When Sam Suchoff named his restaurant The Pig (630 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill; The Pig on Facebook), he meant every bit of it. Chapel Hill's newest barbecue restaurant, which anticipates an opening this week in the former home of the Barbecue Joint, will feature plates and sandwiches of smoked pork from local, pasture-raised, animal welfare-approved hogs, plus the likes of in-house bacon, bologna and sausage.
But pork won't be the only fare. Suchoff, who worked at the Barbecue Joint well before it closed, says his menu includes natural beef from Cliff's Meat Market in Carrboro, local organic chicken and vegetables. For vegetarians, he also has a smoked mushroom barbecue sandwich and country fried tofu with gravy. The Pig will be open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
To see a side dish get its due, check out the Hoppin' John Cook-Off at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18. The event is being held in conjunction with the Hoppin' John Old-Time and Bluegrass Fiddlers' Convention at Shakori Hills (1439 Henderson Tanyard Road, Pittsboro, 542-1746), which will take place throughout the weekend and include contests for best bands and individual musicians. Hoppin' John's coordinator, My Amani, says the cook-off began as something of a joke—a funny way to add another competition to the traditional categories of a music convention. But over the past few years, she explains, the event—"a chili cook-off only for hoppin' john"—has "really gained in popularity."
There are endless variations and definitions for Hoppin' John, a Southern mix of rice, black-eyed peas and you name it. For Shakori's purposes, however, the peas and rice are the only entry requirements in addition to a $20 registration fee. (The fee allows access to the music, and $10 will be returned upon participation in the cook-off.) Minus presoaking beans or peas, contestants must do all of the cooking on-site beginning at noon on Saturday. They must bring all of their own cookware, including any kind of stove or heat source. Registration will take place at 3 p.m., and tasting and judging by other festival attendees will start at 5 p.m. for a suggested donation of $3. For more contest and convention details, visit Hoppin' John's website at www.hoppinjohn.org.
For more competition in the Triangle, attend the Chef's Challenge Thursday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m., held at Garner TV & Appliance (6310 Plantation Center Drive, Raleigh). Ticket sales from the event—$20 in advance and $25 at the door—will support the efforts of Meals on Wheels of Wake County (833-1749, www.wakemow.org), an organization that serves food to 1,500 seniors every weekday. The main event will feature a cook-off between James Boyle of Raleigh's The Duck & Dumpling, Chris Hylton from Raleigh's The Mint, and Elise Johnson of NBC-17's Cooking With Elise. Try samples of their dishes or participate in a raffle and live auction. Mark Roberts, WRAL's former traffic guru, will host the evening alongside judges Jeff Hadley, director of the culinary program at Wake Tech, and Ed Brantley and Heba Salama, 2008 winners of The Biggest Loser television series.
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