SmokeSlam, ‘The World’s Ultimate BBQ Showdown,’ Announces 59 Teams Confirmed to Compete

Melissa Cookston’s World Junior BBQ League Unveils Youth Competition with $25,000 in Prizes

MEMPHIS, Tenn., March 13, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Mempho Presents announced the first annual ‘SmokeSlam‘ BBQ festival has finalized its capacity list of 59 participating teams for the three-day event that will take place from May 16-18, 2024 at Tom Lee Park. Additionally, World Jr. BBQ League (WJBL), the philanthropic organization founded by seven-time World BBQ Champion, Melissa Cookston will host a youth BBQ competition, awarding $25,000 in prizes at the festival.

Of the 59 teams selected, 32 will be competing in all three categories: Whole Hog, Ribs, and Pulled Pork. There are a total of 33 teams competing in whole hog, 46 in pulled pork and 56 in ribs. The registered teams coming from 11 states from as far as Wisconsin and Arizona, include “Rebel Roasters” who have come out of retirement to participate in SmokeSlam, “I Only Smoke When I Drink,” an all-female team from Nashville, and champion pit masters such as Marcio Borguezan with “Hog Addiction.” 

“Team Hog Addiction is ready for SmokeSlam! It is a privilege and honor to cook in any contest, but the MBN and SmokeSlam teams have been an absolute joy to work with,” said Borguezan. “We can’t wait to join the many great Pitmasters from all over the country to gather for a chance to win one of the highest purses in Barbecue in the US!”

SmokeSlam is also pleased to announce a partnership with World Junior BBQ League to bring the next generation of pit masters to the festival. WJBL was founded by Melissa Cookston in 2021 with the purpose of engaging young people in BBQ competitions to teach them “skills beyond the grill,” such as leadership, teamwork, strategic planning, grace under pressure, and work ethic. Since its creation, WJBL has hosted competitions in Memphis, across the South and internationally in Guatemala and the Cayman Islands. Each year, participants who competed at a WJBL competition, either nationally or internationally, may compete at the World Championship in the Fall.

“BBQ has been good to me, and I’m thrilled to give back by imparting my knowledge and passion to the next generation. Through the World Junior BBQ League, we aim to cultivate a love for cooking and a spirit of hard work into our youth that they can take with them throughout their life and into future careers. With SmokeSlam’s partnership and support, we’ll be able to extend this opportunity to more young people and ensure the flame of BBQ excellence continues to burn brightly for years to come. Huge thanks to Mempho Presents, SmokeSlam, and all involved. I can’t wait to see what these young pit masters cook up this May,” said Melissa Cookston, Founder of World Junior BBQ League.

“The idea of SmokeSlam was that it could be a place for the whole family to enjoy a day or weekend of food, fun, activities, and interactive demonstrations. We are thrilled that the World Junior BBQ League and young people from our local community and beyond, will be joining us and showing off their BBQ skills in an event that is just as competitive as the others. We’ve allotted $25,000 in prize money and the judging will take place on Saturday at the same time as the pork championship judging,” said Melzie Wilson from SmokeSlam.

To participate in the WJBL competition at SmokeSlam, individuals must be a member of WJBL, and between the ages of 14-18 or currently enrolled in high school. WJBL also hosts optional bootcamps where participants learn to cook the four competition categories: chicken thighs, pork butts, pork ribs and brisket flat. The next scheduled bootcamp is scheduled for Wednesday, March 27th. For more information about becoming a member, donating to or sponsoring the WJBL, please visit

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About Mempho Presents
Mempho Presents, a division of Forward Momentum, is an independent promotion company that crafts world-class live events and fan experiences. The group produces shows and events year-round, primarily at venues in Memphis, TN, and the Mid-South.

About World Junior BBQ League 
The World Junior BBQ League (WJBL) is a 501c3 Nonprofit founded in 2021 by Melissa Cookston, a seven-time World BBQ Champion. The WJBL hosts youth barbecue competitions throughout the United States and internationally to teach the next generation life and career-readiness skills through the art of competition barbecue.

Media Contact:
Lindsay Stevens

SOURCE Mempho Presents