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Melissa Cookston creates custom hybrid hog in quest for Third Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest Championship

'Winningest woman in barbecue' introduces secret weapon

Memphis, May 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Melissa Cookston, the “Winningest Woman in Barbecue,” has created and will cook a custom-bred hybrid hog this week as she attempts to claim her third grand championship at the prestigious Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. 

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Melissa Cookston is pictured with a hog on pasture outside Memphis, Tennessee. Cookston, the "Winningest Woman in Barbecue," has bred a hybrid hog to compete in this year's Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.


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Two of the hogs from Melissa Cookston's hybrid hog breeding program are pictured at a farm outside Memphis, Tennessee. Cookston, the "Winningest Woman in Barbecue," has bred a hybrid hog to compete in this year's Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.


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The breeding program, believed to be unprecedented in the 40-year history of Memphis in May, aims to produce hogs with optimal levels of protein, fat, texture, and flavor to complement Melissa’s preferred hog-cooking style in order to produce a better product.

“These are some pampered pigs,” Cookston says. “You have no idea how spoiled they are. These are happy hogs, and I’m a firm believer that happy hogs taste better.”

To produce these “Utopian” hogs, Cookston and farmer Ben Dennie bred a 600-pound Berkshire sow named Harriet with a boar of an undisclosed breed renowned for its fat content. The competition animal is one of about a dozen offspring of its size – about 200 pounds – and there are 13 piglets about two weeks old.

Photos and videos of Melissa Cookston on the hog farm: 
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xn2ug601s2y4ta7/AAAqyZ63urUDhv0QNV9KuAlta?dl=0

Cookston and Dennie not only control the genes of the custom hybrid hogs, but they control the diet as well. While the diet is a closely held secret, one of the hog’s favorite treats are giant marshmallows.

Cookston and her barbecue team, Yazoo’s Delta Q, took home the Memphis in May grand championship in 2010 and 2012 and won the Whole Hog division in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. She is also the owner of Memphis BBQ Company with locations in Horn Lake, Mississippi; Dunwoody, Georgia; and Fayetteville, North Carolina; and STEAK by Melissa in Southaven, Mississippi. She has written two cookbooks and has appeared on TV shows including “Today,” “BBQ Pitmasters” and “Chopped.” 

“When I started getting serious about competition barbecue, I wanted to be the best,” Cookston says. “Cooking whole hogs is the hardest category to cook and win in, so, of course, I started cooking whole hogs. Even with this custom breed, the whole hog category is still going to be a challenge. I get nervous every time I think about competing!”
 
Melissa Cookston Online:
http://melissacookston.com/blog/
https://www.facebook.com/MelissaCookstonCooks  
www.twitter.com/melissacookston 
www.instagram.com/melissa.cookston 
https://www.youtube.com/melissacookston

About Melissa Cookston:
Melissa Cookston was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta and is a trailblazing female food entrepreneur smoking the competition.

Cookston is a 7-time world barbecue champion; owner of restaurants Steak by Melissa, a successful steakhouse in Southaven, Mississippi, and Memphis BBQ Company, a successful barbecue restaurant with locations in Horn Lake, Mississippi, Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Dunwoody, Georgia; an author of two cookbooks, “Smokin in the Boy’s Room” and “Smokin’ Hot in the South;” and a celebrated southern Delta chef who is sponsored by Smithfield Foods.

Recognized nationally from many appearances on national news and talks shows as well as cooking shows and Food Network, Cookston served as a judge on season 4 of Destination America’s “BBQ Pitmasters,” and was named one of America’s most influential BBQ Pitmasters and personalities by Fox News in 2015. Cookston is sponsored by Smithfield and is a frequent contributor to Smithfield communications and marketing efforts.

Attachments:

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/9319df69-e0b9-4349-950d-788b08e1a261

Attachments:

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/0994db2e-5baf-4cc2-bf1d-f99ab66d41c7

Attachments:

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/46cec66a-aca8-4a70-965a-3d7939604d29

Mark Richens
Melissa Cookston
901.229.1315
mark@mmgmemphis.com