Go Hog Wild at the NC Barbecue Revival This Weekend

© Eric Waters Photography

By Elyse Inamine Posted October 25, 2016

Reserve your spot at the inaugural three-day fest celebrating barbecued whole pig.

“Barbecue is our state’s cultural heritage, and we knew it was in trouble,” says Wyatt Dickson, the pitmaster behind PICNIC in Durham, North Carolina. “So we wanted to bring together the keepers of the flame and fellowship with those who understand what it means to do NC barbecue: wood-fired, whole-hog barbecue.”

That’s turned into the first NC Barbecue Revival, dedicated to this pig-focused style of barbecue and going down this weekend from October 28 to October 30 in Durham. The collaboration, started by Dickson and Ben Adams from PICNIC and Ryan and Alicia Butler from Green Button Farm, aims to celebrate sustainable meat and the whole-hog tradition.

Tickets are on sale now (prices vary with each event) and feature a host of barbecue talent, like Buxton Hall Barbecue’s Elliot Moss, Lewis Barbecue’s John Lewis, Arrogant Swine’s Tyson Ho, and more.

Here's what a few of the participants have to say about the event—and why whole-hog barbecue is important:

Food & Wine: barbecue revival pulled pork

© Eric Waters Photography

Sam Jones, Sam Jones Barbecue in Winterville, NC “I like to say North Carolina is known for the three B's: basketball, Billy Graham and barbecue! You can choose what pecking order you like, but seriously, barbecue is in a bit of a renaissance. For those who are passionate about barbecue done right, this event is a must. I hope it's an event that continues to grow and promote what we think good ole North Carolina is all about.”

John Lewis, Lewis Barbecue in Charleston, SC “Since moving to the Carolinas last year, I’ve been amazed by how welcoming and kind the barbecue community has been to my team and me. It’s important to continue that tradition and I think the Revival will be a great opportunity to gather inspiration and new friends, not to mention try a lot of great meat.” 

Ryan Butler, Green Button Farm and PICNIC, Durham, NC “It's about feeding souls, not just bellies. And doing that on the land where the pigs are raised.”

Food & Wine: barbecue dinner

© Eric Waters Photography

Tyson Ho, Arrogant Swine, Brooklyn, NY “I'm involved in this event because I support all causes that push the spread of whole-hog barbecue. While Kansas City- and Texas-style barbecue have thrived and spread all over the country and abroad, Carolina whole hog has been dying even in its motherland. There are less than 20 pitmasters in the entire country still doing classic wood-fired whole hog. As the Northeast's only pitmaster specializing in the style, this saddens me. We must energize a revival of our tradition, and the revival begins where all barbecue began.”

Mike Moore, Old Etowah Smokehouse, Etowah, NC “The tradition and culture of whole-hog barbecue is one of the most historic foodways we have in this state and it has always been highly revered. I am very proud to take a part in the NC Barbecue Revival because it pays homage to the past of North Carolina barbecue while also signifying its future with new barbecue restaurants and a younger generation of pitmasters and connoisseurs that will keep traditions alive and well. This event is produced by folks that care greatly about the heritage of barbecue and carry it into the future, and that is so important in preserving a historic food way.”

Bryan Furman, B’s Cracklin’ BBQ, Savannah, GA “I think the Revival is great at bringing the barbecue community together. Barbecue is so diverse—so many ways to cook it and everyone is different in their approach. I’m involved because I believe in the old-fashioned way of cooking. Cooking in a legendary lineup of pitmasters is phenomenal, however just cooking with some of my buddies is enough for me.”

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