Nation’s top barbecue cooks to compete here

Published 10:48 am Monday, November 1, 2010

WINDSOR—Some of nation’s top barbecue cooks will be in Isle of Wight County this weekend, doing what they do best.

Fifteen Memphis BBQ Network-sanctioned teams will be cooking up their finest during the first-ever Hamtown Pork & Fork Contest on Friday, Nov. 5, and Saturday, Nov. 6, in Heritage Park at Isle of Wight Fairgrounds in Windsor.

“These are professionals who go all over the country,” said Terry Rhinier, special events coordinator for Smithfield and Isle of Wight Tourism Bureau, a co-sponsor of the festival. “This is what they do for a living. They cook barbecue and go after big prize money and trophies.”

The festival also will feature eight backyard teams, who are local folks, Rhinier said.

The idea for the festival evolved from a barbecue cook-off held during Smithfield Olden Days Festival, an annual June event.

“It was so well received that we decided we’d like to have a sanctioned barbecue cook-off,” Rhinier said. “Smithfield Packing and Smithfield Foods wanted to get involved and they chose MBN. It’s the world’s oldest barbecue group.”

Teams must follow rules, and MBN certified judges choose winners.

Prizes for amateurs range from $50 to $250 and for professionals, $150 to $2000. The registration deadline has passed.

The festival will open Friday with an Anything Butt Cooking Contest from 5 to 10 p.m. Teams will make barbecue from anything but pork, Rhinier said.

The Aces Up Band will play from 5:30 to 7 p.m. followed by Past Due Band 7:30 to 9:30. Beer will be available.

The weekend also will include the sale of $5 raffle tickets for two top-of-the-line LANG Smokers. Vendors will be set up for shopping and dining opportunities.

Saturday, the festival will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. festival-goers can take part in a corn hole tournament. To register for singles or doubles, visit

The day also will feature the music of Carbon Jam from 10 to11:00 a.m., CoastLand from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m., Don Hamlett from 1 to 2 and Nashville recording artist David Adam Byrnes and The Sweets D’s featuring Joey Marade from 2 to 4:30.

The Hamtown Pork & Fork Fest is also sponsored by Smithfield, Lang Smokers, Sam’s Club, Cryovac, Smithfield Station and Coastal RV.

The entrance fee is $5 each day. Tickets bought for $5 in advance will be good for both days. Advance tickets are available at the Smithfield and Isle of Wight Visitor Center at 319 Main St. in Smithfield and Farmer’s Bank locations..