Carthage Buggy Festival (and BBQ Cook Off)

Looking for something to do this weekend and have a wholesome hankering for whole hog?  If so, be sure to check out the Carthage Buggy Festival, which starts off with a barbecue cooking contest on Friday evening.  The BBQ Cook Off benefits The Arc of Moore County, and is an officially sanctioned NC Pork Council event. 

According to the festival website, “Delivery of the pigs to each contestant will take place at about 10:00 p.m.  [Friday]. They cook all night and the following morning on-site judging by N.C. Pork Council certified judges begins at 8:00 a.m.  Following the on-site judging, local barbecue enthusiasts will put their palates to a blind taste test of all contestants’ barbecue.  On-site and blind scores will then be combined to determine the first, second, third and fourth place winners.”

Better yet, “The public is invited to come out to the park between 8:30 and 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning and taste free samples of each cooker’s pig and sauce.  This will be the only chance to taste differences between cookers.  Once the judging is complete the cooked and chopped barbecue will be combined and sold as sandwiches and in bulk…”  It’s great that Joe Public gets to taste the ‘cue before it’s all lumped together, and this sets Carthage’s event apart from some of the state’s larger barbecue festivals.

How to Find Good Barbecue

It’s not easy to accurately judge a book by its cover, but your friends at BBQ Jew are always willing to try.  Our goal is to prevent you from wasting too much of your valuable time–or too many points on your cholesterol level–eating mediocre barbecue.  You deserve better.  Below are our tips (commandments?) for separating the wheat from the chaff meat from the gristle when it comes to finding good barbecue joints.

Viva le wood!

Viva le wood!

– If there is a wood pile outside it’s worth going inside. The wood pile may be tucked away in the back, it may be right up front, but it must be somewhere if they cook with it. Once you find the pile, check for signs that it has been used recently and isn’t just there for decoration (this trickery has been reported, though if the BBQ Jew was king such deception would be a criminal offense).

NEW IS OLD NEWS – Be very suspicious of a barbecue joint if the building it is located in was built less than 20 or so years ago. Sure, there are some good joints that challenge this rule of thumb, but a shiny new building is at best a honkin’ big red flag.

PARKING LOT PARADISE – Glance around the parking lot. Ideally, there will be a diverse mix of beat up pickup trucks, vans with commercial tags, compact cars, lawyer mobiles (Mercedes, BMW, etc.) and more. If all those different people think the ‘cue is worth eating, you probably will too. Continue reading

Ham & Yam Festival

Just a quick post to encourage you to check out the Ham & Yam Festival, which runs through late Sunday afternoon in downtown Smithfield.  Note that barbecue plates from the pig cooking contest will be on sale from 12:30 until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.  Sorry we didn’t get this post up with more advance notice; the barbecue festivals snuck up on us this year.  We vow to do a better job of informing you, our loyal readers, of essential upcoming events in the future.  Until then, we ask that you forgive us our trespasses as we have forgiven those who abandon the almighty hickory wood.

Speaking of which, please forgive me for the below photo.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with the Ham & Yam Festival, but I took it last time I was in Smithfield and this seems like as good (or bad) an occasion as any to share it.

If you say so.

If you say so.