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FACT: Learning from friends, family and at competitions is the best way to improve cooking skills    
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BBQ Tour Stop #22: Rocky Mount, NC

October 14, 2010
The Eastern Carolina BBQ Throwdown in Rocky Mount, NC was the next stop on the BBQ Tour. This event is actually a couple of festivals all wrapped into one and is spread throughout the downtown area; it is complete with crafters, a children’s area and a music stage, along with the BBQ teams and the cook-off area.

On Thursday when we arrived onsite, we were invited to visit a cooking trailer that is being utilized by the military. The trailer runs on diesel fuel and extremely low energy usage. The technology incorporated was fantastic and cutting edge.

This event is Saturday only, so after we loaded in the trailer and set up the stage on Friday, we spent the evening visiting with teams. We ran into My Sweet Hog Cookin team, which we also saw at the Newport Pig Cooking contest at our first stop of the year. We recognized the familiar “pig coffin” cooker set up in their cook site. Serial Grillers and Cool Smoke were here after a long trip from Kansas City the prior weekend. Tarheel Smokers, Big Mo from Aho and Checkered Pig were also cooking a little closer to home, all hoping for one of the championship trophies – custom glass pieces made specifically for the contest! Friday night also was potluck night, and we were invited to join the teams for some outstanding food.  Roger with Pickin’ Porkers fixed escargot, and there was plenty of food to go around. The local Rocky Mount Police Department even showed up to clean out the dishes!

We h ad a warm, sunny Saturday and the crowds came out in droves. We passed out loads of samples between our demonstrations and couldn’t have done it without our helpers, who were fantastic!

At the award ceremony, 44 teams packed around the stage waiting and hoping to get a top three call. While the event paid out to 10th place with ribbons, only the top three got the beautiful glass blown custom made trophies. After the “anything butt” and dessert, chicken was the first category and one of the calls was first-time cook, Chuck of Apex BBQ for 3rd place. We met Chuck back in Franklin and again in Kansas City, as he normally judges. Chuck also got a 5th place rib call and was on top of the world! Our good friends Tommy, Lisa, Hunter and Brooke of Checkered Pig, who we normally run into out in Sparks, won the rib category. Rob was “one” worthless nut as he was cooking on his own this weekend and placed third in pork, while Tuffy from Cool Smoke won the category. Lastly was brisket, which I think is one of the hardest categories, was won by P & D’s BBQ – they were also crowned Reserve Grand Champion, while Grog N Hogs got three calls and the Grand Champion trophy!

After awards and packing up, we headed back to the hotel to clean up and hit Outback with contest reps, Don and Mick and their spouses. It was a nice way to unwind and get to know the KCBS reps a little better. Rocky Mount is a great KCBS event, and we heard nothing but good comments from all the teams.

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