Introducing the BBQ Trail Series
We love BBQ! That’s the sentiment of nearly everyone who lives in our area, and we have refined our sense of what good BBQ really is. Of course, we have refined our taste to just that, our taste. We all have our favorites, for sauce, for slaw, for meat, for ‘fixin’s’, even down to that smell as you pull up to your favorite BBQ eating establishment.
We’ve decided to hit the trail of those scents and find out just how good our BBQ spots really are. As the old folks used to say, ‘Now don’t fret’ if your favorite BBQ isn’t in the first issue. You know you can’t rush BBQ and make it good, so let us do that to this series as well. We are going to savor it all, so it’s going to take a while to cover everyone.
Since Covington has the Oldest BBQ Festival in the World, we decided to start there - after all, if you’ve done something for forty six years, you must be doing something right! This year, the festival saw thirty teams compete from nearby areas, and areas that are not so near - Canton, Ridgeland, Clarksdale, Olive Branch, Byhalia, and Shaw in Mississippi; Atoka, Drummonds, Munford, Covington, Millington, Lakeland, Germantown, and Collierville in Tennessee, and others scattered throughout the area. This festival is sanctioned by the Memphis BBQ Network, and is a qualifier for the big Memphis in May BBQ Festival.
“There’s a big camaraderie between the cookers, they are really passionate about what they do,” said Karen Griffin, event coordinator. They have to be. During the BBQ season, there are not a lot of days that are sunny. Rain doesn’t seem to bother the cookers, and they come with gear for all types of weather. “They have RV’s with all of the comforts of home, but it’s their hobby, they need what makes them comfortable!” While the teams are serious about their cooking, they kick their heels up a little on Friday night. Corn Hole tournaments, Washers tournaments, and live music from Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster set the tone for the evening (If you couldn’t get enough of Dr. Zarr, they will also be at the Ripley Tomato Festival!). There were also a couple of ‘private competitions’ - for a brass pig that’s passed between the Covington Maintenance Department, Covington Electric and the Covington Police Department. While the Maintenance Department won this year, they have to bring the pig back next year and put it up for grabs, and bragging rites, for 2019.
“It was an awesome experience, a great community event,” Ricky Delashmit, a member of one of the BBQ teams, told us, “it’s great to see the continued community support for an event that has been around for nearly 50 years.” Smokemasters, another BBQ team added, “Even with rain and thunderstorms, it was open, lively, and great. The venue lends itself well to a BBQ Competition, as it is not in a grocery store parking lot or the outfield of a baseball field.“
And they finished, ”We come back to the competitions that are welcoming and comfortable” Born in the Que-S-A echoed their words, “ “We really enjoyed Covington. You get to know the teams next to you and the great people there. You don’t get that in Memphis in May. It’s like a family at Covington BBQ Fest.” ”We keep coming because of the experiences we have had in the past here.”