• 66°

Steaks added to Hog Wild — Festival set for May 4-5 in downtown Brookhaven

Hogs won’t be the only ones going wild at this year’s barbecue festival. The cows are getting in on the action, too.

The Hog Wild Family Festival and BBQ Cookoff is adding an extra day and a new event. Grillmasters and home cooks alike can compete this year for a $1,000 prize for the best steak.

The festival will begin Friday, May 4 with the steak contest that evening, and continue Saturday with the barbecue competition.

Firefighter Mark Porter organized the event eight years ago for the Lincoln County volunteer fire stations to raise big bucks with barbecued butts.

The Hog Wild BBQ Cookoff is an official Kansas City Barbecue Society event. Professional cookers from all over the country will compete for cash and prizes.

There are also divisions for backyard cookers, for participants to compete against other small teams, and a youth division.

The cookoff is also a qualifying event for the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue Competition,  the American Royal World Series of Barbecue and the Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown Invitation Barbecue Competition.

“Whenever somebody comes here, the first place entry automatically gets free entry into one of those events,” he said.

Porter said judges for the barbecue competition are certified through the KCBS, but he’s looking for some guys or gals with good taste buds to dig into some sizzling steer.

“As long as you’ve got tastebuds, that’s all it takes,” he said.

Brookhaven Police Chief Kenneth Collins already has his name on a seat at that table.

Porter added the Friday night event to get more people to stay in Brookhaven longer.

“This year we’re trying to bring more people in, stay longer and spend money,” he said.

The steak cookoff participants are not required to participate in the barbecue competition. Entry fee is $100.

Besides the food competitions, visitors to the festival can shop at the arts and crafts booths or try the typical festival fare at any of the number of food vendors Porter expects to set up in the parking lots downtown between Whitworth and Railroad avenues.

Typically, guests to the festival can purchase pulled pork plates, rib plates and items like funnel cakes and pulled pork french fries from the food vendors.

A Kids’ Zone will also be available for children.

Organizers are also working on a lineup of live entertainment throughout the day.

Porter divides the funds raised between the county volunteer fire departments. Organizers raise about $20,000 each year.

For applications for steak and barbecue competitions or vendor booths, visit www.hogwildfestival.com.

To submit a name for the entertainment lineup, call Porter at 601-757-1772.