Skip to content
Let’s Eat, Mississippi: South...

Let’s Eat, Mississippi: South Mississippi BBQ Boucherie

By: Courtney Ingle - March 21, 2024

  • BBQ competition season starts at this Tylertown festival.

There’s an intoxicating smell that comes with spring. Not the flowers. Not the fresh-cut grass. 

The barbecue. The smell of meat, smoked to tender perfection, falling off the bone, pulled and stacked on a brioche bun; the season is here. But for some, barbecue is more than fun; it is art and a competition. Combine that with small-town Mississippi, and you’ve got The South Mississippi Boucherie and Barbecue Festival in Tylertown. The all-day event will be held on Saturday, March 23rd, at the Tylertown Events Center.

Cindy Mord is the chairman this year, and she said the boucherie was Stephen Pigott’s brainchild during a meeting of community leaders. 

“And he said, let me tell you, about a boucherie—it was when a community would come together and smoke these hogs in the ground with the smokers made of blocks,” said Mord. “You put the pig in there and smoke it overnight and then all day. He said the community would come together; they would pull the meat, everybody got plates, and they took it home.”

Pigott competed in barbecue competitions himself, so when Tylertown’s leaders wanted to have a barbecue festival and competition, Pigott helped make it a competitive event. 

“We wanted it to be regal,” said Mord. “So we connected with the Memphis Barbecue Network, and they tell us this event is one of their premier events leading to Memphis in May.” 

Pigott died suddenly last year at the age of 38. 

“This is our fourth year doing the boucherie, and we want to do it right by Stephen,” said Mord. “We’re just brokenhearted.” 

This all-day festival boasts food trucks, music, vendors, and fun for the kids, but what makes this event stand out from any other hometown festival is the barbecue competition. 

Pros and patio cooks compete 

This Memphis Barbecue Network competition brings together pros from all over the country for a panel-judged barbecue contest. 

“This isn’t people’s choice,” said Mord. “When competing in an MBN event, no sampling is allowed. Everything is very controlled.” 

In addition to no sampling, there is no pre-cooking or pre-seasoning, and the meat must still be in packaging. It is then inspected before the cooks get the go-ahead to start preparing for their dishes to be judged. 

The more amateur barbecue masters compete in the “Patio” division, which allows them to follow the same rules and face the same judgment while also getting feedback on their barbecue. There’s also a cash prize incentive for the competition as well. 

But for the pros, the seasoned BBQ legends, there’s something even more valuable than money up for grabs. 

“There are cash prizes, but these guys care more about the points,” said Mord. “Because they need the points to qualify for the bigger competitions, like Memphis in May, and those larger competitions have $25,000 to $35,000 cash prizes.”

This is a community event, though, so there’s also a community aspect to the prizes. 

“We have the most beautiful, huge trophies,” said Mord. “And they’re made here in town. They’re made by the Vo-Tech kids at the school..” 

There’s also the Spirit of Stephen Pigott Award, which the peers and the Pigott family judge. Donations from the community fuel this cash prize.

“Right now, it is at $700, which may grow,” said Mord. “Half will go to the winner, and half will go to the local food pantry.” 

Mord said that any money raised is divided between various local organizations, such as the vocational-technical center and the local food pantry. 

Boucherie is an all-day celebration

Admission to the boucherie is free. 

The morning kicks off with the Tylertown Rotary Club’s Pancake Breakfast. Following that, there will be over thirty craft vendors, food trucks, games, play areas for the kids, a train, music, and more. Following the announcement of the barbecue competition’s winners, the band Rock Kandy will play from 6 pm to 9 pm. 

“You just come; it’s under the arena. You bring your lawn chair and sit out there. We have food vendors that will stay, and you can come and eat and just finish out the rest of the evening,” said Mord.

Visit the website for more information about the South MS Boucherie and BBQ Festival. 

About the Author(s)
author profile image

Courtney Ingle

Courtney Ingle is a veteran journalist with more than a decade's worth of experience in print, radio, and digital media. Courtney brings her talents to bear at Magnolia Tribune to cover family-centered education and to elevate those unique aspects of Mississippi culture.