This past weekend the Shore Smoke Seasonings Tailgate Tasting Tour took off down to LaGrange, North Carolina for the first annual Whole Hog Cookoff at Riley’s Southern Goods and Garden. LaGrange, North Carolina is one of my favorite places in this world to visit,
because it normally means True Smoke event time, but even when it’s not a True Smoke event it’s always well represented. This is probably the fifth or sixth event I’ve attended at Riley’s and all I can say is it never disappoints. They are first class in every event they host, and they spare no expense. This event was benefiting the Ronald McDonalds Children’s House so that tells you all you need to know about the kindness and generosity of Ryan and his staff. I arrived early and found fellow Shore Smoke family, J-3 BBQ setting up so decided they would make wonderful neighbors, and at that same moment, my teammates Will Clement and Brandon Wallace of Triple B Cooking Team pulled in and thought the same thing. As we began to unpack, we started to realize this may be a more challenging event than we had anticipated. The weather was calling for 10mph winds but when we looked it up again for that evening it had changed to 25-30mph. Anyone who has done an overnight cook soon realizes this is going to be one long night with conditions hovering just around freezing. After getting set up and having the Kountry Boyz arrive and set up on the other side of us made me realize we have some stiff competition for the evening. David Watkins and Chris Hatcher both admins from True Smoke stopped by and chatted for a while as we discussed preparations for this year’s Spring Fling. This year’s Spring Fling is a little more special to us because Shore Smoke has the honor of hosting it this go-round. Appetites began to stir up and soon the grills were fired up all around. Our team decided we were doing beef n cheddar wings, and crab legs, and all of it was over the moon. The beef n cheddars had some Game Day all over them after a 2 ½ hour smoke. Melted cheddar and some smoked onions and peppers with That’s Amore had these sandwiches hitting a home run. Brandon came in clutch with the Arbys Horsey sauce which is a must with any beef n cheddar. The wings were nothing short of amazing. I let Brandon in on the secret of our seafood seasoning Ocean Pursuit on chicken and he said let’s give it a shot. They hit the grill for about 45 minutes and came out spectacular. Crab Legs got the same treatment of Ocean Pursuit and a hot grill and finished with a That’s Amore garlic butter. The pig came late at night and Will, Brandon, and I went to work on cleaning and prepping the pig. After a few hours, it was time for the pig to make its way on and settle in for the night. Will and Brandon did an amazing job of teaching me the finer points of what to look for on the hog and what you don’t want to see. A long night of trying to stay warm, keep an eye on the hog, and sleep in the truck for the short time you could manage to sleep but we made it through and by 8:45 the next morning the judges made their way to our tent, and tore the hog to shreds (literally). After that, it was haul the meat to the tent for Ryan’s team to start chopping up all the BBQ for the public.

After a quick tear down of our site and everything packed away, we waited until 10 for the announcement we were all waiting for. Well, I am stoked to tell you we finished in the top 10 and took a ninth place finish out of 21 teams. This was my first event
and for some stiff competition, we were stoked. A huge thank you to Will and Brandon for allowing me to tag along and when I tell you these guys did all the heavy lifting, and I was the social media guy but moving that hog and cleaning it was pretty awesome.
Unfortunately, you can only use salt for these hog competitions so no Shore Smoke Seasoning for this cook. An amazing experience and I have a whole new respect for these competitors because they fought some pretty brutal conditions, and everyone made it look relatively easy. I look forward to cooking another hog in the future, but I’ll tell ya one thing it will damn sure be
when it’s warm. Thanks to everyone who came out and supported such a great cause.


Once again thank you to the staff at Riley’s Southern Goods and Gardens for hosting an amazing event as always.

For more information on the Shore Smoke Seasonings Tailgate Tasting Tour or to reach out for us to attend your event please contact
-Ryan Stevenson