Melissa Cookstoon, Yazoo's delta q, kingsford Invitational

Melissa Cookston and the Yazoo’s Delta Q team win big this year at the Kingsford Invitational: they brough home the overall title plus the small bites contest for a total of $55k! You go girl (and guys!)!!


It’s been a busy couple of weeks ya’ll! I just got back from the Kingsford Invitational to watch the best in BBQ duke it out for $50k at the Kingsford Invitational in Belle, Missouri- right next to one of Kingsford’s own charcoal plants.

As this is the first year of the Kingsford Invitational, here’s a little primer on this competition of all competitions.

Patio Daddio BBQ, Nibble Me This, GrillGrrrl, Grill Girl, bbq bloggers

Me and my “BBQ BFFs”: Chris Grove ( and John Dawson (

The concept behind the Kingsford Invitational is to bring some unity to the somewhat disembodied world of competitive BBQ. While there are many different BBQ competitions out there, representing different areas, sanctioning bodies such as KCBS, etc, the Kingsford Invitational is the definitive “best of the best” BBQ competition because it pairs the winners of the most prestigious competitions from the US to compete against each other to crown one team the true “best in BBQ”.

The Kingsford Invitational invites winners from these prestigious BBQ competitions from around the Country.


  • Pork: Because many of the teams have a specialty, Kingsford gave them the option of turning in Whole Hog, shoulder or pork butt.
  • Chicken
  • Brisket
  • Ribs
  • Small Bites category: Each team had to turn in a recipe of their choice that only used 5 ingredients, cooked on a kettle grill over Kingsford Charcoal. This gave each team the opportunity to showcase something outside of the traditional 4 category low and slow.

Kingsford Judges: there are a lot of famous faces you will recognize such as Tuffy Stone, Chris Lilly, Harry Soo, Amy Tunicliffe, Brad Orrison and Meathead Goldwyn…

The small bites contest was on Friday night, November 9th and the 4 other major categories were turned in on November 10th. The winner of the small bites category wins $5k as well as an additional 1 point towards the final total score for the contest. (The additional 1 point can make or break a winner in a very close competition as is often the case in competition BBQ).

Small bites winner: Melissa Cookston and Yazoo’s delta Q

Chicken category winner: Lucky’s Q

Brisket winner: Melissa Cookston and Yazoo’s Delta Q

Ribs winner: Melissa Cookston and Yazoo’s Delta Q

Pork Winner: Melissa Cookston and Yazoo’s Delta Q (they turned in whole hog).

The “unofficial Kingsford Dog”: the Kingsford Invitational was held on a big farm across from the Kingsford Charcoal plant in rural Missouri. This dog really loved all the meat he was given during the competition and hung out during the after party. Lucky for my husband I couldn’t fit him in my suitcase!

After winning both the small bites contest and the overall “Kingsford invitational” title, Yazoos’s Delta Q cleaned house with total winnings of $55k!!! All I can say is “you go girl”!

As this was the first year of the Kingsford Invitational (which will be a recurring contest), I look forward to seeing how the contest progresses and changes over time. I know I had a blast seeing these pros in action!


Melissa- this bling looks good on you!


Next post: introducing Kingsford Smokehouse Briquets- add some smokiness to your grill!

Future Posts:

Kingsford Charcoal’s New “smoking briquets” – available in January

Yazoo’s Delta Q’s Small Bites Recipe- Bacon Wrapped Shrimp stuffed with jalapenos and cream cheese

Recap of Kingsford University including food trends and beer pairings