June 25, 2008

Big Bob Gibson’s Battling Memphis Barbecue on ‘Today’

By Paul Huggins, The Decatur Daily, Ala.

Jun. 25--Chris Lilly of Decatur will test his secret recipe for barbecue chicken in white sauce in a live competition of NBC's "Today" show on Thursday morning.

The pit master for Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Q will compete against Neely's Barbecue from Memphis as part of a three-day series pitting the best against the best within barbecue regions.

The two Carolinas competed Monday, while Texas and Kansas went head-to-head Tuesday.

"It is indeed an honor for the 'Today' show to consider Alabama as one of the six major barbecue regions in America and even more of an honor for Big Bob Gibson's to be selected as the representative for the state," Lilly said.

Third appearance

This is the third time Lilly has cooked for "Today" outside the Rockefeller Center studio in New York City. The previous two appearances were demonstrations.

Lilly's appearance on "Today" may be viewed on WAFF-48. The segments have been airing between 9:30 and 10 a.m.

There will be three judges: Natalie Morales of the "Today" news staff and two chefs from two New York City barbecue restaurants.

Lilly has found his culinary skills in demand by New York this year.

In early June he was one of the top pit masters in the country invited to cook in the sixth annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party.

Held in Madison Square Park, the weekend-long event drew more than 100,000 people.

Culinary ideals

The entire Big Bob Gibson family will return to New York in mid-July to participate in the James Beard Foundation's Alabama 'Cue Dinner.

The team effort will include Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q owners Don and Carolyn McLemore, and Chris and Amy Lilly.

The Beard Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, was founded in 1986 by Julia Child and the late Peter Kump to keep alive the culinary philosophies, ideals and practices that earned Beard his reputation as "the dean of American cooking."


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