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24th Annual Championship Barbecue Cookoff Trophies Awarded

Each year, the North Carolina Pork Council hosts the “best of the best” in North Carolina barbecue. This year we were proud to host the 24th Annual North Carolina State Championship Barbecue Cookoff in conjunction with the debut of the Got to be NC Festival at the state fairgrounds.

25 of the top cooks and their teams displayed their talents this past weekend. Up for grabs were trophies and $4,900 in cash. But most important, were the bragging rights for being named the 2008 State Barbecue Champion. Joe Peterson and his Down Home Cookers team came all the way from Roanoke Rapids, but it was certainly worth the drive. He walked away with the state title and $2,000 for his efforts.

Winners are chosen for 1st through 4th place in the culinary division which consists of combining the cook’s scores from both on-site and blind taste judging.

The judges for the on-site competition were NCPC certified judges who scored the pig based on criteria such as skin crispiness, brownness, and moisture. Each cook stood proudly by as the judges scored the pig while still on the cooker.

Immediately after the cook was judged on-site, he had 15 minutes to create a blind taste sample of chopped barbecue blended with his secret recipe of spices or sauce. When he was satisfied with his sample it was taken to the five blind taste judges. These judges focus on the texture and taste of the barbecue. The blind taste judges’ panel included NBC17 meteorologist Bill Reh, WRAL anchor Ken Smith, and 94.7- WQDR’s Billy Dukes.

Culinary winners were:

  • 1st Place: Joe Peterson, Down Home Cookers ~ Roanoke Rapids, NC
  • 2nd Place: Leslie Deaton, The Carolina Cooker~Roanoke Rapids,NC
  • 3rd Place: David Burke, The King Cooker ~ Margarettsville, NC
  • 4th Place: Charles Chestnut, Three Little Pigs ~ Murfreesboro, NC

Leslie Deaton was also the winner of the Crispy Skin Award.

On Friday evening, June 6th, before the cooking began, the teams were invited to compete in the showmanship contest. This was an opportunity for the cooks to set up themed displays and be judged based on their theme and presentation.

Showmanship winners were:

  • Place: Michael S. Hemenway, My Sweet Hog ~ Newport, NC
  • 2nd Place: David Burke, The King Cooker ~ Margarettsville, NC
  • 3rd Place: Joe Peterson, Down Home Cookers ~ Roanoke Rapids, NC

To compete in the state championship, competitors must qualify by placing in one of the North Carolina Pork Council sanctioned barbecue contests held throughout the state.

The North Carolina Pork Council’s objective for hosting and sanctioning barbecue contests is to increase public awareness of the pork industry within North Carolina, increase awareness of pork’s positive nutritional advantages, and to help local NC towns and communities generate funds for civic organizations or community relations.

About NCPC:

The North Carolina Pork Council (NCPC) is the statewide advocacy organization that was chartered in 1962 to support producer and allied industry partners within the North Carolina pork industry. Today, the pork industry provides over 46,000 full time jobs and $9 billion to North Carolina’s economy. Representing 2,300 farms, NCPC is both a center of knowledge for pork producers and an advocate for professionalism and high social, ethical, and environmental standards in the pork industry. NCPC provides access to meaningful educational programs and services and leadership in public and industry affairs.