Blues Skies and Barbecue at 27th Annual Festival

The weather was damn near perfect last weekend when the 27th Annual Barbecue Festival took over the streets of Uptown Lexington.  My wife and kids joined me on the Amtrak from Durham to Lexington (the one time a year the train stops there), and we were joined by dozens of other barbecue-happy passengers.  We even met some New Yorkers on the train–they’d come down from Long Island to Lexington just for the Festival, which speaks to how big the event has gotten over the years.  (Of course, maybe they were just trying to drown their Yankees’ baseball sorrows.) 

And when I say the event has gotten big, I mean it.  The Festival apparently drew a record crowd this year, with “more than 200,000” people in attendance according to the inexact-yet-official estimate.  That estimate might sound like hyberbole but if you were there–and given how large a crowd it was I am guessing you were–then you’ll have no problem believing it.  It was CROWDED, folks.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people in one place and I am not sure I care to again.  But I did enjoy myself.  And luckily I ate a BBQ sandwich before the tents sold out–at 4:00 p.m., two hours before the end of the event. 

For excellent photos of the Festival, visit the website of Lexington’s daily, The Dispatch, by following this link and clicking on the October 24th festival gallery.

27th Annual Barbecue Festival This Weekend

It’s that time of year again, time for hordes of hungry hog lovers to descend on little Lexington and devour thousands of pounds of barbecue.  Yes, the Barbecue Festival takes over the streets of downtown Uptown Lexington on Saturday for the 27th time.  The annual event often draws more than 100,000 people to Lexington, a town of just 20,000.  The Festival culminates a month full of events, including the Tour de Pig bicycle race and the Hawg Shoot air rifle competition.  For a complete schedule of Saturday’s happenings visit the entertainment section of the Festival website

This year the Festival was once again named one of the southeast’s Top 20 Events for October, a distinction that would be more impressive if there were more than 19 events taking place in the region this month.  Just kidding, The Barbecue Festival is a terrific event and worthy of its Top 20 status. I hope to see you somewhere along Main Street on Saturday. I’ll be the guy wearing the grease-stained BBQ Jew t-shirt…

BBQ Events This Weekend

If you’re in the Triangle area this weekend you could do worse than checking out one of these two BBQ-themed events.  First, in Cary (yes, that Cary) on Friday and Saturday is the traveling road show called the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival.  Or, if you are looking for something with a little more of a downhome sophisticate flair, swing by The Flying Saucer in Raleigh on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. for a pairing of Hogwash beer with barbecue.  Twenty bucks gets you five 5-oz pours of Fullsteam Brewery beers and a heaping plate o’ ‘cue.  (A tip of the snout to BBQ Dave for pointing this event out.)

Social Netporking Comes to Lexington

The Barbecue Festival in old timey Lexington has joined the new world of social networking, or netporking as I prefer to call it.  According to Lexington’s daily The Dispatch, “When the 27th Annual Barbecue Festival happens Oct. 23, participants and attendees will be able to ‘tweet’ about it in real time and upload photos and videos on the festival’s new Facebook page.”  Given that everything from the grilled cheese sandwich to watching paint dry has a Facebook page devoted to it, I’m not sure that the Barbecue Festival’s venture into the social networking world is newsworthy, but that’s just my opinion.

You can check out the Barbecue Festival’s brand spanking new Facebook page for yourself if you want to become a “friend” of the large-scale event.  Or if you want to be friends with a smaller, closer knit group of barbecue fools, you can become a friend of The BBQ Jew Crew on Facebook.  Or, since Facebook friends are a dime a dozen, I guess you could choose to friend both the festival and The BBQ Jew Crew.  Like they say, you can pick your Facebook friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your Facebook friend’s nose.

Parties at the Pits

An easy to read post for Friday morning: four belated pictures from Spring barbecue celebrations, the first two from the Cuegrass event at The Pit in Raleigh and the second set at customer appreciation day at the Backyard BBQ Pit #1 in Durham.

Texas Pete Twin City RibFest & Blue Ridge BBQ Festival This Weekend

Looking for something ribtastic to do this weekend?  You could do a lot worse than heading over to Winston-Salem (the city so nice they named cigarettes after it twice) for the Texas Pete Twin City RibFest.  RibFest is in its sixth year and features music (Cyril Neville, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, and more than 20 others), beer (Foothills Brewing, which is one of the state’s best, among others), activities for kids (highlighted by a pirate-themed magician named Captain Jim who is every bit as creepy looking as you might imagine), and plenty of slow-cooked ribs and other good eats.

But wait, there’s more… this year RibFest features a special appearance by none other than the one and only, everybody’s favorite, the man with the master plan, your’s truly, Mr. Porky LeSwine.  Yes, in a rare lapse of judgment, otherwise lucent festival organizer Allen McDavid invited me to help judge the cooking competition on Saturday.  Roughly a dozen cooking teams from all over the eastern half of the country, including two hometown teams, will compete for the judges’ favor.

And speaking of judges, Miss Texas Pete herself decided to join the judge’s panel, presumably because she heard I was going to participate.  Needless to say, her presence puts a dent in my chances of winning the coveted title of prettiest judge but I still think I can win.  And I’m sure Miss Pete will be awed by my dashing good looks and the fact that I carry a bottle of her namesake sauce with me at all times… it’s like expensive cologne for the barbecue set.

Enough of me rambling, go visit the festival website for more details on RibFest or to order advance tickets.  I hope to see you in Winston-Salem this weekend.  Oh, and if you need a “celebrity” judge for your upcoming BBQ event, you know how to reach me…

Winston-Salem too flat for you?  Head for the mountains of Tryon, where the Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival will be taking place.  See this article or the events page for more details.