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Barking Pig BBQ heading to Texas

Flat Creek team seeks World Food title

By DAWN HANKINS - dhankins@t-g.com
Posted 11/8/22

Barking Pig BBQ is a competition/catering/ concession team located in the community of Flat Creek-southeast of Shelbyville.  

Made up of firefighters, veterinarians, business professionals …

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Barking Pig BBQ heading to Texas

Flat Creek team seeks World Food title


Barking Pig BBQ is a competition/catering/ concession team located in the community of Flat Creek-southeast of Shelbyville.  

Made up of firefighters, veterinarians, business professionals and first responders, the BBQ team was born out of the joy and camaraderie of smoking barbecue butts for their community’s annual volunteer fire department fundraiser.  

Barking Pig’s “Signature Squealin’ Sauce,” is a favorite at Flat Creek Volunteer Fire Department’s annual barbecue fundraiser and apparently, around the area.  

So why not compete, the team reasoned about 5 years ago. The rest is history, as they say down in Flat Creek.  

“We started competing in 2017 and invested in a concession/competition trailer the following year,” said team member Dr. Bryant Morton. “We enjoy all of the aspects of smoking meat and creating side dishes for festivals, weddings, competitions, meat sales from the farm, charity events, and streetcorner pop-ups. We mostly compete in KCBS [Kansas City Barbecue Society] BBQ and SCA [Steak Cook off Association] Steak events.”  

By day, Morton owns and operates his own veterinarian clinic in downtown Lynchburg. His family also produces beef on their Flat Creek farm. The area vet admits he’s a self-proclaimed, “enthusiastic foodie 24/7.”  

The competition is about to get tougher for the Barking Pig BBQ team, as they head to Dallas, Texas Nov. 9-13 for their biggest competition yet—the 2022 World Food Championship. Event organizers are planning for 300 competitors in 10 categories—all vying, like Barking Pig BBQ, to dominate the food world.  

The Flat Creek team will enjoy a lot of the ambiance of this competition, which includes sampling opportunities, demos, and celebrities.  

Barking Pig team members heading to Dallas, in addition to Morton, are: Tripp Kingree (captain with Shelbyville Fire Department and Flat Creek Volunteer Fire Department Chief), Duane Regynski (a supervisor at Cooper Steel and a volunteer firefighter), Ron Stephens (normally member of another BBQ team in Alabama but planning to help the Flat Creek team), Debra Sample (former caterer and team member at Lynchburg Vet Hospital) and Dr. Wendy Morton (Bryant’s wife, who is also a veterinarian and farmer.)  

The team qualified for this event by having the highest combined chicken and rib scores (353.7 out of 360) out of over 100 teams at what they deem their “favorite competition,” Smoke on the Falls in Gadsden, Ala.  

Morton notes how they began this barbecue culinary journey. “We snagged a first place trophy in ‘Backyard Chicken,’ a second place finish in ‘Backyard Ribs,’ a first place in the ancillary ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ competition and a sixth place in the ‘Beer Can’ chicken event.”  

They were announced as “Backyard Grand Champions.” And yes, for this Bedford County team, competing at the World Food Championship has been a long-time dream.  

“Barking Pig BBQ is proud to represent and encourage amateur cooks everywhere, who also have a dream!” Morton recently shared with the T-G.  

The “Doc” has cooked in the Shade Tree (amateur) division of The Jack barbecue event three times. One year, Barking Pig BBQ won a third place in ribs.  

“That was truly a dream come true,” he notes.  

He added, “They eliminated the Shade Tree division last year, so now you have to qualify in a pro BBQ competition by winning grand champion of a KCBS (Kansas City Barbecue Society) competition that has more than 25 pro teams in it. This is only the first year Barking Pig is competing pro, so we have not competed in The Jack as a pro team yet, but that is one of our goals.”  

The team decided to start competing as pro instead of amateur when they won the Grand Champion trophy in the Gadsden, Ala. competition—one which secured them the “golden ticket” to The World Food Championship.  

That is typically the ‘etiquette’ in the BBQ world. “Once you start doing well in amateur, you move up to pro,” Bryant explains. “The winnings are bigger in pro but the competition is tougher and the entry fees are higher.”  

Just recently, the Barking Pig team won their first Pro KCBS Grand Championship at the Railyard BBQ Brawl in Madison, Ala. They took home a 1st place in chicken, 4th place in pork and 5th place for their brisket. Bryant notes that to win a grand championship, having only competed as pros in just a few months, is a pretty impressive feat.  

As he prepared for the Dallas trip, Morton explained the local team will cook chicken, ribs and brisket in the EAT competitions the first day in Dallas and the same three meats in the CBA division the second day.

“The divisions are different in the way you present the food. In EAT, you can get pretty creative with the way you plate and garnish the food. CBA division only allows the meat in a plain Styrofoam to-go box.”  

The World Food Championships is the largest competition in Food Sport, where culinary competitors of previous events convene for a chance at winning the ultimate food crown and a share of hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money. 

The World Food Championships is also the springboard for many up-and-coming culinary stars and home cooks as they seek TV fame through many well-known food shows and acting opportunities.  

In 2021, WFC attracted more than 1,500 cooks from 42 states and six countries during its tournament’s search for the best cooks and artisans from around the globe.  

Stay tuned for T-G updates on the Barking Pig’s success in Dallas. 

Watch TV food channels and you just might see some of Bedford County’s own, barbecuing up a championship