RALEIGH, N.C. — For the second year in succession, the leading whole hog cooking teams in North Carolina will soon battle hog to hog to determine the pork barbecue cooking champion, as part of Raleigh’s hugely-successful International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Wide Open Bluegrass festival.
The championship will also be supported this year by a brand-new website (wholehogbarbecue.com). The North Carolina Pork Council (NCPC) calls the new website the “definitive resource for anything and everything there is to know about cooking and eating whole hog barbecue.”
The tasty cook-off competition will be held in the center city at a site that allows the public to watch the teams compete, beginning on the evening of Oct. 3 and culminating with judging on Oct. 4. After the judging, the pork produced by the competitors will be sold in sandwiches, the sales commencing around lunchtime.
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.
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.
Ann Edmondson, director of communications & marketing for the NCPC, commented, “We know our second year teamed up with bluegrass music will be a great one and we also hope our new website will be a hit with barbecue fans.”
Edmondson added, “The new site will keep followers up to date with competing cooking teams, as well as providing information about the history, tradition and artistry involved with cooking whole hog barbecue.”
In the six months prior to the October championship, local cooking contests attracted an estimated 100,000 barbecue lovers, mostly across Eastern North Carolina. Although many teams are considered qualified for the finals, based on criteria used by the Pork Council, only the first 30 teams to submit applications are allowed to compete.
Deborah Johnson, chief executive officer of the NCPC, said, “Proceeds from the barbecue sales following the cooking championship will go to Inter-Faith Food Shuttle (IFFS). This group managed the barbecue sales and service during our 2013 event. The IFFS work throughout the year complements the pork industry’s hunger initiative called The Food Effect, a campaign to fight hunger among children across the state.”
IFFS is a hunger relief organization that feeds people, teaches skills for self-sufficiency and grows access to local food for communities in need. The organization not only recovers and redistributes good food that would have been wasted, but also teaches culinary job skills, how to cook healthy food on budget, and even how to grow food.
About the N.C. Pork Council
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. 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
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.