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Festival provokes senses (PHOTO GALLERY)

Published 9:06pm Saturday, October 19, 2013

Plenty of moisture Friday and Saturday made for an excellent Smoke on the Water.
Yes, the annual festival on Washington’s waterfront was a bit wet thanks to occasional rain. But the moisture that made the festival excellent was the moisture in the barbecue, according to those who judged the whole-hog barbecue contest.
“Excellent. Excellent. Every one of them was very, very moist. We didn’t have any dry pigs at all,” said Spencer Stanley, barbecue-contest coordinator and one of the judges. “Skin was very crispy, the color was great. Looking very good.”
Jim Bristle, another of the judges, was more than pleased with the quality of barbecue. Bristle, who’s judged the annual barbecue contest in Newport where contestants number about 100 at times, was impressed with the quality of the pigs given to the cookers to prepare.
“I think they’re the best ones I’ve seen in years,” Bristle said. “That’s the most moisture I’ve seen in pigs in eons. It’s a combination of cookers and supplier.”
Acre Station Meat Farm, a Beaufort County business, provided the pigs.
“Most pigs nowadays are dry. They don’t have no moisture in them. These were beautiful — every one of them. I couldn’t believe it,” Bristle said.
John Kearney’s Haulin’ Hog team from Goldsboro won the barbecue contest, with Charlie Meeks’ Capt. Charlie’s Cooks team (sponsored by Carlton’s Salvage) taking second place. Joe Peterson’s Down Home Cookers finished in third place, followed by William Alan Burgess’ Conway Smokin’ Pigs earning a fourth-place finish.
“Luck,” replied Kearney when asked how he won the barbecue contest. “I got a good pig. I had a real good pig. I was very well pleased.”
Kearney placed eighth in the North Carolina whole-hog barbecue contest last month in Raleigh.
“The News & Observer asked him what is his favorite barbecue contest,” said Stanley. “And what did you tell them?”
“Smoke on the Water,” replied Kearney. “I love it here.”
A funeral for Betsy Mae Sow, presided over by the Rev. Pigglesworth and with Elvis Pigsley delivering a piggy prayer, brought home the bacon — make that first-place trophy — in the barbecue contest’s showmanship competition for Mike Horne’s I Grill U Chill team.
Leola Dorsey, a client of The Blind Center of North Carolina, won the chili contest, sponsored by the center. Fravel Lane claimed second place in the chili competition, with Steven Fuchs, taking third place.
The aromas of barbecued pigs and myriad chili recipes combined Saturday morning to greet and tempt visitors and volunteer workers at Smoke on the Water, a major fundraising project for Washington Noon Rotary, which used profits from the event to help for its many programs that benefit Washington and Beaufort County.

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