SmokeSlam Unveils More Than Just BBQ; A Three-Day Festival For BBQ Fans And The Whole Family

Daily Schedule and Partnership with Project Green Fork Announced; Pickleball Activities, Live Music, Fairgrounds, Fireworks, A Memphis Market and Bazaar, and Local Food Vendors Added

Stroller- and Diaper Bag-Friendly Rules for Families

MEMPHIS, Tenn., May 13, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Today, SmokeSlam, the world’s ultimate BBQ festival with the richest prize in the sport’s history, doubled down on why SmokeSlam is more than a BBQ competition but a truly inclusive experience that will appeal to BBQ fans, families, foodies and tourists alike. Organizers announced the daily schedule is now live at The festival is also proud to announce they are working with the non-profit Project Green Fork to provide food to underprivileged communities across Memphis. Since its inception in 2008, Project Green Fork (PFG), spearheaded by Margot McNeely, has strategically partnered with local dining establishments to mitigate waste, bolstering Memphis’s ecological profile. SmokeSlam is collaborating with PGF by retrieving surplus food twice daily and distributing packaged food to community stakeholders.

In addition to the highly anticipated Live Fire Extravaganza, which takes place daily and features famed pitmasters like Al Frugoni, Chris Stafford (LoneMountainBBQ), Misty Banchero (SeattleButchersWife) and Toni Ramirez (TFTI), who will cook up endless bites for guests, 901 Pickleball is bringing the popular sport to anyone who wants to give it a try while at the festival. Sponsored by Wickles Pickles, Pickleball 901 will provide four full-size pickleball courts with professional nets, paddles, balls, coaches, music, and demo gear underneath the large awning on the river. It will be a first come/first served walk-up open play all day. There will also be a beginner court for people to learn to play for free.

“Unlike other BBQ competitions, you won’t have to purchase food to satisfy your hunger. From sliders to wings to street tacos and shrimp and grits, the pitmasters have something in store for everyone with a general admission ticket. We will even have BBQ’d veggies and fruits for those who want to skip the meat. This is more than just a barbecue competition, this is an experience we really want to share not only with our Memphis family but also our friends from out of town, with activities and live music from Tone Loc (my personal favorite), WAR, The Bar-Kays, and so much more,” said Melzie Wilson, SmokeSlam Organizer. 

Important times to note:

Doors open at 2 PM each day.
Fireworks begin around 10:15 PM each night.
Tom Lee Park closes at midnight.


2 PM – 8 PM – B&B Charcoal Live Fire Extravaganza presented by NBBQA
2:30 PM – Cooking Demo with Christy Vanovers @girlscangril
3:00 PM – WFC Bacon Judging Starts
3:30 PM – Cooking Demo with John Lindsey @allquedupbbq
4:00 PM – WFC Wings Judging Starts
4:00 PM – 4:30 PM Meet and Greets with Head Pitmasters Al Frugoni and Derek Wolf (OvertheFireCooking) (VIP ONLY)
4:30 PM – Cooking Demo with Erica Roby @bluesmokeblair
5:00 PM – WFC Dessert Judging Starts
5:30 PM – Cooking Demo with Ray Sheehan @chef.raysheehan
5:45 PM – 6:45 PM – Live Music at the White Claw Stage: Noisy Cats Are We
6:00 PM – 7:00 – Meet and Greets with Myron Mixon (5x World Champion), Heath Riles (75x BBQ Grand Champion), and Carey Bringle (PegLegPorker) (VIP ONLY)
6:30 PM – Cooking Demo with Robert Perkins/Pancho and Lefty
7:15 PM -8:15 PM – Live Music at the White Claw Stage: Mustache The Band
7:30 PM – Cooking Demo with Mike Starr @blazingstarbbq
8:45 PM – 10:15 PM – Live Music at the White Claw Stage: Mix Tape Tour featuring Tone Loc, Rob Base, Young MC, DJ M Walk


2 PM – 8 PM – B&B Charcoal Live Fire Extravaganza presented by NBBQA
2:30 PM – Cooking Demo with John Lindsey @allquedupbbq
2:30 PM – WFC Duck Judging Starts
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM – Meet and Greets with Logan Sandoval (ZefBBQ) and Netflix BBQ Showdown Champion Thyron Mathews (VIP only)
3:30 PM – Cooking Demo with Ray Sheehan @chef.raysheehan
4:00 PM – WFC Seafood Judging Starts
4:30 PM – Cooking Demo with Erica Roby @bluesmokeblair
4:45 PM – 5:30 PM Live Music at the White Claw Stage: Hope Clayburn & Soul Scrimmage
5:15 PM – 6:15 PM – Meet and Greets with Melissa Cookston (7xWorld BBQ Champion), Erica Roby (Blue Smoke Blair), and TV personality Gina Neely
5:30 PM – Cooking Demo with Kunchi @cookinwidkunchi
6 PM – 7:15 PM WFC Awards Ceremony hosted by Erica Roby of Blue Smoke Blaire and Gina Neely (Host of Bluff City Life)
6:30 PM – Cooking Demo with Thyron Mathews @thyronmathew
7:30 PM – Cooking Demo with Mike Starr @blazingstarbbq
7:30 PM – 8:30 PM – Live Music at the White Claw Stage: The Bar-Kays
9 PM – 10:15 PM – Live Music at the White Claw Stage: War


