Picky Vicki Brazenly Bold Robust BBQ Sauce

Picky Vicki (Bel Air, MD) is the maker of 100% all natural BBQ sauces. Vicki, a former restaurateur, took to the road in 2007 to promote her thick tomato sauces and rib rub. She and her crew have been at it ever since, working various food competitions and festivals.

Vicki was kind enough to send samples of each of her four signature flavors. The first bottle I opened was Brazenly Bold. Vicki describes this particular sauce as having a "robust" flavor with a habanero chili base. The dark red sauce is packaged in 18 oz. glass bottles. It's incredibly thick with a slightly gritty texture and pours very slowly.

Though Vicki is no Midwesterner, Brazenly Bold reflects the characteristics usually associated with Kansas City / St. Louis style sauces. The thick tomato sauce is accented with vinegar, brown sugar, molasses and liquid smoke in addition to the aforementioned habaneros. The strong flavor profile is, however, a bit more tangy and spicy than most KC sauces.

Since Vicki's former restaurant was called Ribs n Things, I figured her sauce was meant for pork ribs. I therefore used Brazenly Bold on smoked spares. I brushed the thick sauce on a couple of racks as they finished in the smoker. Though the sauce gave the ribs good color, it didn't quite create the smooth glossy finish I prefer.

The heat mellowed the sauce as is often the case. The brown sugar and molasses caramelized a bit in the smoker. The result was a pleasant, not too spicy compliment to the ribs. Though the flavor still held up, it wasn't overwhelming. I was able to serve the ribs to my wife and grandparents without complaints about the spice.

The sauce's extreme thickness somewhat limits it's use. The flavors paired well with pork ribs and I suspect it would equally compliment beef and chicken. The gritty texture doesn't present quite as well as other grilling glazes, but the flavor is quite good. It's a good choice for those who prefer rich, bold flavors and enjoy a bit of heat.

Check out Picky Vicki's website for more info. See how Brazenly Bold rates on our "Product Reviews" page.

Glenn's Gourmet Goodies Chipotle White BBQ Sauce

For most of America, BBQ sauce means a thick, sweet, red tomato based glaze. These types of sauces line the shelves of supermarkets nationwide. However, in certain regions of the country, BBQ sauce is defined quite differently. In the Carolinas, for example, BBQ sauce is of the vinegar or mustard based variety. In a small patch of the deep south (Alabama in particular), BBQ sauce is entirely unique...and white!

Made famous in BBQ circles by Big Bob Gibson, Alabama style white BBQ sauce has a creamy mayonnaise base and is typically accented by additional vinegar and some sort of spicy element. Saucemaker, Glenn Coleman has elevated the concept to a whole new level with his line of white sauces known as Glenn's Gourmet Goodies.

Glenn has created three signature recipes, (White BBQ Sauce, Chipotle and Wasabi) each starting with a soybean oil base. Since they're egg free, the sauces aren't technically a mayo based product.  After finding GGG Foods online, I contacted Glenn for more info about his products. I was ecstatic when he decided to send samples of all three sauces for review. I've reviewed nearly 100 different sauces to date, but Glenn's Gourmet Goodies are the first white BBQ sauces to hit The "Q" Review.  

I did a major chicken cook a few weeks ago and was looking for something different to finish the smoked poultry with. Rather than brushing on another thick tomato sauce, I grabbed a bottle of GGG's Chipotle White BBQ Sauce.

GGG's Chipotle is packaged in 16.9 oz (half liter) plastic bottles. This particular sauce isn't exactly white. Thanks to the chipotle powder, the sauce is actually a creamy orange color. Coarsely ground pepper and dark spices speckle the sauce. The sauce is medium-thick and pours smoothly.

The white (orange) sauce brushed easily on the chicken. Since the sauce is sugar free, there no threat of it burning. I was really surprised and impressed with the flavor the GGG's Chipotle imparted on the chicken. It was creamy and savory complimenting the herbs in the dry rub. The chipotle powder give the sauce a smokey, spicy finish.

I later used the sauce as a dip and again as a sandwich condiment. GGG's Chipotle White BBQ Sauce is incredibly versatile. It's excellent paired with chicken, pork and seafood. It's a fine alternative as a dip or glaze for BBQ and can be substituted in many dishes that call for mayo. GGG's chipotle adds a great deal of extra spice and flavor to burgers and salads.

