The competition is sanctioned by the Memphis Barbecue Network and sponsored by the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce.
The championship has three divisions: pro, challenger, and patio.
Elise Jenkins, chair of the competition, explained the major differences between the teams.
"The Patio Porker division is designed for the 'backyard' cook who has a competitive spirit," explained Jenkins. "It does not require any on-site presentation. The Challenger Division is designed for teams who have some competition experience and are looking to move up into the Pro Division... The Pro Division is for the most experienced team who has been competing for a while."
Depending on skill level, the teams will be judged using blind judging, on-site judging, or both.
"Blind judging means that the meat samples are in containers that are coded so that the judges cannot identify the team," explained Jenkins. "On-site judging requires the judge to go to the cooking site and listen to the chief cook's presentation of how they prepared the meat."
Jenkins also noted that surprisingly the food is not judged based solely on taste but there are other factors that must go into account when evaluating a team.
"Blind judging involves judging the samples on appearance, tenderness, and flavor," said Jenkins. "On-site judging includes all three of these criteria, in addition to judging the area for cleanliness and presentation."
Prizes include cash, plaques, and trophies. The challenger grand champion and the MBN grand champion will be guaranteed an invitation to the MBN championship in 2014.
The MBN champion will also be invited to the 2013 World Food Championship, which will be held on Nov. 7-10 in Las Vegas, Nev.