2:00 – MBN Finals Judging Begins
2 PM – 8 PM – B&B Charcoal Live Fire Extravaganza presented by NBBQA
2:30 PM – Cooking Demo with John Lindsey @allquedupbbq
3:00 PM – WJBL Chicken Turn in
3:30 PM – Cooking Demo with Christy Vanovers @girlscangrill
3:30 PM – WJBL Ribs Turn in
4:00 PM – WJBL Pork Turn In
4:30 PM – Cooking Demo with Erica Roby @bluesmokeblair
4:30 PM – WJBL Brisket Turn In
5:15 PM – 7:15 PM World Junior Barbecue League (WJBL) Awards followed by Memphis Barbecue Network (MBN) Awards hosted by Thyron & Logan from Netflix’s Barbecue Showdown
5:30 PM – Cooking Demo with Ray Sheehan @chef.raysheehan
7:15 PM – 8:15 PM – Live Music at the White Claw Stage: SmokeSlam Players
8:45 PM – 10:15 PM – Live Music at the White Claw Stage: St Paul and the Broken Bones
**Saturday Meet and Greets for VIP to be announced.

VIP ticket holders can also expect surprise guest appearances, book signings, intimate discussions, and more from famed pitmasters and influencers throughout the three days!

James Cook of People’s Republic of Swina, the 2nd place winner at MIM last year, explained why they chose to participate in SmokeSlam: “Our team was founded in 2008 by a group of local Memphians. We are serious about the BBQ and are proud to have consistently achieved several top-place finishes in KCBS, MBN, and MIM competitions. We chose to support SmokeSlam and the contest downtown because we feel that the event and staff have chosen to celebrate something that is uniquely Memphis and we want to be a part of celebrating this great city in this amazing setting.”

SmokeSlam has changed its policy to allow strollers and diaper bags for guests wishing to bring the whole family. Kids can get inspired by fellow young pitmasters as Melissa Cookston’s World Junior Barbecue League (WJBL) also competes for prize money on Saturday. The carousel and Ferris wheel overlooking the Mississippi River are also not to be missed. For those wanting something a little different, local favorites Mempops, Pronto Pups, Sawce Pizza, and Tica’s Burger Joint will also be on-site and available for purchase. The Memphis Market, curated by Memphis Flavor, will also be selling Memphis’s finest rubs and sauces, and the NBBQA BBQ Bazaar will have products and books from some of SmokeSlam’s famed pitmasters and BBQ influencers for sale.

In addition to the largest cash prize purse in history, now at $275,000 with the addition of a $25,000 prize for the WJBL, SmokeSlam winners will be wowed by the one-of-a-kind trophies designed and created by the famed Memphis Metal Museum.

Festival sponsors include Bud Light, B&B Charcoal, Duraflame, Cowboy Charcoal, White Claw, Stringbend Capital, Cayman Jack, Southland Casino, Jim Beam, Memphis Tourism, Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Welcome to Memphis, and Ducks Unlimited.

One-day general admission tickets are $24.99, and three-day general admission are $65. VIP tickets are $240 each day and $599 for three days.

Tickets are available online or can be purchased at the gate.

About SmokeSlam
SmokeSlam is a new BBQ festival organized by Mempho Presents, a group with deep roots in Memphis, music, and barbecue. SmokeSlam’s inaugural competition will occur May 16 – 18, 2024, at Tom Lee Park in Memphis, TN. SmokeSlam is putting up a purse of $275,000, the largest in pork BBQ competition history, and has partnered with the Memphis BBQ Network (MBN) to run the pork championship judging for the competition. SmokeSlam will be an MBN-sanctioned event where teams can compete in all three major categories, and category winners are also eligible for a ‘Golden Ticket’ to compete in the World Food Championships (WFC) in the fall. The WFC will be sanctioning all ancillary competitions on Thursday and Friday. For more information visit

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. For more information, visit

Media Contact
Lindsay Stevens

SOURCE SmokeSlam