Melissa Cookston Net Worth – Can You Smell The Money As Good As The Food?

Get ready for your mouth to water as we are going to take a look at the net worth and the personal life of one of the best BBQ chefs, period. Who is Melissa Cookston, and what is she cooking up lately?

Let’s take a look at what we know about her.

Melissa Cookston Net Worth

As of 2021, Melissa Cookston is said to have a net worth of around $20 million. Most of this income is through her businesses, including working on television shows. Her chain of restaurants (Memphis Barbecue Company) are very popular and have raked in a ton of profit over the years.

She has also stood first in the World Barbecue Championship, twice. It is worth noting that she is the only female barbecue world champion to do so. About half of her net worth is said to be on restaurant profits alone.

She also amassed significant profits due to her appearance in Netflix’s ‘American Barbecue Showdown’. 

Personal Life

Melissa Cookston was born on January 1, 1968, in Ruleville, Mississippi. As of 2022, she is 54 years old.

Cookston grew up in the Greenville, Mississippi area, and graduated from North Pontiac High School in 1986. Her love for cooking began when she visited her grandfather’s coffee shop. She used to smell barbecue and would often watch her family members cooking barbecue.

She lived near a barbeque restaurant growing up and always enjoyed the smell of it. Her love was soon solidified when her grandfather bought her a barbeque sandwich.

Professional Career

Cookston started her culinary career when she was 13 years old. She worked in food prep for a local restaurant. She began her specialty barbeque cooking in 1996, quickly solidifying herself as one of the best cooking talents.

Her soon-to-be husband would introduce her into the wonderful world of barbeque cooking competitions and an excellent barbecue team. She did not know of this beforehand.

She often credits her husband for her success as a barbeque chef. Her career took off in 2007 when she was beginning to gain more attention. Both she and her husband began planning to open a barbeque restaurant.

In 2011, the Cookstons opened up the first Memphis BBQ Company. Eventually, they expanded to a few states including Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina.

After the first Memphis Barbecue Company became a hit, they started their line of BBQ rubs and spices, which were all formulated by their specialty recipes. She opened Green Tomato Catering in 2019, a well-known catering lunch restaurant in Horn lake, MS.

Aside from their barbeque restaurants, Melissa opened up various other restaurants in the southern United States.  She also participated in various barbeque competitions, winning one grand championship in 2010.

Cookston served as a judge on ‘Destination America’s BBQ Pitmasters’

In 2017, Melissa was inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame. In 2020, she became one of the judges for American Barbeque Showdown, a cooking competition show on Netflix.

Melissa Cookston Dating History

Melissa Cookston husband: She married her current husband and business partner Pete Cookston in 1997. The pair have a daughter.

Melissa and Pete also went to Mesquite Chop House for a dinner party to celebrate their 13th anniversary. 


Barbeque seems to be Melissa Cookston’s life these days. It has been since she was a little girl. It’s what got her married. She is one of the most successful barbeque chefs in the world.

Her restaurants continue to grow in popularity. And she may very well be the undisputed queen of southern barbeque. What is her next move in the culinary world? Who knows! But until then, you might want to whet your appetite with some good ol’ fashioned barbeque after reading this. 

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