GGG's Chipotle White BBQ Sauce has opened up a whole new world of BBQ possibilities. On the grill, on the smoker or on the side, Glenn's Gourmet Goodies are redefining what a BBQ sauce is (and should be). I can only hope that Glenn's original and Wasabi flavors match the Chipotle.

To broaden your BBQ horizons, check out Glenn's Gourmet Goodies' website. See how GGG's Chipotle White BBQ Sauce rates on our "Product Reviews" page.

Meyer's Original BBQ Sauce

The Meyer family has been smoking German style sausages in the heart of Texas since the turn of the 20th Century. What started as a small Elgin sausage business has grown into full fledged BBQ outfit the Meyers call "Cue-topia". "Cue-topia", AKA Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse, includes a restaurant, meat market, processing plant, and mail order BBQ business.

To compliment their famous smoked meats, the Meyer family also developed their own line of sauces and seasonings. The Meyer family was kind enough to send some samples of their sauces and rubs my way. The first product I had a chance to use was their Original BBQ Sauce.

Meyer's Original Barbecue Sauce is packaged in hefty 19 oz. glass bottles. The bottles feature a basic yellow label with the Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse logo (above). The sauce is dark orange and has a smooth, medium thickness.

The sauce has a ketchup base and is accented with vinegar. The sauce's flavor is pretty mild. There is a bit of vinegar and pepper tang in the finish. In the tradition of Texas sauces, Meyer's Original isn't a sweet sauce. I would characterize it as a more mild and palatable version of Stubb's.

I used Meyer's Original Barbecue Sauce on smoked ribs and pulled pork. The sauce brushed smoothly on the ribs giving them a bright, orange shine. When warmed, the sauce lost most of it's tang and even picked up a bit of sweetness. The sauce also matched nicely with the smokey pulled pork.

Meyer's Original Barbecue Sauce is a solid option for people who prefer mild flavors, but don't like super sweet sauces. It works equally well as a finishing sauce or dip and compliments a variety of meats. Learn more about Meyer's Original and the entire Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse line on their website. See how Meyer's Original BBQ Sauce rates on our "Product Reviews" page.

Midwood Smokehouse (Charlotte, NC)

The Charlotte BBQ scene has been a long standing disappointment for those living in the Carolinas. Despite being the region's largest city, there have traditionally been very few quality options for BBQ lovers. Thankfully, a new wave of joints is helping the Queen City shed it's poor BBQ reputation. One of Charlotte's newest additions, Midwood Smokehouse, may be its best yet.

Since opening in Spring of 2011, I've had Midwood Smokehouse on my "must visit" list. I'd heard great things from my friends who had visited and from noted Charlotte BBQ blogger, Wayne Brown. Katie and I made the trip to Charlotte this weekend to check out a friend's newly purchased house and decided it was the perfect time see four ourselves what Midwood Smokehouse was all about.

Midwood is located on Central Avenue in a trendy, eclectic district on the fringe of Uptown. The smokehouse occupies the side of a modern brick building which it shares with several other businesses. The interior of the restaurant is small with an upscale tavern atmosphere. There's a full service bar and small array of booths and pub tables. The limited indoor space is supplemented by plenty of patio and roof-top seating.

Since our group had three toddlers in tow, we opted for a large picnic table on the patio. Before we even sat down, the aroma coming from the custom built hardwood smoker had my mouth watering. I had been craving brisket so I opted for the large brisket plate with baked beans and potato salad. Katie ordered the full rack of spareribs (that's how my wife rolls) with macaroni & cheese and steamed vegetables.

My mixed order of fatty and lean brisket was moist, tender and flavorful. The savory dry rub gave the meat a nice dark crust. The lean cut was moist enough, that I wouldn't order the fatty in the future. The fatty portion had too much fat for my liking.

The sides were really exceptional. Both the beans and potato salad exceeded my expectations. Too often, even good BBQ joints pour all of their focus into the smoked meats and serve up cheap, straight from the can sides. Midwood's beans were sweet and tangy with tender chunks of pork. The creamy potato salad was even better than what I make at home. The hushpuppies had a nice surface crunch, but maintained a moist interior. The pickled onions (served with every meal) were a nice compliment to the smokey beans and beef.

The rack of ribs looked like a winner as soon as it hit the table. The meaty spareribs are served dry with your choice of house made sauces served on the side. The ribs had great flavor even without sauce. The dry rubbed crust was both sweet and savory, but not too salty. The ribs were incredibly tender (maybe a bit too tender).

