Downtown Washington festivities cook, cruise

Published 8:46 am Sunday, October 28, 2007

By Staff
Woman clenches pig-cooking crown
By DAN PARSONS, Staff Writer
For the first time in history a female has taken the title of number-one pig cooker at Smoke on the Water.
Brooke Sanford, 20, of Newport, beat out 29 other barbecuers to be crowned Smoke on the Water Barbecue Champion Saturday afternoon on Stewart Parkway.
Sanford has been cooking pigs for a few years with her father, Clent, but her award-winning hog was her initial attempt without his help.
Sanford and the other competitors began cooking their pigs Friday night, despite pouring rain. They attended their cookers all night before judging Saturday morning.
Her father said he was very proud of her, but worried she wouldn’t need him to cook anymore.
Without revealing any trade secrets, Sanford said she has one unique element that may have contributed to her win. She cooks with a pink grill. The traditional steel-drum grill she cooks with is less flashy than most, but it brought her a pig-topped trophy and a $12,000 cash prize.
Winning $900 in second place in the cookoff was Leslie Deaton. Steve Ivey came in third for a prize of $700. Trophies were also given to fourth through tenth-place winners. Deaton and Ivey also took the top spots in a performance category.
Ivey took first in showmanship, bagging a deep-fried turkey cooker while Deaton took second in the showmanship award, taking a trophy and a smoker grill as a reward
A third competition judged the best chili made during the festival. Kevin Washington took first place, followed by Steve Fuchs in second and Lynwood Ambrose in third. The awards were presented by Washington Mayor Judy Meier Jennette and Daily News Contributing Editor Mike Voss, who was also a barbecue judge.
In the midst of a drought, nature decided to wet down the contestants last night, but drove no one away from the popular celebration of eastern North Carolina’s intimate relationship with roasted pork. Voss said during the presentation that he was worried some contestants wouldn’t show because of the weather. But, most clad in waterproof jackets, the contestants came out and witnessed a Smoke on the Water first.
After reading Sanford’s name, Jennette answered why history had been made.