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Barbecue competitor hits TV with Memphis in May team

Neil Gallagher, a championship barbecue competitor from Grand Island, knows where he’ll be Sunday night: in front of a television tuned to the Travel Channel.

A television crew followed Gallagher’s barbecue team around last year at Memphis in May, the world’s largest pork barbecue contest. Gallagher and his teammates on Too Sauced to Pork know they did quite well in the contest, finishing among the top 10 in the 250-team field.

But how well will they do on television? When “Exposed: Cooking Competitions” rolls at 4 p.m., they’ll find out.

Gallagher, who traveled to Tennessee for his 22nd Memphis in May, led a 60-person team, including his wife Melissa. “We have leads for each of the categories, and assistants that help those leads,” Gallagher said. The categories are pork ribs, hot chicken wings, beef, poultry, exotic, seafood, and tomato, vinegar and mustard barbecue sauce. 

In 2012, out of over 250 of the best barbecue teams in the country we took home two top tens (2nd place tomato sauce, 8th vinegar sauce) and a 13th in exotic, a goat dish, and two other top 20 finishes. “Only six teams got five or more top twenties, a huge honor,” he said. 

The team comes from all over the US, he said.  “Seven of us that are the core of the team, four in Memphis,” he said. “We founded our team as a way for barbecue enthusiasts from all over to come together for their love of barbecue.  We allow people to join us and become members of the team for Memphis in May.  It gives them a chance to experience the contest from inside a team booth.”  In 2012 the team had members from 17 states and two other countries.

The team is accepting new members, he said. Contact Gallagher at


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