One of the season’s premier barbecue events will unfurl its multicuisine menu Saturday when the annual Wild Pig Cook-Off takes over the town square in Evant.
More than 15 cooking teams registered for the event, which is free and open to the public.
“They’ll start at 5 a.m.,” said Jackie Boykin, coordinator and representative of the Lone Star Barbecue Society, the official organization sanctioning this year’s competition. “It’s fascinating to watch the cooks tend to their products — the skill level is amazing.”
The piece de resistance, feral hog, is supplied by Fort Worth’s Frontier Meats. “This is interesting,” Boykin said. “It’s exotic, compared to the usual beef brisket and chicken.” The event will feature what she calls “blind judging — we’ll ask for judges on the spot, review our official judging sheet, and they’ll be evaluating samples tagged numerically, so no one knows whose entry they’re tasting.”
Citing aroma, texture and taste, the nonprofit seeks to quantify and measure the finer points of barbecue: meat that falls off the bone with mouth-watering seasoning and stresses appreciation of “the State Food of Texas.” The organization will sanction 90 statewide cook-offs this year for other nonprofit groups.
“We’ll have a bounce house for little kids, a snow cone stand and wild pig sandwiches with chips, and drinks will be sold by the senior class from Evant High School,” said Pat Parr, city secretary.
Judging begins at 11 a.m. with “jackpot beans.” Each entrant places $10 “in a pot, and the winner gets the total,” Parr said. The other judged categories, which include brisket and pork spare ribs, will be awarded throughout the afternoon, with a combined total prize payout of $5,000. Cooking teams compete for points as well, and most travel the state’s barbecue circuit in a quest for the coveted Cooker of the Year award presented in January.
In addition to cash awards, Saturday’s cook-off presents trophies and certificates to winners. The reserve and grand prize winners will be announced about 4:30 or 5 p.m., with one significant qualifier.
As befitting the name of Saturday’s multidish competition, Boykin made it clear: “The grand prize winner must cook wild pig.”