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Today we continue the countdown of the Most Influential People in BBQ with the 23rd most influential person in BBQ. Coming in as the 23rd Most Influential Person in BBQ is Memphis Barbecue Company Owner and Pitmaster of Yazoo’s Delta Q, Melissa Cookston. 

Melissa Cookston & Trophies

When it comes to cooking whole hog, there is no better whole hog cook on planet Earth than Melissa Cookston. Cookston and her Yazoo’s Delta Q team won the Memphis in May Whole Hog Championship in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and is the only female that can lay claim to being a Memphis in May World BBQ Champion, winning the title in 2010 and 2012. In 2012, Cookston & Yzoo’s Delta Q won the inaugural Kingsford Invitational

Memphis BBQ Co Pig

In 2011 Cookston joined forces with John Wheeler of Natural Born Grillers and opened Memphis Barbecue Company in Horn Lake, MS. Memphis Barbecue Company is the only restaurant in America operated by two Memphis in May World Champion Pitmasters. From firsthand experience we can confirm that the food coming out of Memphis Barbecue Company is top notch, especially the ribs!

In recent years Cookston & competition partner and husband, Pete Cookston, have cut back on the number of contests they are cooking because increased demands are pulling them in so many directions with the opening of restaurants, writing a cookbook and an increased presence on TV. In 2013 Cookston served as one of the rotating judges on BBQ Pitmasters. Rumor has it that in 2014 she’ll shed the duties of rotating judge and join Myron Mixon and Tuffy Stone as the third permanent judge on the show.

Cookston continues to climb the charts as one of the most influential people in the world of BBQ from multiple angles.  As one of BBQ’s most influential women her influence on the growing number of females participating in the world of competition barbecue and firing up grills in America’s backyards can’t be underestimated. But her influence goes well beyond being one of the most influential women in BBQ. She has been as successful as anyone participating in Memphis style contests in the history of the sport, is proving to be a force in the world of BBQ restaurants and continues to grow here presence and influence in the expanding world of barbecue on television.

Check out Cookston’s recent interview with Bon Appetite Magazine for some great insight on her thoughts on barbecue.

On December 10th we’ll unveil the 22rd Most Influential Person in BBQ. We’ll unveil a new member of our Most Influential Person in BBQ List each day through the end of the year and we’ll crown The Most Influential Person in BBQ on Tuesday, December 31st.

To date we’ve announced the 24th and 25th Most Influential People in BBQ.

24th – Adam Perry Lang, Daisy May’s BBQ, Barbecoa & Cookbook Author

25th – Ronnie Cates, Smoke on the Water Productions

Will you make the list? Will someone you find deserving fall short of the top 25? Will you disagree with someone listed in the top 25? Check the Pork Barrel BBQ Blog daily now through December 31 and contribute to the discussion by adding comments to each days post!

Who is the most Influential Person in BBQ? Find out on December 31, 2013 when we reveal the Most Influential Person in BBQ.