The remnants of Tropical Storm Fay sweeping through the Effingham Fairgrounds in Springfield couldn’t blow away the smoke from the barbecue cookers Saturday.
The Habitat for Humanity of Effingham’s inaugural Pigging Out for Habitat was a success, chapter president Brett Gordon said, and they’re already looking ahead to the second year of the event.
“I’m very happy with the way everything turned out,” he said, even after intermittent rain fell throughout the day and the cooking teams battled the weather Friday night. “We had a good time. It was good fellowship.”
Keith Hall won the grand champion prize and also two first-place trophies, winning for chicken and brisket.
“I’m speechless. I’m in shock,” he said.
Hall and cooking partner Steve Dubois, a former New York City firefighter, have Seriously Smokin’ barbecue in Orange Park, Fla., a catering service. They don’t have a restaurant, but they are frequent barbecue cookoff entrants. Pigging Out for Habitat was his fourth of the year.
“We try to do one a month,” he said.
Hall saw Habitat’s announcement in the National Barbecue News and asked what he needed to do to get into the competition.
“I love Savannah, so I figured, what the heck,” he said.
Hall said brisket is what he does best, and he took a class a couple of years ago to learn more about cooking it. Saturday’s title was his second grand championship in a row.
He also thanked Habitat for all their help during the competition.
“Habitat bent over backwards to make sure I had power when I needed power,” he said.
Statesboro Blues BBQ won first place in pulled pork, and Joe Wright of Bethel Smokers won first place in Brunswick stew.
Hall and the other first-place winners in the meat categories received invitations for next year’s National Championship Barbecue Cook-off in Meridian, Texas.