By GWEN SISSON
Matthew Bedwell said the Super Bulldog Weekend Pig Cooking Contest is like the barbecue “Masters.”
“For us, it is the first cooking of the spring and a great time to enjoy the Bulldogs and a little barbecue,” said Bedwell, team leader of Accidental Barbecue, who won the Overall Award at Saturday’s event.
And like golf’s “Masters” tournament, it is an excellent way to begin the year. Accidental Barbecue also won first place best shoulders and second place whole hog.
“We love the Bulldogs and Super Bulldog Weekend,” Bedwell said. “It is nice to get to do this and we are excited to be part of this event.”
Starkville residents will recognize Bedwell as the owner of the local McAlister’s Deli.
Other first place winners include Smokey G’s in the whole hog division and Holy Smoke BBQ Crew in the ribs division.
The overall winner was announced at Saturday’s Maroon and White game at Mississippi State University.
In the final judging round, Accidental Barbecue received a combined total of 287.6 points; Smokey G’s received 286.5 points and Holy Smoke BBQ Crew received 283.6 points.
Mark Crenshaw with the Mississippi Pork Producers Association, said judges were impressed with this year’s contest.
“Several judges said this was the best contest yet,” Crenshaw said. “They said it is the best quality meat they have had at this contest, with a good taste.”
Crenshaw said if a team is looking for serious barbecue competition, this is not the contest. Winners receive the honor of the title and a trophy.
“We take the judging seriously, but this competition is about enjoying the Bulldogs,” Crenshaw said. “I think everyone had a good time and the teams brought the right attitude. This is about socializing and enjoying the ball games throughout the day.”
For the past three years, Accidental Barbecue has participated in the Super Bulldog Weekend Pig Cooking Contest and receiving high marks, including second place shoulder two years ago.
Bedwell said his winning barbecue begins with Kingsford charcoal and hickory. The shoulders cook at 225 degrees. They do not use injections into the meat, but will use a water and apple juice mixture in the cooker’s water pan.
“We want the meat to stand on its own,” Bedwell said. “If the pig doesn’t taste right, it doesn’t taste right.”
That wasn’t a problem for Accidental Barbecue on Saturday. Their shoulders literally “fell off the bone” for the final judges.