Barbecue festival draws crowd

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 14, 2011

By Hugh Fisher
SPENCER — The third annual Salisbury Barbecue Festival filled the streets of Spencer with satisfying smoke on Saturday.
Though the event is called the Salisbury Barbecue Festival, contestants from throughout the county came to Spencer.
All of them brought their own special recipes. The kind you only get to learn through years of practice, or knowing someone who knows the tradition.
And throughout the afternoon, good-natured debates took place.
Slaw on the barbecue sandwich, or no slaw?
Vinegar sauce or tomato?
And, if tomato sauce is your thing, do you go for ketchup-based or something homemade?
Rae Boger’s secret — part of it, at least — is sun-dried tomatoes.
“That sauce was four years in the making,” Boger said. She and husband Dan form the team called D/RB Barbecue.
Family friends call it “that darn sauce,” she said, especially when they’ve run out.
“They can’t get their bottle filled fast enough,” she said.
And, of course, Rae won’t spill the beans on what’s in the secret recipe.
It has a hint of citrus, and a little bit of heat at the finish. The rest is just art.
D/BR took third place in the day’s competition. Not bad for people who cook barbecue as a hobby.
Second place went to Patterson Porkery, from western Rowan. (No connection to Patterson Farm.)
The day’s big winner was a surprise contender: Notorious BBQ, the team headed by culinary-student Alfred Anderson.
The Salisbury resident had some helping hands from Charlotte, assisting him with his cooker, but the sauce and the skill are all his.
“I feel like I’m new to the game,” Anderson said, with a pleased grin, after the awards had been announced.
The Central Piedmont Community College student said his competition wasn’t expecting him.
Anderson’s barbecue was pulled pork, Carolina style, but with a mixed sauce — tomato and vinegar.
The tomato sauce gives it a good finish, Anderson said.
His friends gladly served out samples, or full-size sandwiches, of the winning recipe.
There weren’t a lot of solutions to those age-old questions of which barbecue is best.
But the afternoon offered visitors a chance to sample different styles while also seeing some of the variety Rowan County’s chefs have to offer.
Also on hand were local craftspeople and vendors. Rowan County’s wineries were on hand to pair local wines with different varieties of barbecue.
And there were assorted snacks for those who had already had their fill of barbecue. The event was set to conclude with an ice cream social and barbecue dinner later in the day.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Salisbury Rowan Cultural Arts Foundation.
It was unclear how much money was raised at the Barbecue Festival.
Event organizer George Busby was not available for comment at the event.
He did not respond to a reporter’s request for a phone call Saturday.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.