Whole Hog Champion Crowned After Raleigh Cook-Off

RALEIGH, N.C.—The region’s championship pork barbecue cooking team was crowned on Saturday in downtown Raleigh as the 2014 Whole Hog Barbecue Championship was concluded to the accompaniment of the world’s best bluegrass music.

The championship team is Grillfather Cooking Team of Roanoke Rapids, captained by Ernest Twisdale. Joe Peterson also from Roanoke Rapids finished in second place, followed by Charles Chestnut of Sunset Beach in third and Bruce Daniel of Roanoke Rapids in fourth.

In the separate Showmanship contest, the winning team was Haulin Hog led by John Kearney of Goldsboro. Bruce Daniel and Charles Chestnut tied for second place. The Showmanship competition judged teams for their thematic representation/decoration of their respective cooking areas.

This year’s Showmanship judges were theater standout Ira David Wood and Darren Nicholson of the famed bluegrass band Balsam Range  

The championship cooking team was chosen best among 29 teams assembled for the annual title cook-off, held in conjunction with the Wide Open Bluegrass festival being hosted in downtown Raleigh by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) in front of huge crowds. 

To determine the top cooking teams, blind tasting results and on-site judging tabulations were combined to make up final scores.

The blind taste judges were Anna Laurel of ABC 11, noted bluegrass musician Russell Moore and Jeff Sutton of Prestage Farms. The on-site, certified judges were Charlie Martin, Hank Harvey, David Cowley and Brownie Futrell, all veterans of major championship judging. 

The hog cooking contest, sanctioned and sponsored by the N.C. Pork Council (NCPC) headquartered here, got underway on the evening of the 3rd and concluded the following day. The competition barbecue was collected after judging, chopped and sold to the general public.

The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle (IFFS) organization managed the food service operation and the NCPC donated sales proceeds to IFFS.

Ann Edmondson, director of communications & marketing for the NCPC, commented, “This was another exciting contest, a tough call for our excellent judges.  We are proud of all the teams around the area that compete in smaller contests every year.  They are true ambassadors for the pork community.”
Every year, the best-known whole hog cook cooking teams in North Carolina and environs fight it out to determine the area’s pork barbecue cooking champion.  When the IBMA first announced its intention to bring its music festival to Raleigh in 2013, an agreement was made to combine North Carolina barbecue and world-class bluegrass music.

The Wide Open Bluegrass event, concluding its second year here, brought scores of the nation’s leading bluegrass acts to perform in downtown Raleigh at the Convention Center, the Red Hat Amphitheater and the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts. Additional acts performed at a variety of smaller music venues across the city.

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, in Raleigh, 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.