071 Live at Hogs for the Cause 2019

Hogs for the Cause

071 Live at


This is Episode Five of Season Six, my U.S. Road Trip Part II. It is party time in this episode, as you might tell by the time we get to the last interview! In this episode I head to the University of New Orleans for the annual Hogs for the Cause BBQ competition. This is a charity competition who’s sole purpose is to raise money for kids with brain cancer. The beautiful people from Ubon’s BBQ Of Yazoo, Mississippi had adopted me for the weekend and man oh man did I learn a lot from them about cooking whole hog! Interviews in this Ep range from professional competitors to champions of BBQ fundraising to one man who was hand-picked by President Barrack Obama to be a culinary ambassador to Australia!



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With Adam from The Company Burger

  • Whole hog is first, then ribs, butts and Pork Pouri
  • All funds raised go to families of kids with brain cancer
  • They were GC in 2012
  • Desserts have become popular in the Pork Pouri category – he’s doing a bacon soft serve
  • They run a Peg Leg Smoker and a home built one

With Justin from Foxeria Del Sol

  • What keeps bringing him back?
    • The first year had him hooked
    • They won a bunch of trophies
    • The second year they got really involved
    • They’ve raised 600k in five years, and just this year raised over 200k
    • They’ve been third place fundraisers for the last few years
  • BBQ is all about community, celebration and being with friends
  • They are cooking on two smokers
    • A Moberg Offset
    • A Pit Cooker by BQ Grills from South Carolina
    • They are doing a 270lb Pig 
  • For Pork Pouri – duck bacon bomb, wrapped in bacon

The Ninja and The Princess

  • They’re from Ubon’s BBQ of Yazoo City in Mississippi
  • They’re here more for the camaraderie and raising money for kids
  • It’s their first competition of the season
  • They pull people in from all over the world
  • The competition started 13 years ago to raise money for a family friend
  • Ubons has raised 15k
  • Ninja has a busy year lined up
    • He’s going to Pig Beach in New York
    • Crawfish Boil at Pig Beach
    • Memphis in May
    • June Denver Q and an open fire outdoor event
  • The founder of the team, Gary Roark, kicked things off for them in 1989 and sadly passed away a year ago
  • Ninja’s favourite thing to cook is an alligator
    • There’s a lot of Adrenalin involved
    • The animal is treated with respect for the animal as he processes and cleans them to feed his family
  • Princess’s favourite thing to cook is soup dumpling and pork buns
    • Ribs and chicken are also some of her favourites 
  • Their Top 5 BBQ Joints outside of Ubons
    • Papi’s in St Louis
    • Salt Lick in Texas
    • 17th Street in Illinois
    • The Shed in Mississippi
    • Memphis BBQ Company in Memphis

With Neil from Team Wet Wet

  • This is his 7th year
    • They like to cook food, have fun, and support charity
  • They all live in New Orleans and became friends while tailgating
  • They have won 2nd Place Ribs twice and 3rd place 
    • His ribs are his secret weapon and he’s keeping his secrets
  • He has a Frankenstein grill that they’ve put together from pieces of other grills

With Drew from Team Fleur de Que

  • Some team members compete at other competitions, but Hogs for the Cause is their main competition
  • They have a huge set up which they expect to fill with 400 – 500 people
    • It’s for a party to say thank you to the sponsors
    • They have a lot of corporate sponsors and donors
  • They are the Fundraising Champions
    • They are all decent cooks and have won some prizes for their cooking
    • Nine years ago they decided to win the trophy every year, with the hope that it would one day be named after them
    • Every member on the team has fundraising targets and if they don’t get there, they get rotated out
    • There is a waiting list of people wanting to get into the team
    • Last year, they raised $342k
    • They beat last year’s rival Boar’s Nest by $442
      • To celebrate they bought an Oldsmobile 442 and completely restored it to raffle off at the comp

With Anthony from Swig’n’Swing

  • This is his second time at the festival
    • It’s the cause that brings them back again and again
    • The money goes to the family that need it
    • He’s competing with his friends from Blue Oak
  • He owns 4 restaurants around Charleston
  • The Judges don’t have to be trained to judge at Hogs for the Cause. 
    • There’s only one trained judge per table
    • This means there is more creativity than a regular KCBS competition

With Phil and Ronnie from Blue Oak BBQ

  • This will be their 6th or 7th year
  • They usually place TopTen and were Grand Champions in 2017
  • You only get a year to hold onto the trophy and then you have to give it back
  • They experiment with different things from their restaurants to try and come up with new and unique things
  • They have to hit the meat with a lot of seasoning for New Orleans palettes

