BBQ on the Neuse kicks off in Kinston

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — After a week of flooding in the area, Kinston’s BBQ festival is officially underway.

“We come out here to win,” said BBQ cook Jim Bristle. “We’re here for the money.”

At first glance, the festival looks like a campsite, but take a closer look and you’ll realize this is something serious. It is the largest whole hog competition in the state

“A little bit of heritage; it’s also a little bit of history,” said Tammy Kelly, BBQ competition chair.

So is this the World Series of barbecue?

“Yeah close,” said Bristle.

And there are some pretty interesting players if you walk around the field a little bit.

“I’m actually cooking against my father, which is the reason why I’m here today,” said BBQ cook Amy Whitley.

It’s a father-daughter duo turned BBQ rivals.

And with all the pitmasters in town, there’s a lot of talent in one place, 9OYS Zora Stephenson asked an important question: What is the secret to a good pig?

“You gotta have a good skin and gotta have a set of judges that like that you do,” said Meeks.

“You gotta have that right pig,” Bristles agreed.

While there are bragging rights and some cash on the line, the event is about way more than smoking a pig on a grill. It means something to these folks.

“Tradition,” said Whitley. “Tradition in a local town, the community has been through a lot. It was just something to get everybody together to get their mind off the worst things and try to move forward.”

“In the end, when it comes down to it, we all help each other out,” said Whitley. “That’s the way it is.”

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