In addition to ribs and brisket, my buddy was kind enough to share his pulled pork with me. All three meats were top quality, but the pulled pork stood out as the clear favorite. It was smokey and tender. The light vinegar sauce that the pork was tossed in provided moisture and a bit of tang. It was some of the best pulled pork I've had from a restaurant.

Our experience at Midwood Smokehouse was 100% positive. Both the food and service were very good. The prices are quite reasonable as well.  If I were a Charlotte resident, Midwood would definitely become one of my regular lunch spots. As it stands, I'll have to make a point of stopping in anytime I'm in the area. For more information about Midwood Smokehouse, check out their website. See how I rate Midwood's meats on our "BBQ Ratings" page.

Stubbs Original BBQ Sauce

Considering Stubb's brand Bar-B-Q Sauces can be found in retail grocery stores all over the country, most of my readers are probably already familiar with the product. You probably all have your own opinions on the sauce as well. Rather than introduce you to a new sauce, I just take this opportunity to share my opinion on this well known sauce.

Stubb's all natural Bar-B-Q Sauces are produced in Austin, Texas. Their Original recipe, like all Stubb's sauces, is packaged in stout 18 oz. bottles. It's got a great looking vintage label with a smiling Stubb (C.B. Stubbfield). In my opinion, Stubb's has the best packaging among the national brands.

With a great look, quality ingredients and reasonable price tag, I really wanted to like Stubb's Original. Unfortunately, something about the flavor just rubs me the wrong way. The thick brown sauce is a tomato, vinegar mixture. Though the sauce contains both brown and white sugar, there is very little sweetness. There's a strong vinegar, pepper tang. Typically, I enjoy a tangy vinegar kick in tomato sauces, but Stubb's is missing the sweet, balancing element. The flavor just comes off as harsh and bitter.

Texans will probably claim that I'm simply not man enough to handle their bold, tangy sauces. Perhaps they're right. However, I've sampled and reviewed other products of Texas and enjoyed them a great deal. In fact, one of my favorite sauce makers, SuckleBusters, hails from the Lone Star state.

I would never discourage anyone for purchasing any product. Sauce makers work hard to create and distribute their products. I wish them all the best of luck. Unfortunately, I can't personally recommend Stubb's Original.

Mrs. Renfro's Peach Salsa

Renfro Foods Inc. started humbly from the garage of George and Arthurine Renfro in 1940. The couple first sold spices and pepper sauces in the Forth Worth area. The Renfros later branched out to include syrups, sauces, chow chow. After George's death in 1975, the next generation of Renfros continued to grow the business. Riding the wave of increased demand for Mexican foods, Renfro Foods Inc. began producing gourmet, all natural salsas. Today, Renfro Foods Inc. produces dozens of products, including a wide selection of salsas under the Mrs. Renfro's name.

My wife and I are both salsa fanatics so I couldn't have been more excited when a package of Mrs. Renfro's salsa arrived this week. The sample pack contained 16 oz. glass jars of Mrs. Renfro's BBQ Sauce, Peach Salsa, Ghost Pepper Salsa, and Habanero Salsa. I wanted to dig into the salsa right away. Rather than scorch my tongue, I decided to ease into things and open up the jar of Peach Salsa.

Mrs. Renfro's Peach Salsa starts with dark red tomatoes and accents them with sweet peaches, onions and a variety of peppers. In addition to the peaches, the salsa is sweetened with both brown and white sugar. Traditional salsa flavor elements like vinegar, cilantro and garlic are also present.

The salsa has a smooth, mild flavor. It's slightly sweet with the peach acting as an accent. The sweetness makes the salsa a perfect compliment to salty tortilla chips. The flavors blended so well that we blazed through the entire jar the same night it arrived.

Because we devoured the salsa so quickly, I wasn't able to test it on multiple dishes. I can, however, highly recommend Mrs. Renfro's Peach Salsa as a dip for tortilla chips. If you can keep the jar around long enough to share with guests, it would make a great party dip. It's mild enough for everyone to enjoy and the unique peach factor makes it a bit more special than regular tomato salsa.

To see the whole Mrs. Renfro's product line, check out their website. See how their Peach Salsa rates on our "Product Reviews" page.

Southern Soul BBQ Red Swine Wine

Located in coastal Georgia, Southern Soul BBQ is close enough to the Carolinas and the Deep South to pull from both BBQ traditions. This mix of influences is evident in their varied lineup of BBQ sauces. Southern Soul produces a South Carolina mustard sauce (Low Country Soul) a sweet, thick tomato sauce as well as their North Carolina inspired Red Swine Wine.

