Top barbecue cooks to go head-to-head in state championship this weekend in Kinston

RALEIGH – Competition is heating up in Kinston this weekend where 28 of the best Whole Hog Barbecue cook teams will compete for a coveted state championship ring. The cooks have qualified to compete by winning a local North Carolina Pork Council-sanctioned competition. The championship was originally slated to take place last fall, but a tropical storm forced the postponement. The event takes place this weekend in conjunction with the Whole Hog Barbecue Summit.

Certified judges evaluate the finished pig following stringent rules based on overall appearance, color, skin crispness, taste and completeness of presentation. The pigs cannot be sauced or seasoned prior to judging. During the blind judging portion of the event, cooks will have the opportunity to present a finished product to a second panel of judges who will rate the meat on taste, tenderness and appearance. A small panel of non-certified judges have been selected to select the People’s Choice winners. A sauce award and a crispy skin award will also be presented to the top cooks in those categories.

Cooking in the State Championship:

  1. Eli Barnhill: Sons of Bacon (Wendell)
  2. Wesley Bowers: Getting Piggy With It (Washington)
  3. Mark Copeland: Pocosin Boys (Colrain)
  4. Patrick Dowdee: Fur and Spur BBQ (Raleigh)
  5. Chris Fineran: Beach Boy’s BBQ (Little River, SC)
  6. Richie Fulgham: Porky’s Defense (Wilson)
  7. Paul Gainey: It’s ‘Que Time BBQ (Cape Carteret)
  8. David Grandy: Lazy Dayz (Morehead City)
  9. Mat Griner: Southern Q (Zebulon)
  10. Andy Harrison: Mr. Curley’s Que Crew (Louisburg)
  11. Mike Hemenway: My Sweet Hog (Newport)
  12. Sammy Hobgood: Space Pigs (Raleigh)
  13. David Hoffman: Grilling Palms BBQ (Kinston)
  14. Daniel Jones: Riverbumz BBQ (Warsaw)
  15. Matt Jones: 392 BBQ (Greenville)
  16. Charlie Meeks: Captain Charlie’s Cooks (Newport)
  17. John Moody: American Piggers (Bethel)
  18. David Murray: Fired Up BBQ (Snow Hill)
  19. Billy Narron: Wicked Pig (Middlesex)
  20. Dana Peterson: Yabotit Cue (Benson)
  21. Kevin Peterson: Showtime’s Legit BBQ (Benson)
  22. Donnie Pierce: Garage Smokers (Fuquay-Varina)
  23. Travis Stafford: The Two Toby’s (Mt. Olive)
  24. Justin Thompson: Fat N Sassy (Staley)
  25. Aliceson Turnage: Miss Alley’s Cooks (Newport)
  26. Ernest Twisdale: The GrillFather (Roanoke Rapids)
  27. Mark Woolard: Millhole BBQ (Bath)
  28. Kevin Wooten: Piggin’ and Grillin’ BBQ (Raleigh)

The championship is not a public event, but registration is available for the Barbecue Summit. All the cooked barbecue will be donated to Inter-Faith Food Shuttle to be used in local feeding programs.

The N.C. Pork Council has organized and sanctioned the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship since 1985 as the culmination of the Whole Hog Barbecue Series local competitions statewide. The Whole Hog Barbecue Series celebrates the history and artistry of whole hog cooking, supports communities and nonprofits, raising more than $114,000 each year for local charities. The Whole Hog Barbecue Series and championship is one of the ways the N.C. Pork Council supports local communities and events throughout our region. To learn more about the Whole Hog Barbecue Series, visit