Cliff my family and I went last year. You're more likely to get to sample the food on Friday night when they have the people's choice awards. Saturday the day of the finals are strictly private parties but last year I introduced myself to Terry Black, the head cook of Supersmokers out of St. Louis and told him how much I enjoyed a BBQ video he had made. He invited the family to the party where we were able to sample the pork shoulder he had entered. It was great finished in the top 10. Try to find a team from your home state stop by their booth and introduce yourself and I'm sure you'll get a sample.
Half the fun is walking around and looking at all the incredible effort put into the competitors booths. I've heard it is not uncommon for these guys to drop $40-50K at the event. It's very heavily corporate sponsored. On top of the blind judging of the entries each team has to be interview by up to three judges about their BBQ. They put on quite a show.
Be sure to come dressed for rain and I mean heavy, heavy rain. Tornadoes are a definite possibility this time of year. It's not unusual for the contest to be referred to as Memphis in Mud!
Have a great time and try to sample the great BBQ in Memphis. Corky's, Rendevous (dry ribs, grilled not Q'd), Neeley's Interstate are just a few come to mind.
There will also be pit manufacturers down there. Dave Klose will be there with his $150,000 pit this year. There will also be BBQ cooking classes. Last year I caught a couple of shows from Dr. BBQ and John Willingham. Everyone gets to sample the Q at the cooking shows and it will give you a chance to talk directly and ask questions to some of the best celebrity barbecuers in the country.
Take plenty of pictures and post them when you get back!