Get in the pit with barbecue badass Jimmy Hagood 

'Cue Captain

Jimmy Hagood has won barbecue competitions all over the Southeast, from his 2004 first place win at the North Carolina State Barbecue Championship to a 2002 Grand Championship accolade at the South Carolina State Barbecue Championship. But let's get one thing straight: His first competitive barbecue event was at the Southeastern Wildlife Expo some 20 years ago. On that day, Hagood walked away with a second place award for amateurs. Today he's one of the ultimate pit professionals, owner of Food for the Southern Soul, BlackJack Barbecue, and Tidewater Foods & Catering. This year, he's coming back to SEWE to present his very own Cue Camp to eager participants.

"It's pretty neat to know I'll be presenting on the site of the same place I did my first competition," he says. And in the heart of the city he grew up in too.

"I was raised in downtown Charleston, and there wasn't really any barbecue here," says Hagood. "Since we're on the coast, of course, I grew up eating mainly seafood. It wasn't until I went to college and met some people from Augusta that I learned about barbecue."

And what a relief he did. His simple interest in barbecue competitions spawned a hobby that developed into a dry rub and sauce empire that also sells other distinctly Southern products like grits and Carolina Gold rice. Hagood is also the creator of Jack's Cosmic Dog Sweet Potato Mustard, one of the best damn sauces you can put on a tube of pork. Head up Highway 17 past Mt. Pleasant or go toward Folly Beach to get your hands on one of these delicious dogs.

When Hagood takes his grilling act on the road, he rides in style with his two-story Big Red Rig barbecue bus, which is sort of like a British double-decker but with tasty smelling exhaust — or so we imagine.

"In the past we've served SEWE guests as just a vendor, but this year we decided to do something different," Hagood says. "We're going to show folks how we do it at a competition. We're going to do a pork shoulder, and I'll teach people different techniques for doing a rub or an injection. We'll do some ribs, and I'll also show everyone how to time everything."

Hagood also plans to give his guests a lesson in the various types of barbecue sauces — mustard-, tomato-, vinegar-, or even, um, mayo-based — an often contentious point between states. In the Lowcountry of South Carolina, we favor mustard-based sauces, while the Upstate and North Carolina favor vinegar- and tomato-based sauces. While the Southern states as a whole share styles, mayo-based barbecue sauces are pretty much limited to Alabama.

Audience participation is encouraged. Hagood plans to pull members of the crowd up to the grill to teach them the intricacies of quality 'cue preparation.

Attendees will have the opportunity to not only watch the pitmaster in action, but to also enjoy the fruit of his labors. Following the presentation, Hagood will dish out his pork shoulder slathered in BlackJack Barbecue Sauce, along with sliced beef brisket, pork ribs, and, of course, plenty of sweet tea and cold beer.

2011 Southeastern Wildlife Exposition

  • ACE of Basin

    When you're at SEWE this weekend, make sure that you catch an exclusive screening of Common Ground: The Story of the ACE Basin by documentarian Bill Bailey. The film tells the story of how various individuals and organizations helped protect the ACE river basin, which stretches from Charleston to Beaufort, S.C. ACE is an acronym that stands for the defining rivers of the St. Helena Sound: the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto. "These rivers were protected under a heroic conservation effort," Bailey says.
    • Feb 16, 2011
  • Dana Beach flocks to East Africa to photograph flamingos

    Birds of a Feather
    • Feb 16, 2011
  • Wildlife of the Party

    Watching a bald eagle snatch a defenseless bunny with its talons on the boob tube can't compare to watching a bird of prey up close and personal. At least that's what David Hitzig, executive director of the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, believes.
    • Feb 16, 2011
  • Take Flight

    It's not that often that you see falcon ride a thermal above Marion Square and dive toward the ground at 150 miles per hour (and no, we're not exaggerating). If that was a regular occurrence — and quite frankly, we're not even sure if there's ever been a single instance of that happening — we seriously doubt you'd see that many bikini-wearing sunbathers and their tiny dogs lounging about. The falcon is a bird of prey, after all.
    • Feb 16, 2011
  • The Ultimate SEWE Guide

    Let's do it like they do it on the Discovery channel
    • Feb 16, 2011
  • Jim and Jamie Dutcher ran with the wolves

    Don't Be Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf
    • Feb 16, 2011
  • It's Ducks Unlimited Season

    If you didn't make it to the Lowcountry Oyster Festival a few weeks back, have no fear. On Feb. 18, you'll have another chance to get your oyster fix at SEWE's Ducks Unlimited Oyster Roast. All-you-can-eat oysters will be the star of the event, but if you're not a mollusk lover, there will also be a down-home Lowcountry cookout from 6 to 8 p.m., featuring pulled-pork barbecue, shrimp and grits, venison chili, and Southern fried catfish.
    • Feb 16, 2011
  • Lords of Nature studies the impact of predators on their habitats

    • Feb 16, 2011
  • Game On

    For the second year in a row at SEWE, local chefs will show attendees how to cook with game, as well as Certified South Carolina Grown products. Jimmy Huggins, SEWE president and CEO, thinks the demonstrations will be popular again this year. "We like to offer a variety of interesting things for our guests. Showing off some of the Lowcountry's great chefs preparing food with delicious South Carolina products seemed like a great idea," he says.
    • Feb 16, 2011
  • Give It Up for the Pups

    I don't know about you but for months I've had that one peppy, smile-inducing song, "Dog Days are Over," permanently on repeat in my head. Florence and the Machine's rock/pop hit is catchy and energizing, but its title is completely off the mark — at least in Charleston. Here, the dog days are just beginning.
    • Feb 16, 2011


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