Alabama calls Memphis “second-best”

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The heat was on as Alabama challenged Memphis for the title of best barbecue in the south.

Even though Memphis holds the world championship barbecue contest, the Alabama Tourism Department started a campaign that claimed Memphis was the second-best.

Pit masters and restaurant owners said it was all friendly competition, but they were not about to let people from Alabama, or anywhere else for that matter, tell them Memphis was anything but the barbecue champ.

A sign on Beale Street claimed Memphis the home of the second-best barbecue in the south.

"Ain't a chance," Benji Williams with Memphis competition team Porkosaurus said. "Where are you at? You're at the world Superbowl of swine. It ain't in Alabama. It's in Memphis."

Another sign declared war on Memphis, complete with barbecue sauce war paint.

"I think we've heard the phrase, 'Poke the bear,' and you might say that's what we're doing a little bit of," Bill Dinan with the Alabama Tourism Department said of the campaign.

An Alabama team won four of the last seven BBQ Fest competitions in Memphis.

The state's tourism department said it was all in an effort to bring more people into the state and boost business.

Memphis was the first of several stops for their Masters of Alabama Barbecue campaign.

"We are taking Alabama's barbecue story to some of the most respected barbecue destinations in the country, and we couldn't think of a better place to start that campaign than in Memphis, Tennessee," Dinan said.

Some here in Memphis said getting grilled by Alabama grillers was funny.

"I think it's friendly. It's all good. It's all about good barbecue and good southern states,' CEO of Tin Roof Bob Franklin said.

However, make no mistake, they said when it comes to pork, Memphis was not prince, it's king.

"When you've had the rest, come to Memphis and have the best," Williams boasted.

"Speak softly and carry a big stick. Or a big barbecue pit," Franklin added with a laugh.

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