RALEIGH, N.C. — Pork barbecue aficionados will be able to savor all the regional styles of the succulent meat during the North Carolina Barbecue Experience being introduced during the upcoming Wide Open Bluegrass festival in downtown Raleigh.
Organized by the North Carolina Pork Council (NCPC), the N.C. Barbecue Experience comprises three events, including ticketed events on the evenings of October 3 and 4 and the barbecue sandwich sales at the conclusion of the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship at lunchtime on October 4.
Deborah Johnson, NCPC chief executive officer, explained, “We thought it was time to bring all of the state’s barbecue cooking styles together, from the distinct sauces of the east and west, chopped and pulled, pork shoulders to whole hogs. The Barbecue Experience gives diners a chance to experience N.C.’s entire rich barbecue tradition, all in one weekend.”
The Barbecue Experience opens on Friday night (Oct. 3) from 5 to 9 p.m. when Matthew Register of Southern Smoke BBQ will serve plates with smoked barbecue and sides. Following in family cooking footsteps, Register smokes his pork low and slow over oak wood. The pork for the event will be provided by Friday night’s sponsor, Heritage Farms.
At this ticketed dinner, Chef Vivian Howard of Kinston’s widely-acclaimed Chef and the Farmer restaurant and the star of PBS’s “A Chef’s Life” series will be on hand to interact with diners and talk about her experiences with North Carolina’s favorite food.
Following on October 4 is the public’s chance to eat barbecue produced by the state’s leading whole hog cooking teams. After the judging of the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship, all of the award-winning barbecue will be collected, chopped and sold for lunch, with proceeds benefitting the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.
The NCPC sponsors and sanctions the championship hog cook-off, oversees team qualification and selects and certifies judges. Headquartered in Raleigh, the NCPC supports and represents the state’s pork-production industry.
Come Saturday night (Oct. 4) from 5 to 9, Eastern-style barbecue meets Western-style barbecue as the N.C. Barbecue Experience continues. At this ticketed dinner, diners can enjoy some of the best of both barbecue worlds from two of the state’s leading restaurants: Stamey’s of Greensboro and White Swan of Smithfield.
Chefs Chip Stamey and Linwood Parker of White Swan will serve their versions of pit-cooked barbecue and their distinct coleslaws, as well as additional sides and desserts.
Tickets are on sale in advance of these special ticketed events for $15 each. There are only 500 tickets available for each event and sellouts are expected. All of the N.C. Barbecue Experience events will be held at the corner of Cabarrus and Gale streets, surrounded by some of the world’s best bluegrass music.
Wide Open Bluegrass will bring scores of the nation’s leading bluegrass acts to perform in downtown Raleigh at the Convention Center, the Red Hat Amphitheater and on various stages scattered throughout downtown. It is a production of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) in its second year in Raleigh.
The cooking championship and the North Carolina Barbecue Experience are supported by a brand-new website (wholehogbarbecue.com). The NCPC calls the new website the “definitive resource for anything and everything there is to know about cooking and eating whole hog barbecue.”
About the N.C. Pork Council (www.ncpork.org)
The North Carolina Pork Council (NCPC) is the statewide organization chartered in 1962 to support producers and allied industry partners within the North Carolina pork industry. Today, the pork industry in the state includes more than 2,300 farms, about 46,000 full-time jobs and adds $9 billion to North Carolina’s economy. The NCPC also sponsors The Food Effect (www.thefoodeffect.com), a statewide partnership with North Carolina’s seven Feeding America Food Banks designed to raise awareness, money and volunteer hours in the fight against childhood hunger.
About Wide Open Bluegrass (www.wideopenbluegrass.com)
Wide Open Bluegrass, October 3-4 includes both the free Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest and ticketed performances at Red Hat Amphitheater and Raleigh Convention Center Ballroom Stages. Those wishing to obtain tickets for the ticketed portion of the Wide Open Bluegrass festival and hotel reservations should go to IBMA’s website,www.ibma.org. Single day general admission for the ticketed portion of the Wide Open Bluegrass festival starts as low as $50. Additional details and pricing information are available at the website.