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2012 Tour Stop #9 - Central MD Swinetastic BBQ Festival

June 16, 2012

This time last year, Christine and I had an off weekend in the Washington, D.C. area so we stopped by the Central Maryland Swinetastic BBQ Festival. We were extremely impressed by the organization and the professionalism of this first-year contest, so we were very happy to learn we would be attending the festival this year.

Teams started loading in on Thursday. At this event, for the most part, teams are loaded in as they arrive and then placed in that order. It makes for a very orderly load-in and forces teams to make new friends. For us, it was super easy as event-helper Max quickly greeted us and led us to our spot right in the middle of the event.

We were surprised to have a visitor, Mike, from our prior weekend at the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party stop by to see us again. Mike told me about a barbecue he would be cooking for at Walter Reed Hospital and I encouraged him to stop by again later and we would send what we could to help out. We gave Mike some extra Smithfield® loins and ribs to help the cause. I received an e-mail from Mike the following week with a forwarded message from the event organizer who shared how successful the event was for all involved. It was nice to be able to make a small contribution.

Many events still use the standard trophies for the winners, but the Central Maryland Swinetastic BBQ Festival went above and beyond all expectations. They had a chainsaw artist on hand to carve the Grand Champion, Reserve Grand Champion and category winner trophies. The chainsaw artist carved a 3-foot-tall rooster for chicken, "Fred Flintstone" ribs for the rib category, a pig for pork and a longhorn steer head for brisket.

A total of 69 teams competed at the event’s second year and at the end of the day, 4:20 Q won the chicken category, Big D's won the rib category, Philly Blind Pig BBQ won the pork and Big Mook's BBQ won brisket. Tasty Licks BBQ won Reserve Grand Champion and Deguello BBQ won Grand Champion! This event had the highest percentage of Kingsford® cooks of any contest we have been at yet and all the category winners, Reserve Grand Champion and Grand Champion cooked with Kingsford® charcoal.

We are usually the last ones packing up at an event, but not this time. Tom and Marie from Philly Blind Pig BBQ seemed to be packing and unpacking everything in their vehicle. Being experienced packers ourselves, Christine and I went over to offer assistance. It seemed they had not planned on taking home a 100-pound tree trunk carved into a pig for their pork win, so they were having trouble making it fit. I offered to haul it around for them but was told that Marie would be left before the pig would. I “think" Tom was just kidding… Lucky for Marie, they made everything fit.

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