Curious to taste the single bite that won barbecue legend Melissa Cookston $5,000 in the “One Bite Challenge” at the recent Kingsford Invitational Barbecue Competition? The pitmaster behind Yazoo’s Delta Q competition team and Memphis Barbecue Co., Cookston is the only female grand barbecue champion in the world (having won the Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest in 2012) and is a familiar face on TLC’s “BBQ Pitmasters.” So, it’s no surprise that she beat out a group of men at Kingsford’s first annual competition, held in Belle, Missouri.
She and her team channeled their Memphis roots to create a unique twist on a regional specialty in just one hour using five ingredients or less. The Queen of Q’s recipe for Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Shrimp uses succulent Gulf shrimp, jalapeno and cream cheese in the ultimate spicy-sweet combination, especially when grilled to perfection.
Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Shrimp
20 Gulf shrimp
20 slices pepper-cured bacon
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1 jar whole, pickled jalapenos
Thai sweet chili sauce
Preheat a grill to medium-high heat using Kingsford charcoal. While grill preheats, peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails on. Cook bacon directly on the grill grate until it is close to being fully cooked, but is not crispy. Set aside. Slice cream cheese into 1/4 x 1/4 x 1/2-inch long slices. Select pickled jalapenos that are roughly the same dimensions as the cream cheese. Remove stems and seeds. Place one strip of cream cheese and one jalapeno piece on each shrimp, then wrap with a slice of grilled bacon. Secure with a toothpick, then place the shrimp with tails on the cool side of the grill so they won’t burn. Cook for 2-3 minutes until bacon is crispy and the shrimp is pink throughout. Remove from fire, brush liberally with Thai sweet chili sauce and serve.