The competition field at the 2022 Memphis in May World Championship Cooking Contest is as fierce as ever. This week, 215 teams will battle for the title of Grand Champion at the Fairgrounds in Liberty Park.
The roster of participants this year includes the top names in competition barbecue. They are all here in Memphis to win the most coveted title in competition barbecue.
These are the expert pitmasters considered “barbecue royalty” — each with multiple wins to his or her name.
Several have been featured on national TV shows. Many have their own line of sauces and dry rubs. Four in this group have been inducted into the American Royal Barbecue Hall of Fame, which is one of the highest honors for a pitmaster.
Here are 10 of this year's top contenders. (If you're heading out to the contest this week, swing by their booths to get a glimpse inside the world of competition barbecue at its highest level.)
Myron Mixon of Jack’s Old South
Myron Mixon of Jack’s Old South is a five-time World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest Grand Champion. He won the title in 2021 after also wining first place in the Whole Hog division. This Georgia native has won over 200 grand championships resulting in more than 1,800 total trophies, 30 state championships, eight Team of the Year awards and 11 national championships. He was inducted onto the Barbecue Hall of Fame in 2013. Mixon has competed at Memphis in May for decades. His first WCBCC Grand Champion win was in 2001. Mixon is competing in Whole Hog.
MEMPHIS IN MAY 2021: Meet the winners of 2021 World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest
Melissa Cookston of Yazoo’s Delta Q
Melissa Cookston is known as the “Winningest Woman” in competition barbecue. Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Cookston is a seven-time world barbecue champion, having been named Memphis in May Grand Champion twice. She is also the owner of Memphis Barbecue Company restaurant in Horn Lake, the author of two cookbooks and frequent host on barbecue cooking shows. She was inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame in 2017. Cookston competes in the Whole Hog division. In 2021, she placed third in Whole Hog.