Gutting It Out 

Let's hear it for the chitlin', the humble scrap of pig offal that's being celebrated on Saturday, August 9th, with a cook-off on Beale Street in W.C. Handy Park during this weekend's Jus' Blues events. All afternoon, Dr. BBQ will give away pig-tail samples, while crack teams of grillers, boilers, steamers, and fryers will try to impress a panel of judges with their best chitlin' dishes.

Oh sure, when you're cooking off a freshly cleaned batch of chitlin's, they reek like the nasty little poop tubes they are. And woe unto the poor chef who doesn't scrub his pig parts squeaky clean, for he will fight with his family over limited bathroom space for days to come. Chitlin' dishes are a stinky holdover from harder, more odoriferous times, when slaves were given only the nastiest pig parts to consume. And yet, in spite of so much obvious ickiness and for consuming a load of mostly digested pig food, chitlin's continue to be a beloved staple of American soul food. Oh well. Without the fetid intestines, we couldn't make delicious and delicate Cajun-style andouille sausage. And without andouille sausage, Memphis' springtime gumbo cook-offs wouldn't be worth the effort. So one more time: Let's hear it for the chitlin'.

The Big Chitlin' Cook-Off and Blues Fest, Saturday, August 9th, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at W.C. Handy Park on beale street

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