PigMasters, established in 1996 by friends in Greensboro, North Carolina, caters Eastern North Carolina Style Barbecue, baby-back ribs and wings to charitable organizations, private parties, corporate functions, fundraisers, weddings, and other special events.
More than 350 years ago on the coastal plains of North Carolina, Native Americans introduced settlers to their method of slow-roasting a freshly killed boar over hardwood coals by draping it across saplings spread across a hole in the ground. It must have been something special, because this style of cooking pork became popularly known as pit-cooked barbeque. As the process evolved, a spicy vinegar-based sauce was used to enhance the flavor of the roasted pork. This sauce, perfectly complementing the smoky essence of the live coals, was refined over the decades by the great southern cooks of the coastal plantations and pig pickings became the standard at weddings and other shared celebrations. Southerners of that day took great pride in cooking a "pretty pig." We still do. That is how pork barbecue began and it is how PigMasters prepares their barbecue today, traditionally and without pretense.
Eastern North Carolina Style Barbecue refers to the area of North Carolina east of Raleigh where pork barbecue originated and this is usually the only region of the state that serves whole-pig barbecue. Hailing from the center of the state, some find it odd that PigMasters serves Eastern Style in an area dominated by Lexington style, which is made primarily of shoulders and occasionally hams instead of the whole pig. We believe it is the combination of the various meats - the ham, shoulder, tenderloin, side, rib and selections of the pig that creates that special flavor.
As real hardwood barbecue pits were replaced with new, less labor-intensive and more cost-effective, cooking devices the flavor changed and the art of slow-cooked hardwood barbecue began rapidly vanishing. We are friends that started having pig pickings for the simple pleasures of tradition, excellence, and just for fun with family and friends. It seemed like a lot of other people enjoyed what we were doing and wanted to do the same. That is how PigMasters started.
We thought it regrettable that barbecue restaurants were replacing traditional pig pickings and realized that a special part of our culture was, all to soon, becoming part of times goneby. So we have endeavored to preserve the atmosphere of fellowship and the marvelous tastes that are distinctive to our state and family history. What we discovered was that a lot of other people felt the same way. At our pig pickings, folks often tell us that it is the best food they've ever tasted and one of the best times they've had.
Hopefully, someday, you'll find out what they are talking about.