Second annual BBQ Summit another success

Second annual BBQ Summit another success

Barbecue is a favorite food for many in Eastern North Carolina, but for those gathered at the second annual BBQ Summit in Kinston Saturday morning, it is an art form.

The summit at the Lenoir County Cooperative Extension Office brought attendees from all sides of the hog-cooking world together to learn more about the serious business of whole-hog cooking. Judges, cooks, and event organizers were all present to hear presentations about the ins and outs of judging, as well as to learn about the financial side of organizing cook-offs.

The North Carolina Pork Council sets the parameters for eligibility to compete in the state championship in Raleigh. The Council co-sponsored Saturday’s event with Visit Kinston and the Lenoir County Cooperative Extension, and representative Jen Kendrick said the turnout was amazing.

“To see so many people excited, not just about cooking, but about judging and organizing, it’s exciting,” she said. The organizers said 114 people attended the summit.

From left, experienced cook-off judges Charlie Martin, Lubin Prevatt, Keith Fuller and Brownie Futrell talk about what they are looking for when they judge. Photo by Catherine Hardee / Neuse News

Participants first heard a presentation from four experienced cook-off judges about what judges are looking for when they inspect a cooked pig. The criteria include the overall appearance, the crispness of the skin, the taste, temperature, and the moisture level of the meat. Participants had the chance to ask questions and gain insight into the judging process.

Then came a more practical demonstration of judging, as the attendees moved to the Lenoir County Livestock Arena, where four cook teams, each using a different cooking method, had spent the whole night cooking hogs for a judging demonstration. The judges went through the judging process for each one, and explained their process and thoughts.

Billy Narron of Middlesex stands beside his cooked pig at the BBQ Summit. Photo by Catherine Hardee / Neuse News

All the attendees got the chance to sample the barbecue straight from the pig, and then it was chopped and served, along with sides and tea provided by Kings Restaurant, for lunch. After lunch, there were further presentations to help with different aspects of barbecue cook-offs, including an information session with a CPA to provide information on the financial side of the competitions.

This pig, cooked by the ‘Late Night Porkin’ team out of Clayton waits for the judges’ attention. The team, led by Philip Weeks with assistance from Jeremy Eckhart, uses all natural fuels to cook. Photo by Catherine Hardee / Neuse News

Certified master judge Charlie Martin, of Greenville, was one of the judges leading the event, and he said he was pleased by the turnout as well, and was happy to bring the different groups that make barbecue cook-offs together to get them all on the same page.

“The more information we share between the groups, the more understanding there is. We want whoever has the best pig to win,” he said.

Charlie Martin, Keith Fuller and Brownie Futrell showcase their judging process as they examine the pig cooked by Billy Narron. Photo by Catherine Hardee / Neuse News

Many of the cooks and judges who were present for the BBQ summit will be back in Kinston to put what they learned into practice the first weekend in May for the Kinston BBQ Festival on the Neuse.

“All the serious cooks want to be part of the Kinston BBQ Festival,” Kendrick said.

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