Update Mon Sept 30th 2013: Former state lawmaker Arthur Williams and his Trade Mart Cookers team took home the championship trophy.
The North Carolina Pork Council is producing their big Whole Hog Barbecue State Championship in Raleigh this weekend. Over the course of 2013 there has been a multitude of barbecue cook-offs held across the Tarheel state with the goal of producing 30 teams of sufficient quality to crown a state champion.
Barbecue is taken extremely seriously in North Carolina; no they do not cook a lot of beef which eliminates them from being considered true barbecue by many Texans, but even a brief tour of the state’s pork parlors shows some high skill levels by the region’s pit bosses.
The North Carolina Whole Hog Barbecue State Championship is part of the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival, a monster of a string band party held in and around the Red Hat Amphitheater in downtown Raleigh.
Imagine an enormous parcel of downtown Austin being razed for the construction of an amphitheater and you’ll get an idea of how big this facility is. The city fathers of Raleigh must have had some serious eminent domain power to plop an amphitheater down right in the middle of the city.
I wish I could be sitting under the North Carolina stars with a plate of chopped hog meat, a cold beer and Tony Rice commanding the stage while the sweet smell of burning hickory wafts over the crowd.
That’s good living.