Red Swine Wine is a recipe right out of the heart of North Carolina. Similar vinegar based sauces can be found all over the central and western parts of the state. To distilled vinegar, Red Swine Wine adds tomato paste, sugar, salt and spices to create their tangy concoction. In my neck of the woods (Piedmont region of North Carolina) this type of sauce is referred to as a "Lexington Dip" in honor of North Carolina's BBQ capital.

Though the cool blue Southern Soul label says that Red Swine Wine can enhance any grilled or smoked protein, there's really only one appropriate use for a sauce like this. It was made for hickory smoked pork shoulder. Thankfully, my freezer is fully stocked with an array of meats that I have smoked and vacuum sealed.

I pulled out a package of chopped pork, made up some creamy slaw and put together a couple of man sized sandwiches for dinner. It's too bad the pictures didn't turn out because these things were loaded! I gave each sandwich a healthy shot of Red Swine Wine. The tangy vinegar is something that has become very familiar to me. My tastes have evolved since moving to North Carolina and I've come to really enjoy these types of sauces with smokey pork.

Red Swine Wine has a spicy pepper finish that is a bit more intense than the typical Lexington style sauce. While it's not uncommon for Lexington Dips to feature crushed red peppers, Southern Soul takes the spice level up a couple of notches. It's not "HOT", but it still has a nice bite.

Vinegar dips are completely foreign to the majority in this country. Introducing a Midwesterner to Red Swine Wine would definitely be dropping them in the deep end of the vinegar pool. However, for those will to broaden their horizons, Red Swine Wine is a Lexington Dip done the right way. Even the most staunch Carolina BBQ traditionalist could appreciate what these Georgia boys are doing.

Pork Barrel Mustard BBQ Sauce

All mustard BBQ sauces are not made equal. Though each sauce starts with a common base, color, texture, sweetness and spice can vary by extreme degrees. Pork Barrel's Mustard BBQ Sauce elevates it's familiar base ingredient with sweet and tangy accents creating a truly uncommon sauce / condiment.

Pork Barrel Mustard BBQ Sauce is packaged in 12 oz. glass bottles and wrapped in Pork Barrel's stylish label. The sauce is light brown and speckled with dark spices. The texture is on the thicker side, but it's still slightly thinner than a typical yellow mustard and pours smoothly.

Pork Barrel's Mustard BBQ Sauce is sweet and complex. Honey, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce give the mustard a nice balance of sweet and tangy. Additional flavor depth comes from savory ingredients like ginger, tamarind and garlic. There's even a slight note of heat thanks to the addition of cayenne pepper. This complex blend of flavors make Pork Barrel's mustard more than just a burger / hotdog condiment. It's truly a full bodied BBQ sauce.

I first used Pork Barrel's Mustard BBQ sauce on smoked chicken quarters. I also served extra sauce as a dip for the smoked poultry. I felt the sauce worked equally well both ways, though the flavor was altered quite a bit when cooked on the chicken. For a mellow, sweet finish, heat the sauce. If you're looking for a tangy mustard bite, serve the sauce cold as a dip.

Though the sauce works well for BBQ, the mustard base also makes it a valuable condiment. I've used Pork Barrel Mustard BBQ Sauce on burgers (in place of yellow mustard). I also put a couple shots of it in my chicken salad.

In my opinion, Pork Barrel does just about everything right with their Mustard BBQ Sauce (and that's coming from a guy who's not a huge fan of mustard). The sauce doesn't just have one note tang. With plenty of sweet and savory accents, Pork Barrel's mustard has a little something for everyone.

To order your own Pork Barrel products, click here to check out their website. You can also see how Pork Barrel's Mustard BBQ Sauce rates on our "Product Reviews" page.

Smithfield's Chicken'N BAR-B-Q

The Smithfield name is quite familiar with North Carolinians. This regional chain sprouted from a popular Smithfield, NC BBQ joint opened in 1964. The business has grown into a company with more than thirty franchises. Throughout Central and Eastern North Carolina, Smithfield's has built a reputation on simple, country cooking and a commitment to providing exceptional service.