With Patrick Feges from Feges BBQ 

  • He’s working with the guys from Blue Oak BBQ
  • He’s doing a Peanut Butter and Jelly Chocolate Cake with Pork in it – fat and bacon for their Pork Pouri hand-in
  • Just hit his first anniversary in his BBQ joint in a food court in Texas
  • This is his 1st Hogs for the Cause
  • He’s the roustabout of this team

With Craig ‘The BBQ Ninja’ Verhage

  • He’s really happy with the way the cook has gone through the night
  • The Whole Hog is a show-stopper
  • The Whole Hog judging at NOLA
    • It’s a blind box judging system of ham, loin and shoulder
    • It’s an honour system with regard to ensuring that people are cooking the pig whole
  • At Memphis in May, the judges come to your site to inspect and eat
  • The competition is great for pulling people together from all over the country to be a part of it

With Erin the BBQ Dutchess

  • Normally they’re in rubber boots by Day 2, but the weather has been beautiful
  • She was in charge of the whole hog
  • Her Dad joined the team when she was 3 or 4 years old
    • Progressed to bar tender at age 11
    • At age 16 she and her sister got involved with the cooking
    • Now she and her sister are in charge of the whole hog
  • They will split the hog down the midde
    • Break open the ribs to expose the loin
    • Take off the membrane
    • Cut back the bacon from the rib cage to get bark bacon
    • Season and inject
  • They cook it on a ‘backwards Backwoods’ – it’s a homemade smoker based on a Backwoods
    • The fire is in the bottom, then a water pan, then the pig on a grill
    • They cook it for about 20 hours and then flip it using a lazy Susan type 
  • Shoulder, loin and ham must all be in the box. This shows off the ability of the pitmaster to cook all the parts to perfection

With Neil from Royal Oak Charcoal

  • It’s his 1st time and he’s hooked. He wants to come back every year
  • The focus on hogs in the south is very different to competitions up north
  • The hospitality set this competition apart as well
  • Royal Oak charcoal is made from American wood
    • Wood is sourced from lumber yards with the processing plants built right next door
    • The wood is all oak and hickory
    • It’s locally sourced
    • They use the bits of wood that can’t be used as lumber or furniture so it’s good for the environment
  • They have some people working there that are 4th generation
  • Their charcoal has a ‘glass’ sound
    • The sound that well-dried charcoal makes when the chunks clink together
  • Their pride and joy is their lump charcoal, baked in kilns
    • The leftovers from the lump charcoal process gets ground up and formed into briquettes
    • They have ‘Tumbleweeds’ – 100% natural fire lighters

With Danny from Pearl’s Southern Comfort 

  • He’s a friend of Craig ‘The BBQ Ninja’ Verhage
  • Pearl’s Southern Comfort restaurant serves southern food – jambalaya, gumbo etc so coming to Hogs for the Cause is a tax deduction
  • In Chicago they use an ‘Aquarium Style Cooker’
    • Glass fronted, fire underneath
    • Fire is controlled with water hoses
    • Rib Tips and Hot Links was how BBQ got started in Chicago
    • Now there are many styles
  • About 20 of the best Pitmasters in the country come to Hogs for the Cause

With Carey from Peg Leg Porker

  • HFTC does more for a charity than any other competition
  • He’s working with team Company Burger at HFTC
  • Peg Leg Porkers compete in Memphis in May and the lads from Company Burger compete on his team at MiM
  • BBQ in Tennessee
    • He has a restaurant in West Tennessee
    • ‘Real Tennessee BBQ’ is Pork & Chicken
    • They only put Kosher salt on it while they smoke, then right before it goes onto the plate, they hit it with seasoning giving you the full flavour and colour
    • It’s a derivative of a Greek Seasoning
    • The ribs don’t come to the table sauced and sticky
  • He hasn’t brought any of his influences to the competition
  • He brought the smoker, which he built himself
    • The BMF 200
      • Triple walled, vertical ,reverse flow
      • The heat and smoke come in the top and out the bottom
      • 1 20lb bag of charcoal will burn at 220F for 10 to 12 hours

With Chef Tory from Commander’s Executive Palace in New Orleans

  • There were 90-odd professional BBQ teams at HFTC
  • Was hand-picked by President Barrack Obama to be a Culinary Diplomat to Australia
    • One of five chefs chosen for culinary diplomacy
    • He specialised in dishes like Gumbo
  • They’ve been up for two days
  • His BBQ team’s name is ‘Silence of the Hams’
    • They did an Andouille Corn Dog at their first competition with Fava bean ketchup
  • HFTC is all about having some fun and doing something different to his day job, which is very serious
  • Last year they won Whole Hog
    • He feels like the pig he cooked this year was even better
    • The Pig was flown in specially from North Carolina

Hogs for the Cause Reserve Grand Champion: Mr Pigglesworth

Hogs for the Cause Grand Champion: Aporkalypse Now NOLA


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