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Southaven Digs In With BBQ Champ Melissa Cookston

A BBQ nirvana has opened in Southaven, and Melissa Cookston, a seven-time World Barbecue Champion and female pitmaster trailblazer, has slathered her winning touch all over it.

“I know that there are a lot of BBQ and grilling enthusiasts in the south,” Cookston said. “I wanted to create an amazing store for them.”

The BBQ Allstars in the Southaven Commons at 875 Goodman Road is a brand new 12,000 square foot barbecue and leisure superstore.

Cookston said it’s not only a place for barbecue enthusiasts but also a place that has a little something for everyone. Especially since May is National BBQ Month and backyard grills are being fired up across the state.

The store features sauces, oils, rubs, seasonings, grills, smokers and just everything you’ll need, she said.

As a Mississippi Delta native, Cookston understands pit bosses are earnest when it comes to their craft and wanted to create a serious place for them to hone their skills with state-of-the-art supplies and classes to perfect their techniques. The classes are offered twice a week by different barbecue personalities as well as local chefs.

But there’s more.

Cookston founded the BBQ Allstars during the global pandemic to help sell products for some of her friends in the BBQ business.

“We’re talking BBQ heavyweights such as Tuffy Stone, Malcolm Mixon, Heath Riles, Malcom Reed, and Amy and Mike Mills,” she said. “The real bad-asses of BBQ. The people who were out there kicking pork butt before the internet, before double-wall insulated cookers, the people who taught everyone else what the epitome of BBQ was and is.”

The store is also home to the World Junior BBQ League Headquarters, a non-profit that Cookston founded to help young culinary enthusiasts learn cooking skills.

“In short, it’s a dream store,” she said.

Cookston is not only an award-winning BBQ chef and entrepreneur. She also owns the Memphis BBQ Company, a barbecue restaurant with locations in Horn Lake and Dunwoody, Ga, and has penned two cookbooks, “Smokin in the Boy’s Room” and “Smokin’ Hot in the South.”

She invites culinary artists of all skill levels to try their hand at her Smoked Chipotle Beef Spare Ribs:

Ingredients

  • 2 slabs of beef spare ribs
  • 2 TBS of your favorite BBQ rub plus 1 tsp of chipotle powder
  • 3 ounces of can chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • butcher paper
  • Prepare smoker to run at 250 degrees with wood for smoking.

Instructions

  • Remove membranes from the back of ribs and set them in a pan. Season all sides thoroughly with BBQ rub, then cover the pan lightly and allow it to sit for 30 minutes before placing it on the smoker.
  • Place ribs on the smoker and allow to cook for two hours. Puree chipotle peppers with beef stock to form a thin paste.
  • Remove ribs from the smoker. Tear two sheets of butcher paper about four times the length of one rib. Place the rib on the butcher paper, meat side up. Brush with the chipotle mixture, then wrap in paper, folding in the sides.
  • Place back on the smoker with a meat thermometer and continue to cook for about two more hours, or until a 205 degrees internal temperature is reached. Check for tenderness. If tender, remove from smoker and rest for 30 minutes while still in the butcher paper.
  • Mix the remaining chipotle mixture with BBQ sauce. Unwrap ribs, and coat with sauce.

These Smoked Chipotle Beef Spare Ribs are easy to smoke and are uber flavorful so you can get your grill fired up and celebrate National BBQ Month like a champion pit boss!

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