This past weekend we attended our first BBQ festival here in the US (actually our first BBQ festival ever). The Jiggy with the Piggy BBQ challenge festival was held in Kannapolis, NC.
Kannapolis is about an hours drive from where we live in Charlotte, that is a far drive for not really knowing what to expect from the BBQ festival but driving to different neighborhoods is the only way to explore this State and ultimately this Country.
We love meat and luckily our daughter showed signs from a very young age that she too loves meat, we often joke and say we are definitely not raising a vegetarian, not that there is anything wrong with being a vegetarian but we just so love meat, any meat and preparing meatless meals would be very hard.
As soon as we arrived in Kannapolis we could smell the smoke of freshly prepared pulled pork lingering in the air straight from the smokers on the fields of North Carolina Research Campus. We knew we were in for something amazing.
The research field looked like a festival itself with all the colorful tents, trucks and customized smokers of all the BBQing teams. A huge movie screen was erected to the far side of the field, playing the animated movie Cars for the kids. At the top of the field was the tasting tent (heaven), to the right was the food services where the Firemen prepared meals for fundraising and then to the right of the fields was the craft market. This craft market was in the streets between the most beautiful old buildings – great architecture.
The challenge has two legs: one the pulled port will be tasted and scored by professionals and the other part is the same pulled pork gets tasted and scored by ordinary people like us (blind tastings). You pay $10 for 10 samples. We are 2 so naturally we paid $20 for 20 samples (this worked out to 6 cups of pulled pork – more than 2000 calories). This was great as we were so hungry and I craved pulled pork for more than two weeks before this event – a win-win for all.
Once you have tasted all the samples, you can select your winner, this task turned out to be much more difficult than I thought as some of them tasted the same and all of them tasted so good, I chose the pulled pork with a hint of cinnamon as I just love cinnamon. We did arrive too late as some of the sample plates were already empty, plus we only tastes 20 of the 45 samples so the validity of our vote was in question but who cares!
After our 6 cups of pulled pork, we browsed the craft market and the main streets of Kannapolis just to walk off some of those calories and in search of a beer, this brings me to the only downfall of this event: no beer. I would say pulled pork and a cold one goes together like green on grass.
I would definitely attend this event next year and maybe even the year there after.
Go to the link below and diarize this for next year!
Ps. sunscreen! and get there early to avoid empty sample plates, if pulled pork is not your thing – the evening before the pulled pork is the wings challenge….hmmm!