Bluegrass Raleigh

Bluegrass and barbecue: The perfect combination

Judges check the skin on a barbecued hog during the N.C. whole hog barbecue championship in 2013.
Judges check the skin on a barbecued hog during the N.C. whole hog barbecue championship in 2013. jhknight@newsobserver.com

Bluegrass fans who love barbecue can partake during the Wide Open Bluegrass festival in downtown Raleigh.

The N.C. Pork Council’s whole hog barbecue championship will be Friday and Saturday. The 25 to 30 teams, who qualified by winning or placing in previous contests, will be showcasing their hog-cooking expertise. More than $6,000 in prize money is up for grabs.

The public can visit the parking lots at the corner of Fayetteville and Lenoir streets to see the barbecue competitors’ set-ups. Teams will start cooking their hogs Friday night and have their barbecue judged Saturday morning. Beyond the barbecue judging, their teams’ set-ups are judged at 6 p.m. Friday night for showmanship, or how well they are decorated.

It is worth a visit; several teams have had bluegrass bands perform.

Barbecue blind taste judging will happen at 8:30 a.m. Winners will be announced around noon.

The competitors’ barbecue will be for sale starting at 11 a.m. Saturday on Cabarrus Street by the Raleigh Convention Center. Graduates, staff and volunteers from the Raleigh Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s culinary job training program will serve and sell the food. A sandwich costs $5. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit’s hunger-relief efforts.

There also will be two special dinners over the weekend:

▪ From 5-9 p.m. Friday, chef Matthew Register of Southern Smoke BBQ in Garland.

▪ From 5-9 p.m. Saturday, Tyson Ho of Arrogant Swine in Brooklyn.

Tickets for each dinner cost $15. The dinners will be on Cabarrus Street, between Salisbury and McDowell street.

Tickets can be purchased online: wholehogbarbecue.com.

Andrea Weigl: 919-829-4848, @andreaweigl

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