PIG ON THE RIDGE: Annual Fairfield County festival cooks up fun weekend
RIDGEWAY, SC (WOLO) — After not being held last year, South Carolina’s largest barbecue cook-off returned to Fairfield County.
Volunteers from local churches help put it on and part of the money raised from the event goes to help these churches’ Christmas funds.
Dixon: “It’s just quiet. Everybody gets along. No trouble, just loving like a family.”
The town of around 300 people welcomed thousands as barbecue lovers headed to Ridgeway this past weekend.
“We had 49 cook teams and we are planning on cooking 1,020 Boston butts,” said Henry Dixon, who is on the Pig On the Ridge steering committee.
The event started as a way of celebrating the town’s 200 anniversary, but has now been around for more than two decades. It welcomes competitors from all over the Carolinas.
“There’s so many good ones. You can find mustard, ketchup and vinegar based,” Dixon said. “You’ll find what you like right here.”
With so many talented barbecue competition teams fighting for awards, your taste buds end up winning in the end.
“What makes good barbecue? Anything without sauce on it. It doesn’t need sauce if it’s good,” said Tony Crout, owner of Doko Smoke Barbecue in Blythewood.
Crout remembers his first Pig On the Ridge back in 2001.
“We started for the fellowship of it, having a good time, me and a couple buddies getting together and building our first cooker,” he remembers. “Just had a good time with it. In 2012, we got 2nd place in the amateur division. Then we were like, ‘Maybe we know what we’re doing.’ It just took off from there.”
In 2014, he opened the Doko Smoke restaurant.
He says he’s gotten a lot better over the years thanks to some of the other competitors.
“I help other teams as well. Over the years, I’ve sat around and talked to these guys at night,” Crout said. “Everybody will share their little tidbits of things to get ahead. They might not tell you everything but they’ll help.”
Saturday featured live music and a street dance, craft sales, a car parade and of course the meat that takes a while to prepare.
“We trim it up. Try to get some of the fat off it. Some people out here do some injections. I won’t. I’ll just do a simple rub that we do at the store,” Crout said. “Put them on the smoker, let them cook for 12 hours, pull them off and that’s it. We keep ours really simple.”
The fun lasted until 10:30 0n Friday with a DJ on hand and started back up Saturday morning at 9.