CLAYTON -- While Harold Williams might have won the title of best pig cooker in Clayton last year, it was really his great uncle who won the prize.
His great uncle taught him how to cook eastern-style barbecue, and Williams has only changed the recipe here and there since he started cooking barbecue 25 years ago.
They key, he says, is keeping it simple.
“I try to stick to making original sauce, homemade, instead of adding additives, I cook it like in the old days,” Williams said.
And the judges noticed the authenticity, declaring Williams’ barbecue to be the best out of eight pig-cooking teams at last year’s Squealin’ on the Square pig cooking competition hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.
This year, 14 pig-cooking teams will spend all night Oct. 5 cooking pigs that will be ready for judging at 8 a.m. Saturday and serving to the public for lunch.
While the Harvest Festival is the Chamber’s main annual fundraiser, Chamber President Jim Godfrey came up with the idea for a barbecue competition last year to help the chamber maintain its $216,000 budget.
Godfrey is hoping for the competition to bring out more folks than it did last year, especially Friday night to watch the pig cooking. To draw out a crowd, the Chamber hired two bands to play thanks to a sponsorship by KS Bank. Tommy Thunderfoot and The Accelerators will play from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday night, while Amanda Daughtry will provide the lunchtime entertainment from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Godfrey said it was quiet last year during the pig cooking, but the cooking teams enjoyed each other’s company.
“One guy said he’s coming out for the fellowship, to meet other pig cookers and just have a good time,” Godfrey said.
The comradery is part of what Williams enjoys about the competition, which is why he’s coming back this year.
“You get together and sit and tell old lies and pass the time, and before you know it time really flies by, especially if you’re paying attention to your pig,” Williams said.
While folks have offered to come out and set up game booths and sell food and drink in the evening, Godfrey says he wants the event to stay simple.
“It’s not designed to be a Harvest Festival junior. It’s all geared towards the art of cooking the barbecue.”
Still, Godfrey said he hopes the event continues to grow each year. Eventually, he says he’d like to see 25 pig-cooking teams. Any more than that, and the three judges might get a little too full.