How It Works

The Pitmaster of the Year title is awarded to the chief cook who accumulates the most points during the Whole Hog Barbecue season. Points are awarded to cooks for participating in and winning sanctioned N.C. Pork Council competitions.

Whole hog barbecue cooks earn 100 points for every competition they participate in, and even more points for finishing in the top three. Points awarded for top finishes increase based on the size and importance of the competition.

Contests with fewer than 20 entries:

1st Place 300 Points
2nd Place 200 Points
3rd Place 100 Points

Contests with 20-34 entries:

1st Place 400 Points
2nd Place 300 Points
3rd Place 200 Points

Contests with 35 or more entries:

1st Place 500 Points
2nd Place 400 Points
3rd Place 300 Points

Whole Hog Barbecue Championship:

1st Place 600 Points
2nd Place 500 Points
3rd Place 400 Points

The chief cook with the largest number of points at the end of the year is named Pitmaster of the Year. The award is presented at the first cookoff of the following year, the Newport Pig Cookin’ Contest.

If you have questions about the Pitmaster of the Year award, please email

Former Pitmasters

2017: Chris Fineran

2016: Chris Fineran

2015: Charlie Meeks