Swine Time!

Published 8:57 am Wednesday, May 15, 2019

MURFREESBORO – The “Super Bowl” of whole hog cooking is coming to Murfreesboro this weekend.

The 18th annual Roanoke-Chowan Pork Fest will be held Saturday, May 18 on the grounds of the Brady C. Jefcoat Museum, located on High Street in Murfreesboro. There, as many as two dozen chefs, to include five former state champions, will compete for cash and prizes.

Charles Chestnut (Three Little Pigs BBQ) is the reigning champion. Last year’s runner-up, Chris Fineran (Beach Boys BBQ), is the three-time reigning North Carolina Pitmaster of the Year. He already has two wins on the 2019 North Carolina Whole Hog Barbecue circuit.

What’s so unique about the annual Pork Fest is that patrons have the opportunity to visit the cooking sites and chat with the chefs on Saturday morning, beginning at 8 a.m. There, the tantalizing aroma of slow-roasted pork will fill the air.

Beginning at around 10 a.m., judges from the North Carolina Pork Council will make their rounds and “score” each entry on appearance, color, crispness, moisture content, and taste. A score is also applied to overall condition of the cook site.

Once all the pork is judged, a small army of local volunteers go to work….gathering the meat from the cooking sites where it is finely minced and doused with Murfreesboro’s top-secret barbecue sauce. That pork, along with potatoes, slaw and hot hushpuppies prepared on site, is served for lunch beginning at 12 noon. Patrons can eat under a huge tent or purchase plates to go.

There will also be a concession stand on site selling soft drinks, hot dogs and barbecue sandwiches.

And the Pork Fest would not be complete without its world famous strawberry shortcake. That “goodness in a bowl” will be offered for sale from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Other planned activities include:

9 am – 4 pm – Craft and antique dealers are open for business;

10 am – 3 pm – The Piggly Wiggly Pig and SECU Fat Cat will entertain children and pose for photos;

10 am – 4 pm – Free children’s games and activities, including an inflatable jump house, fishing, 1-hole golf, photo opportunities, and basketball free throw contest (face painting is offered for a fee to the vendor);

10 am – 3 pm – Dozens of antique automobiles on display;

11 am – 3 pm – Entertainment on the outdoor stage;

11 am – 1:30 pm – Tour all three floors of the Jefcoat Museum, including Mr. Jefcoat’s famed Music Box Collection; the Bea and Howard Simmons Collection (in the Home Economic Building), and Dickey Hoggard’s Native American exhibit (in the Ag Building); and

12:30 – 1 pm – Awards presentation on the outdoor stage to winners of Whole Hog BBQ cooking.

Admission includes all events and the barbecue meal. Advance tickets ($10 each) are currently available at the Murfreesboro Historical Association office in the Roberts-Vaughan House on Main Street in Murfreesboro from 9 am until 1 pm on Monday through Friday; NAPA, King’s Coffee, State Employees Credit Union and Southern Bank, all in Murfreesboro, and in Ahoskie at Wholesale Cash and Carry.

Tickets ($15 each) can be purchased on the day of the event.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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