Rob Stukenborg and Addison Forsdick aren’t quite sure when the idea of having a barbecue for 48 hours straight occurred to them, but they think it had something to do with the May Memphis world championships barbecue cooking contest.
And they did not sit well at all that the current Guinness World Record for the longest team barbecue marathon (40 hours and 53 minutes) is held in Italy. So Friday at 8 a.m., they went on a mission with friends to pull that record out of the water and grill straight through until 8 a.m. Sunday.
“It seemed like the easiest world record to hit,” Stukenborg said. “It’s not that it’s easy.”
“It’s not easy,” said Forsdick, who at the time was at the 27th hour behind the smoker. He and his barbecue partner Robert Hammons are unable to deliver the grill tongs or the record attempt is null and void.
“It’s definitely not easy, now that we’ve been in for 27 hours,” Stukenborg said.
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While they didn’t make it to the full 48 hours, the team made it to 42 hours, breaking the record by just two hours. Stukenborg said the rain and cold took a toll on the team, but still described the experience as incredible.
As of 11 a.m. Saturday, the two estimated that about 100 people had stopped in their backyard in East Memphis for a bite to eat. They are giving away all the food and the leftovers will be donated. Forsdick, who is a second chef, said most of those people had been family or friends, but some strangers had passed by as well, some as late as Friday night.
While he didn’t have an exact number, Forsdick estimated that they were cooking well over 200 pounds of food. That includes fan-favorite duck, starting Saturday morning, hot dog, burgers, pulled pork, ribs, chicken, pork tenderloin, hot dogs, pork belly, salmon, and even smoked cheeses.
The attempt was made possible in part thanks to sponsors. Johnsonville, Busters Liquors, Delta Ridge Sauces and Seasoning, Galler Foods and Maple Leaf Farms contributed. But Stukenborg and Forsdick also credited family and friends for helping them get through the first 24 hours.
Stukenborg’s mom was helping prepare food in the garage, and Forsdick’s dad stayed with the barbecue equipment until after 1 a.m. Saturday and returned just four hours later. On Saturday morning, when a persistent drizzle falls, friends help set up a makeshift canopy to keep smokers dry.
“We didn’t know when we could do this, but it worked,” Stukenborg said. “A lot of these guys couldn’t be here if it wasn’t the week before Christmas.”
Their friends who are in a band, appropriately called Smokestack, were scheduled to play Saturday afternoon to liven things up and coffee and beer helped too.
“You can’t tell what time it is. There are people with coffee and people with beer. We are cooking duck and there are donuts, ”said Stukenborg.
If all goes according to plan on Saturday night and Sunday morning, Memphians could have a new entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Corinne S. Kennedy covers economic development, healthcare, and soccer for Commercial Appeal. She can be contacted by email at Corinne.Kennedy@CommercialAppeal.com.