The stars shine brighter in Halifax County, VA

Barbecue Wars Comes to South Boston, Virginia

Nationally featured barbecue pitmasters wage an all out barbecue war in South Boston, Virginia on July 13 from 2 – 6 p.m. on the grounds of the Gazette-Virginian offices, located at 3201 Halifax Road. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online or at The Gazette-Virginian office, and part of the proceeds will be donated to the Halifax County Cancer Association.

Presented by Southern Grit Magazine, The Gazette-Virginian and Hitachi Energy, the third Barbecue Wars barbecue competition and Virginian whole-animal culinary history demonstration will shine light on Virginia as the birthplace of American barbecue. Additionally, the unique combination of African-American, Indigenous, and European cooking techniques and traditions that gave rise to American barbecue as we know it today will be on display with a whole hog demonstration.

Suffolk, Virginia based pitmaster Alex Bazemore and Raleigh, North Carolina based pitmaster William Moore, both featured on Carla Hall’s 2024 Max series Chasing Flavor will headline the competition portion along with six other pitmasters, including one of Virginia’s leading female pitmaster Theresa Bell, a multi-award barbecue winner and master barbecue judge with over 15 years of experience.

In addition to the competition, CBS This Morning featured pitmaster and chef, Craig Hartman, owner of The BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville, Virginia will cook whole hogs the original Virginian way, with wood fired coals in dug pits, using the “Virginia wand”, the precursor to the modern day barbecue mop. The whole hog demonstration will also feature a lecture detailing the central role of enslaved African-American pitmasters.

Barbecue judges include Deb Freeman, food editor at Style Weekly and creator/host of Setting the Table, a food podcast which explores African-American foodways, and the executive producer and host of the upcoming documentary Finding Edna Lewis on PBS, Joshua Fitzwater, food journalist and historian featured in the pages of Garden & Gun, Richmond Magazine and Gravy Magazine, Mathew Deaton, former pitmaster of Allman’s Barbecue in Fredericksburg, and additional Virginia culinary insiders.

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