Gwen Fowler



Cooking great barbecue, low and slow

Posted 7/14/2013 10:15:00 AM

To cook great barbecue, you’ve got to choose the right rub and the right sauce.

But most of all, you’ve got to let the meat cook long and slow.

That was the advice from several pitmasters competing at the South Carolina Festival of Discovery in Greenwood July 11-13.

“The main thing is to be patient,” said Chris Moffatt, pitmaster of Hill Rat Barbecue in Greenville. “Let the heat do its trick, let the smoke do its thing, and it’ll turn out great.”

With 91 teams competing for prizes in the Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned event, downtown Greenwood was full of smoke and the fragrance of pork for the weekend.

About 30,000 people were expected in the city for the festival, said Jon Scott, a board member for the Uptown Greenwood Development Corporation. The festival began 13 years ago, with about five teams participating in the early days, he said.

People strolled down Main Street Saturday to sample the barbecue or to enjoy roasted corn or carnival-type foods. A series of blues musicians performed on the main stage throughout the day, and even a couple of showers didn’t chase the crowds away. Amusement rides for children were set up on one street, and other vendors sold jewelry, yard art and plants on another street.

In addition to blues artists on the main stage downtown, 19 groups were performing at downtown restaurants and bars throughout the weekend.

But barbecue was the focus of the day, with almost 60 awards given to competition teams. Lotta Bull of Marietta, Okla., was the grand champion. Greenwood City Manager Charlie Barrineau said Lotta Bull, the festival’s first two-time grand champion, also won in 2011.

Big Red’s Barbecue of Pacolet was named the reserve grand champion and winner of the South Carolina governor’s award.

Bar-B-Que Knights of Waynesboro, Ga., won the championship in the backyard division, a category for the teams that compete less than the professionals.

Randall Knight, pitmaster of Nard’s Backyard BBQ in Greenville, said he uses Smokin’ Coals and Buzz’s Butt Dust, both made in South Carolina, to season his meat. He also provides Smokin’ Coals barbecue sauce to those who want to add sauce.

“We prefer someone to taste the meat itself, just the meat alone, without the sauce on it,” Knight said. “It’s all about the flavor of the meat, and the sauce is just an enhancement.”

At Knight’s booth, Jim Yank McNamee stayed busy all day putting ribs and turkey legs on the grill.

Kevin Cameron of Big Show BBQ of Anderson wore a sombrero throughout the day, fitting with the way he cooks his barbecue.

“We make a honey chipotle barbecue sauce to put on the end so that you get a little bit of sweet and a little bit of bite at the end, and you put that on and it just turns out perfect,” Cameron said.

The Palmetto Moonlight Smokers of Greenwood advertised “butts and nutts, Carolina style.” Along with barbecue, hash, ribs and chicken, pitmaster Stan Spivey was selling boiled and roasted peanuts. His sold about 300 pounds of his Palmetto Peanuts in two days at the festival.

Thelma Goff and Diane Barks, both of Greenwood, were at the festival for the third or fourth year.

Goff said the festival gets better each year.

“The entertainment is awesome. The food is awesome. We just get fatter and fatter, but I enjoy it very much.”

Barks said she appreciates the family entertainment the festival offers as well as the food.

“I love good smoked barbecue and so far all that I’ve ever tasted has been really good so I look forward to it every year. I even like to smell it cooking.”

Winners of the "Anything Goes" competition from Friday night were the Pickin' Porkers from Clemmons, N.C.

Plan to enjoy the tastes and smells of the South Carolina Festival of Discovery in 2014, when it will be July 10-12.