During my travels across the state, I've passed numerous Smithfield's Chicken'N BAR-B-Q restaurants.  It wasn't until this week, however, that I made my first pit stop at Smithfield's for some "Q". Returning home from a long weekend in Atlantic Beach, Katie and I had intended to stop at a roadside BBQ joint west of Goldsboro (Adam's). Much to our dismay, we found that our targeted joint wasn't open on the day we happened to be passing through. With our hearts set on BBQ, we decided to stop at the next BBQ joint we encountered.

Smithfield's Chicken'N BAR-B-Q (Garner, NC) was close to the highway and calling our names. We pulled in around noon to place "to go" orders. The restaurant is equal parts classic diner and fast food chain. We were immediately greeted by a smiling attendant upon entering. We order at the counter with the simple menus spelled out on the overhead sign. I was pretty impressed by the conditions of the restaurant and the attitudes of the employees. It was quite evident that Smithfield's makes service and atmosphere a priority. I hoped that those standards held true for the food as well.

I ordered a chicken and Bar-B-Q combo (dark meat). The plate included two pieces of fried chicken,  chopped BBQ, baked beans, potato salad and hush puppies. I also requested a side of Smithfield's tangy signature BBQ sauce.

I'll start with the pork. This is a BBQ blog after all...In the tradition of Eastern North Carolina, Smithfield's Bar-B-Q is finely chopped, tossed in vinegar and seasoned with salt and pepper. It's was tender and moist, but fairly bland. Since the pork isn't smoked, it relies totally on the sauce and seasoning for flavor. Thankfully, Smithfield's sweet and tangy BBQ sauce was at hand. It provided the flavor boost I was looking for. It was good enough that I was tempted to purchase a bottle to take home.

While the pork only moderately calmed my BBQ craving, Smithfield's fried chicken made up for it. My leg and thigh were really good. The chicken was hot out of the fryer and as moist and tender as any fried chicken I've had in a long time. The skin had just the right amount of crunch. It was well seasoned (maybe slightly over salted) and not too greasy. It definitely exceeded my expectations. I'd rank it a notch (or two) above the leading fried chicken chains.

Smithfield's may not warrant a return visit for BBQ, but at least I've got a new option for fried chicken. If I found myself hungry and near a Smithfield's, I'd happily stop for some crispy poultry. I'd probably get another side of that sauce as well. It made a pretty good dip for the chicken.

Lou's Famous Natural Sausages (Wellshire Farms)

Lou's Famous is part of the Wellshire Farms family of products. Wellshire Farms was started in 1996 by Louis B. Colameco with a focus on producing all natural, minimally processed meats. Wellshire has partnered with natural poultry and livestock farmers to produce an extensive line of wholesome cured meats, deli meats and even BBQ. From the farm to your table, Wellshire ensures a commitment to quality through an independent, third party auditor. No artificial fillers or preservatives will ever find their way into Wellshire Farms' meat products.

Wellshire Farms was kind enough to provide several samples of Lou's Famous skinless chicken sausages. The Lou's Famous line features fully cooked, hand crafted sausages in a variety of artisan flavors. Using only antibiotic free chicken, Lou's Famous stuffs their sausage with everything from sweet apples to aged provolone cheese.

Lou's Famous skinless chicken sausages are vacuum sealed in 11 oz packages. Each package contains four fully cooked sausages. These sausages are ready to eat. Just heat and serve. Here is a brief break down of each flavor that I sampled.

Apple Chicken Sausage: These sausages are savory and slightly sweet. The apple sweetness is perfectly blended with the well seasoned chicken. The sausages are tender and greaseless. They can be grilled and eaten on their own or sliced and cooked into casseroles and other dishes. I like these because they don't go overboard with the sweetness. They're still very much a savory meat product.

Mild Italian Chicken Sausage: This mild chicken sausage is slightly salty and packed with pepper and onions. The savory flavors are appealing and versatile. They can be grilled and eaten on a bun or sliced and included in pasta dishes. They would also be good on pizza.

Aged Provolone Chicken Sausage: This sausage is savory and juicy. It's loaded with pockets of provolone cheese. The cheese provides a creamy, salty accent that is great with the Italian spiced chicken. These too can be grilled or included in Italian dishes.

Buffalo Style w/ Blue Cheese: This was my favorite of all the flavors. The sausage was tangy and savory. The buffalo spice was moderate, but noticeable. Each link is also loaded with creamy blue cheese. These sausages really do provide a similar flavor to actual mild Buffalo wings.

Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage: These have all the elements of a classic Italian sausage. I didn't actually find them to be very spicy. Like the mild Italian version, these too were quite salty. They work well on pizzas or in casseroles.

