If you like the the bluegrass in Raleigh, chances are you’ll love the barbecue.
The 32nd annual North Carolina Whole Hog Championship is this weekend as part of the free Wide Open Bluegrass street festival going on in downtown Raleigh.
This is the state championship of barbecue in North Carolina and is organized by the N.C. Pork Council. Around 30 teams will vie for the title, each having qualified based on their finish in one of 20 or so competitions throughout the year.
Teams will get their hogs Friday night, and as the banjos and fiddles quiet down for the evening, the pitmasters will continue to cook through the night until the 8:30 a.m. judging. Those at the festival Friday night can stop by the Memorial Auditorium courtyard from 7 to 9 p.m. to meet the teams and see them start their cookers.
Judges will blind taste the barbecue and announce the winners Saturday afternoon.
A sauce competition has been added this year, and both Western and Eastern Carolina styles are welcome. Judges for the sauce competition include food writer Fred Thompson, Robert Moss of Southern Living and chef Jason Smith of 18 Seaboard.
Once the barbecue is judged, the meat from all of the hogs will be shredded and chopped and combined for sandwiches. Volunteers for the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle will sell the sandwiches as part of their annual fundraiser. Sandwiches go on sale at 11 a.m. at the Raleigh Convention Center near the Cabarrus Street facade.
Chris Fineran, Whole Hog Championship winner and North Carolina Pitmaster of the year, will make a sauce for the championship barbecue.
Drew Jackson; 919-829-4707; @jdrewjackson
The Whole Hog Barbecue Championship is this weekend. Go to wideopenbluegrass.com for details.
Sept. 29: Visit the pitmasters from 7 to 9 p.m. in the courtyard for the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St.
Sept. 30: Winners will be announced Saturday afternoon. Sandwich sales are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Raleigh Convention Center near the Cabarrus Street facade.