What happens when you bring seafood to a barbecue fight? If you’re coming from Charleston, you go home a winner.
Eric Milley, chef-owner of The Shellmore, this past weekend again joined fellow alums of New York City restaurant kitchens to compete at Memphis in May. The Ribdiculous Bar-B-Krewe has competed in 10 consecutive editions of the smoked meat extravaganza, but had never before placed first in a category. That changed after the team submitted its crab cakes and crab legs for judging.
The Ribdiculous Bar-B-Krewe bested 117 other teams in the seafood division of the “Anything But” categories, nosing out six of the runners-up by a score of 483 to 482.97.
“Who knows?” Milley says when asked to explain the team’s success. “I mean, there are so many judges in that tent.”
In previous years, Milley has traveled to Memphis just to hang out with his friends, but this year was tasked with driving and shopping for ingredients at Costco. “I guess you could say I selected the crab legs,” he says.
Team leader Shane McBride created “a really awesome garlic butter” for the crab legs, which were set in the smoker to warm, along with crab cakes made according to a recipe that McBride practiced before leaving New York. The crab cakes were served with aioli.
For their win, Milley and his team members were brought on stage to collect the trophy proclaiming them World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest World Champions.
Milley says anyone offered the chance to cook with a Memphis in May team should grab it.
“It’s a big, exciting, hot sweaty experience,” he says.
Tank Jackson of Holy City Hogs on Wadmalaw Island also made the trip to Memphis. His cook team, led by pitmaster Casey Bringle of Nashville's Peg Leg Porker, parlayed one of Jackson's hogs into a seventh place finish in the whole hog category. It was one of two Holy City Hogs smoked for the event; the other team finished in 11th place.