To learn more about Lou's Famous chicken sausages, check out their website. See how flavor rates on our "Product Reviews" page.

Butcher BBQ Texas Style Rub

Butcher BBQ products are made and used by people who really know BBQ. The folks at Butcher BBQ have decades of experience that includes running meat markets, custom processing and several years on the competition circuit. They've developed products specifically formulated for their own competition use and have gained a reputation for quality. Their rubs, sauce and injections are now used by competition teams all over the country.

Texas Style Rub is the third Butcher BBQ seasoning blend to be tested by The "Q" Review. Honey Rub and Premium BBQ Rub both earned solid reviews last fall. Like the other rubs, Texas Style is available in 12 oz. plastic shakers or 5 lb bulk bags. I love that the rub is packaged in extra large containers. One 12 oz shaker goes a long way.

Rather than the traditional salt, pepper and garlic base used by 90% of beef rubs, Butcher BBQ actually starts with sugar. It's a fairly novel concept, (especially considering they call the rub "Texas Style") but I love what it does for beef. Of course, the rub also features the big three along with onion and lemon powder.

The rub smells primarily of pepper and garlic, but the flavor is much smoother. The pepper is detectable, but not dominant. Despite the sugar, it's not an super sweet rub (like Honey Rub) either. The flavors are equally sweet and savory and generally pretty mild. The seasoning definitely acts in a supporting role with the meat rather than taking the lead.

I've used Texas Style Rub numerous times on burgers, steaks and meatloaf. Any beef that I've cooked over the last 3-4 weeks has gotten a healthy dose of Butcher BBQ's Texas Style Rub. The blend is especially good on burgers. Both sides of each patty get seasoned liberally before hitting the grill. The sugars caramelize just enough over the hot flame, but I haven't had any issues with charring. Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to test the rub on a brisket yet, but it's not difficult to see that Texas Style Rub would be exceptional on that particular cut.

Butcher BBQ's Texas Style Rub is an exceptional product for complimenting grilled or smoked beef. The extra sugar also makes the rub quite versatile. In addition to beef, I would recommend Texas Style Rub for wild game and chicken as well.

To learn more about Texas Style Rub and Butcher BBQ's other competition products, check out their website. See how this rub rates on our "Product Reviews" page.

Newport (NC) Pig Cooking Contest

34 years ago the Eastern North Carolina town of Newport was in need of money to support the Newport Developmental Center for handicapped children. While soliciting fundraising ideas, some locals suggested a pig cooking contest. Newport is, after all, right in the middle of North Carolina's whole hog BBQ territory.

With the help of several volunteers, the first ever Newport Pig Cooking Contest was held in 1979. That day saw 42 hogs cooked and nearly $15,000 raised for the developmental center. Since that inaugural event, the contest has grown into what organizers say is the "Largest Whole Hog" contest in the United States. This year, 80 competition teams from all over the region joined the fray and cooked hogs with the proceeds still being donated to worthy local charities.

As luck would have it, Katie and I had scheduled a short vacation to Atlantic Beach on the same weekend that neighboring Newport held its 2012 contest. The weather report was ominous, but we decided to make the short trip anyway to check out the festivities.

Held in a community park near the epicenter of town, the event wasn't hard to find. When we arrived around 10:00 a.m., the event was in full swing. Craft vendors were open, carnival rides were rolling, volunteers were pig pickin and Elvis was performing.
Elvis impersonator: Ryder Preston

We hit the contest just as the second round of judging had gotten underway. Several of the cook teams were putting the finishing touches on their hog displays. After roaming the grounds and taking in the sights and smells of 80 hogs being cooked, our stomachs guided us to the food tent where volunteers were picking, chopping and serving Eastern NC style BBQ plates.

While we sat under the shelter of the pavilion eating our pork plates, the rains came. With a baby in tow and no umbrella to shield us from the downpour, we called it a day and headed back to our car. Our trip to Newport was short lived thanks to the weather, but I'm certainly glad we stopped in. I love seeing small town citizens ban together for a great cause. It reminds me of the small festivals held in my home town (Reading, MI) and surrounding communities. It's an added bonus when the festivals involve BBQ.

If you've never attended the Newport Pig Cooking Contest, mark your calender for next year's event. It's a top notch experience for BBQ pilgrims, especially for those who love North Carolina "Q". Check out the Pig Cooking Contest's website for details

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