High on the Hog BBQ

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A landscaper, a software engineer, an insurance executive, a fisherman, an architect, a project manager, a salesman: What do they all have in common? A love of barbecue … South Carolina style.

This group of amateurs and professionals all compete on the South Carolina BBQ Association circuit of competitive cooking events. In 2012 there were 29 events scheduled around the state and the same number is planned again for 2013. They are fundraisers, county fairs, local events and just plain fun — but very serious fun. The camaraderie is strong, but not as strong as the desire to win!!.

They cook mostly butts and ribs (occasionally a whole hog) and are judged on taste, appearance, aroma, texture and overall impression. They arrive in cars, RV’s, vans, pick-ups, and fancy rigs.  They cook with wood, gas, and charcoal.  They use smokers, Big Green Eggs, homemade units and commercial units.  They compete for points, cash, awards, prizes and for the love of barbecue.

The next competition will be the 2nd Annual High on The Hog BBQ Festival, presented by CBC National Bank to benefit LowCountry Habitat for Humanity on June 7 and 8. Last year’s event was an immediate sell out, with more than 900 pounds of butts being cooked. With twice the number of cookers registered this year, over 1,800 pounds of butts, 600 pounds of ribs will be cooked and distributed as samples. But the samples will go quickly and it’s first come, first served.  Be there when the doors open at noon on Saturday. In addition to the cooking teams, at least six restaurants will be selling their food, so there will be plenty of food for everyone.  Bricks on Boundary, Jim n Nicks from Bluffton, Sea Eagle, Brusters, Highway 21 Drive in and several more will on hand for the weekend.

Friday evening will feature an Everything LowCountry Night, where the teams will be preparing their Lowcountry favorite recipes.  Last year the teams made shrimp and grits, Frogmore Stew, apple cobbler and many more of their specialties. The Brewer Band starts at 6 p.m. and will play all night, while the crowd enjoys a Silent Auction and a Moonshine Tasting by Firefly Distillery.

Saturday is the main event where certified judges will rate the pit master’s talents.  They will have spent the entire night preparing the butts and ribs for the blind tasting and judging.  Once the judges are finished, the butts and ribs are available for sampling. Island Meat Market will offer a whole hog pig pickin for those who want to purchase some bulk barbecue to take home. The Moonshine tasting will continue throughout the day, and the restaurants will continue selling their seafood, hotdogs, ice cream, funnel cakes, shaved ice, watermelon and much more. The kids activities will be ongoing throughout the day. All of his happening to the music of the Groovetones.

A Gen’ral Store will be on site selling BBQ-related items including tees, aprons, hats, etc. Award-winning barbecue sauces and rubs, not available locally will be available for tastings and purchase.

Tickets are $16 for Friday and $18 for Saturday and are available at www.highonthehogbeaufort.com, at the Visitor Center on Craven Street, the CenturyLink store on Boundary Street, local CBC National Bank offices and at the Habitat offices on Parris Island Gateway.