Swined and Dined – Hub City Hogfest 2018
Much like I do while using Tourism Alabama’s 100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die, I have been gobbling up unique South Carolina dishes on a quest to find my top 100 SC food dishes. Having read in my local S.C. newspaper that there was to be a competitive BBQ event that welcomed the community, I wanted in.
Even though I know a decent bit about food and BBQ, I confess that I know zip about the world of competitive barbecue. It’s not that I don’t want to know every which way a butt can be smoked, it’s that I’ve never been baptized by hickory fire and trophies.
The Hub City Hogfest was the 6th annual event held in downtown Spartanburg South Carolina. It was to be held over two days and begun at noon. Lucky for me, I was with the blue-haired group who really just wanted an excuse to hang out on a warm day and drink beer. Oh, plus there was free entrance before 5 p.m. So at the top of noon, they partied and relaxed while I checked out the scene. Had I not experienced the fest in this way, I would not have learned quite as much. Thanks to the blue hairs!
Several city blocks around the beautiful downtown Spartanburg Morgan Square area were closed off to hold the teams, vendors, food trucks, the art community, and children’s area. I learned that there were 45 (at capacity) competitive teams and proceeds being used to benefit Mobile Meals of Spartanburg, South Carolina.
I know this doesn’t look like the warm sunny day that I described, but the sun did come out and the streets later became a sea of BBQ enthusiasts.
I swear to you that while they hit the beer and sunshine, I began by hitting the cake. But that’s a whole other story. I knew that it would be a long day so I reluctantly shared with the blue hairs but I have been obsessed with trying this cake ever since Oprah had the cake on her 2017 Oprah’s Favorite Things List.
Yes, it was that good, cue Def Leppard “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” So good that I later had a cake pop and did not share one single bite.
After walking around to get an overview of the event, I was thrilled to find Henry’s Smokehouse from Greenville SC had brought their Hog Hauler and sold hash, South Carolina mustard-based hash that is.
Since this hash was on my SC bucket list, I went all in on it and wrote about the dish in my last Tasty Tuesday blog. L-R Low and slow hand-pulled, hickory-smoked, pork, macaroni-and-cheese, pork and beef mustard-based hash.
There is something about eating with the smell of food smoking on the BBQ that makes each bite of your food taste superb. Henry’s Hog Hauler gets 4 MEGastars **** for my great meal and stamping my V-card on the mustard based hash.
On that note, I hit one more checkbox checking out the competitive booths. Honestly, this may have been my favorite part of the day. There were clearly Bbq aficionados here with a quick wit and sense of humor. Check out a few of these names.
Game of Bones – (Targaryen Dragon Approved)
Up In Smoke (Cheech and Chong approved)
Killer-Q-BBQ – A rhyme and an award-winning food truck.
There were the rustic forms of smokers, this one being my favorite with an old truck to match. Although I am not certain, I think this may belong to the team of Piglet Enemy, which happened to be my favorite and top pick in the chicken wing category.
I also loved another local Cowpens team called Killer-Que BBQ. They make these smokers and sell them. I think that they are fantastic!
Some of the competitive teams brought grills and other free-standing supplies. Like, the Big Green Egg. I wanted to wear this scent coming from their smokers as perfume!
Many of the competitors brought a trailer complete with roof, coolers, cooking gear, all in one place.
The competitor BBQ smoker that was the to me, the prettiest is Palmetto BBQ and sorry guys for calling your smoker pretty. But just dang!
The competition categories on the weekend that I attended were; butts, brisket, and ribs. I was told by one of the competitors that the chicken wings were to be judged but I could not find any results from the evening. A nice person from S.C. BBQ Association wrote me back saying that the Friday night events were not judged. I wrote to the Hub City Hog Fest Group but did not get a response.
From The Hub City Hog Fest website. “This competition will be performed in accordance with the South Carolina BBQ Association rules and regulations. The meats will be provided to each team and are included in the entry fee for the event….” 
During the Friday evening chicken wing “competition,” I was able to taste many of the competitor’s chicken wings. For one “hog buck” I received a wing and a drumette. There were also many who had sold out by the time I made my way around. By this time of the early evening, the streets were packed.
There were spicy, super spicy, sweet, sweet and spicy wings, and my absolute favorite wing of all was from Piglet Enemy. Just pure smoky deliciousness. I absolutely loved this one and went back for seconds or thirds. When I told them that this was my favorite, they informed me that they were last year’s winner. Right on!
I regret that I was unable to try many of the competitor’s labors of love, but then again how could I have eaten 45 or 90 wings? I also regret that I was unable to attend on Saturday and sample for the other categories.
I still don’t know zip-ish about the competitive world of BBQ but my mind has been forever changed by this day. I learned I grew, I was swined and dined.
Five MEGastars ***** for a superb community event! I especially love that for one dollar put into a hog buck, community members have an opportunity to taste the smoked goodies. To the Hub City Hog Fest group that made this event possible, the competitors for their hard work, and sacrifice, and to the South Carolina BBQ Association, I thank you for giving me a great day out and the blue hairs their beer tents, sunshine, and music. I am excited to attend another BBQ event.