10/30/05 — The Blue Light Special team wins cook-off

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The Blue Light Special team wins cook-off

By Turner Walston
Published in News on October 30, 2005 2:08 AM

Eastern North Carolina barbecue was on the menu Saturday at the second annual Feast in the East at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fairgrounds.

Fifteen cook-off teams participated in the Swinefest, sponsored by the Arts Council of Wayne County. The teams prepared their pig cookers Friday afternoon, and barbecued pigs through the night on Saturday morning, before the judges made their rounds at 9:30.

The Blue Light Special, sponsored by Sheriff Carey Winders, was crowned champion in the cook-off. The team consisted of Owen Jackson and Buddy King.

"This was highly unexpected," Jackson said. "You come out here and do the best you can, and you take anything you can get."

"Buddy and I have been cooking together for four or five years. We'll cook 15 pigs a year," Jackson said.

His secret ingredient? "A lot of love," Jackson said.

"I'll tell you part of his secret," said James Wilder of Wilder's Old Style BBQ, whose team finished second. "Having a lot of heart, and being a good person," he said of Jackson.

Wilder credited his team's finish to his parents. "My dad is 84 years old," he said. "He taught me everything I know. My mother started out making the sauce. I'm just out here representing my parents."

Franklin Lane and the Goldsboro Exchange Club took home third place after winning the contest in 2004.

"The competition is getting better," Lane said, "but it's all a matter of taste."

Lane said he enjoyed the camaraderie between the teams.

Still, he was looking forward to winning back the trophy.

"We'll have a surprise next year," he said.

The Wayne Shrine Club won the showmanship competition, which went to the team with the most creative theme. The club had a Hawaii theme, complete with tiki torches. The team named itself the "Hula Hawgs."

"We wanted to show everyone what the Wayne Shrine Club is all about," said Ray Pittman. "And we just wanted to have some fun, which is why we went with the luau theme."

Ven Faulk organized the cook-off.

"I think it went great," Faulk said. "All the scores were close, and all the pigs were good. There were no disqualifications."

Faulk said the cooking competition was getting tighter, with local teams learning the tricks of the trade.

"I think it's going to be real big next year," he said.

Barbecue fans were treated entertainment from comedian Cousin Brossy, Elvis Presley and Tim McGraw impersonators, and the U.S. Air Force Blue Aces band.

Reigning Miss North Carolina Brooke McLaurin visited the "Feast." A native of Fayetteville, Ms. McLaurin said eastern-style barbecue was her favorite.

"They asked me 'If someone were to visit North Carolina, what meal would you serve them?' she said. "I told them I'd serve a plate of barbecue, with hush puppies and potato salad."

Goldsboro Mayor Al King's team did not place in the cook-off, but he was pleased with the competition. King said he was hopeful more communities and organizations would participate in the future.

"This has been a great event, and hopefully it'll be twice as big next year," King said. "It's not about winning; it's about participating."