweet from the sauce and juicy and tender from the pork but nothing trumps my favourite Canadian comfort food!
Some other notably things that we're tried - alligator but on nachos again. I was totally being healthy as you can tell. Alligator tastes like chicken to me with the same texture as well. I also had fried catfish on a po'boy which was a sub sandwich. MMM...
Hopefully I will be back again as I enjoyed the good southern hospitality and especially all the food and folks! Thanks again Mary and Jarren.. and Will from the Cotton Picking Porkers!