For the second year in a row, Chris Fineran of Myrtle Beach, S.C. took home the coveted Pitmaster of the Year title. He received the trophy at the Newport Pig Pickin’ Contest on April 7.
In 2017, Fineran participated in 15 out of 26 contests in the Whole Hog Barbecue Series. Of those, he placed in 12 contests and won seven of those.
Competing frequently is key to being in the running for the Pitmaster of the Year award. Cooks earn 100 points for every competition they participate in, and more points for finishing in the top three. Those points vary, depending on the size of the competition, with more points given for winning larger competitions.
Fineran got his start after his brother-in-law and assistant cook, Steve Sumner, asked him to cook a hog for the N.C. State spring football game tailgate competition. They finished last, but didn’t give up, even after two more last place finishes that first year. He mentored last year’s state champion, Kevin Peterson, who also got his start at the N.C. State spring football competition.
Charlie Meeks and Ernest Twisdale tied for second place in the Pitmaster standings.