Mark Copeland and Billy Perry of Colerain worked all year to perfect their charcoal cooking technique to take home the first-place trophy in the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship. The team, known to most at the Pocosin Boys, are the first to win the state championship with charcoal in recent memory. It is much easier to accomplish the crispy skin and uniform color that judges are looking for when using propane. But the Pocosin Boys won the crispy skin category as well. In all, the pair took home $2,500 for their efforts.
Reigning state champion Chris Fineran of Longs, SC, took home second in the overall competition and third in the crispy skin category, earning him $1,200.
Matt Jones of Greenville took home third place in the whole hog culinary category and second in the crispy skin category, earning him $800.
In the blind taste category, Travis Stafford of Mount Olive took first place and $1,000. Wesley Bowers of Washington won second and $500, and Julie Woolard of Bath won third place and $300.
Brian Robinson of Rocky Mount won first place and $500 in the People’s Choice category. Wesley Bowers of Washington won second place and $300. Kenneth Clark of Raleigh won $100 for third place in the people’s choice category.
In the Sauce category, David Grandy of Beaufort won $500. Randall White of Bunn won $300 for second place and Kevin Peterson of Benson won $100 for third place.
The Whole Hog Barbecue Series, sanctioned by the NC Pork Council, celebrates the history and artistry of whole hog cooking, supports communities and nonprofits. The championship was held at the Lenoir County Livestock Arena and the pork from the 28 hogs was donated to Mary’s Kitchen in downtown Kinston, which offers a daily feeding program to anyone who attends.