Wide Open Bluegrass 2016 – BBQ Experience at the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship

The Whole Hog BBQ Championship

This weekend I came into Raleigh Durham to visit the ‘Wide Open Bluegrass Festival’ with Cindy and Mike @RunnersThoughts. Apart from the Bluegrass, Mike also promised us that we would be able to get some BBQ from the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship so this was a day out potentially with a win win situation.

During the day the cooked barbecue was collected after judging, chopped and sold to the general public by the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle for $5, but we were headed for the BBQ Experience which was a hosted dinner by The North Carolina Pork Council.

BBQ Experience poster

There were three events and we were at the Saturday Evening event which was a dinner hosted by Chef Tyson Ho from Arrogant Swine in NYC. The official blurb from the website was as follows;

“Saturday, October 1, Dinner:
A New York native, Chef Tyson Ho knows that North Carolina barbecue is the original and the best. He trained under North Carolina pit masters before taking his trade back to the Big Apple, where his restaurant, Arrogant Swine, has received rave reviews. For this dinner, Tyson is coming back to where it all began and serving his North Carolina barbecue in the heart of NC’s capital city. Using North Carolina’s Cheshire Pork, Tyson will be smoking his whole hogs over wood and serving it alongside slaw and hush puppies. Don’t miss this opportunity to taste and see how NYC does NC barbecue.”

The BBQ Dinner

BBQ plate at Raleigh

This was a pretty interesting plate of BBQ and probably my first proper experience of North Carolina style. The whole hog chopped pork was plentiful, it was juicy and had a mild smoke taste. The trick seemed to be to add some of the watery vinegar based BBQ sauce to add more tangy flavour. The meal came with some super crunchy pork scratchings and some deep fried hush puppies filled with soft potato.

There was a terrific mustard and apple slaw on the side of the plate that really surprised me. It was creamy with a very light flavour of mustard and plenty of apple chunks mixed into the crunchy cabbage. I expected some thing really powerful but it was actually a pretty light side.

The plate came with a very tart and sweet lemon blackberry crumble which really made the mouth water as it was so tart. It was interesting though.

It was a really nicely done BBQ platter and I really enjoyed my ‘BBQ experience’ at the hands of Chef Tyson Ho

I cant wait to try some more Carolina BBQ on my travels!

BBQ Experience Chalk Board

Menu Chalkboard at BBQ experience

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