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Surprises everywhere at record-breaking BBQ competition

CHOCOWINITY—Several records were smashed last weekend, at Chocowinity Volunteer Fire Department’s annual “Smokin’ on the Southside” BBQ event. 

Instead of fire department volunteers cooking all the pork and chicken, the pig portion was handled by 22 contestants in the department’s first-ever competition on the state’s Whole Hog BBQ circuit. 

After an all-night cook-off, four judges from the North Carolina Pork Council decided the winner was DJ Stox of Kinley, who won in the “natural source” class in the 2020 state BBQ championship over a charcoal heat source.  Stox’s win on Saturday is a record all its own, according to judge Brownie Futrell. “Over 30 years’ time, there’s never been a ‘coal cook’ winner in an ‘open class’ event, where cooks with gas heat sources have always won,” he said. Until last weekend.

As for the fire department, those 22 hogs translated into about 2,600 pounds of BBQ.  When the smoke cleared, Chief Tommy Pendley learned that, unlike typical $4,000 years, this event raised about $16,000 for updated equipment and pandemic related supplies.

“We sold around 1,500 plates, and had to turn away over 150 people after we ran out. We are very, very grateful at how the public has supported us,” Pendley said. “This year has blown our minds for sure. We will definitely order more hogs for next year,” he promised.