Newport ready to pig out at annual cooking contest


Charlie Meeks, a past winner in the Newport Pig Cooking Contest, checks the temperature on his entry at last year's event. The 36th annual contest is scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Newport.

Havelock News file photo
Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 05:00 PM.

NEWPORT — Winning last year’s Newport Pig Cooking Contest was hard enough. Defending that top spot may be even harder.

“It’s hard and you know everyone out there is capable of winning,” said Chris Garner, the 2013 winner of the event.

Garner is returning to the Newport Town Park this weekend to fire up the grill as his team and nearly 80 others compete in the largest whole-hog cooking contest in the United States.

Winners of the Newport Pig Cooking take home a trophy and small check but mostly, Garner said, it’s bragging rights to win the big event that’s grown into a top barbecue cook-off as well as a major community event in his hometown.

“We won the state championship in 2007, but winning at home really means a lot,” Garner said.

This marks the 36th year of the pig cooking contest, and while the cook-off is the heart of the event, a band of volunteers continues to turn the park off Howard Boulevard into family-friendly weekend of food, live music, arts and crafts vendors, rides and children’s activities.

“We’ve tried to keep it very family-oriented,” said President Jim Bristle.

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