October 26, 2007 - Posted at 2:49 p.m. CDT
STATE UNIVERSITY, AR -- BBQ is big business in Region 8! Friday kicks off the first day of competition in the Second Annual Jazz in Jonesboro Mid-South BBQ Championship.
The scent of BBQ is in the air at Arkansas State University where eight of the top 12 teams ranked nationally are competing.
"It's pretty tough, pretty tough. They have some pretty good rules you have to go by and you can't get any upper hands on anybody. So it's a pretty ruthless competition," said competitor Eric Cooper of Platinum Porks.
Jonesboro's Platinum Porks believe they are ready for competition. The eight person team has spent the last 3.5 hours cooking shoulder and ribs and fighting the temper of Mother Nature.
"We do it for the back yard division just to have fun, but there's a lot of people out here that take this very serious and like I said, we're just here to have fun and enjoy the scenery," said Cooper.
One of the most serious competitors here...Natural Born Grillers. The group has been named the Memphis BBQ Association Team of the Year for two years straight.
"We do the same thing over and over again and the same product seems to come out and the judges seem to like it so we don't do anything different," said NBG's John Wheeler.
And a team that has been cooking for the last seven years may have it down to an art.
"We've got a dry rub we call million dollar rub and it costs about that much to put it together," laughed Wheeler, "That's our seasoning that we start off with, we also have our own sauces that we finish up with. Just been doing it a long time, roast it slow and make it good."
Live music is also going to fill the air at ASU.
Friday night at 7:00 The Brewers take the stage, and will be followed by Grant Garland at 8:30.