D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - The aroma of smoked meats filled the air Saturday afternoon as the 11th annual BBQ Chicken, Ribs & Brisket cook-off kicked off in D'Iberville.
Dozens of vendors, most of them local, started cooking early Saturday morning to make sure their meat was good enough to win the $5,000 grand prize.
"It's just enjoyable. You get to feed the people and the people seem to enjoy it. It's a challenge," said Woolmarket resident Rhonda Cook.
The competition is divided into professionals and nonprofessionals; also known as "backyarders." Cook and her family participate for fun.
"It's just a love of smoking and barbecuing," Cook said. "The professionals, of course, run the circuits. They do this more frequently and they have different equipment - more expensive equipment."
Those professionals spend thousands of dollars on custom smokers and grills. But if you ask the non-professionals, they'll say the fancy smokers aren't necessary.
"Backyarders just do it with what they have," said Cook. "A lot of times we're better, if not the best."
Many of the same cooks will be at the Grillin' on the Green BBQ contest in Biloxi on March 11.