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Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room

Melissa Cookston, the winningest woman in BBQ, shares her secret

in Nonfiction by

“Traditionally,” writes Melissa Cookston, “the home kitchen has been women’s domain, while the grill has been male territory. Maybe it’s the caveman effect—big pieces of meat and fire bringing out the chest thumping.” Millions of years of evolution, however, haven’t stopped Cookston from being among the best at what she does—calling upon her Mississippi Delta roots to create mouth-watering morsels at the grill and smoker, a practice dominated by men. In fact, Cookston is the winningest woman in the  barbecue contest circuit, having capped off her career with a 2012 Grand Prize at the Kingsford Invitational, a contest of champions at which she also won first place in four out of five categories. It’s that background that has led to…

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