Product Development @ the “Big Pig Jig”

(2006) While we attended the “Big Pig Jig” in Georgia we noticed a significant amount of competing teams using the firewood approach to cooking. The wood they were using for the smoking process was covered in bark! We discussed not only the health concerns but also the effect of the bitterness that bark imparts on the food. Some teams swore by its use as an added flavor additive to their cook product while others were very much unaware of the health concerns.

We all have allergies, no matter what part of the country we live in, the biggest contributor to this is the pollen from plants that are caught in the bark of the trees. This pollen is in the bark portion of the tree and will be released only during the burning process! Therefore this pollen will be either imparted into the foods that are being cooked or in the air. There are creatures of the world that use the bark of the tree for their home, which will be released only during the burning process. Likewise, they will have an effect on the taste! While all teams are looking for the edge to win! My team and I could not believe that the firewood approach was so widely used!

Present Day Update

It is hard to believe that we first attended the Big Pig Jig® barbecue competition in Vienna, GA back in 2006. An exclusive whole hog competition that originated in 1982, the competition grew to include 120 teams. Subsequently, competitive categories were added making it one of the largest competitions held on the east coast. Most importantly, though, that competition launched our product development!

What We Learned from The Big Pig Jig®

Our focus then was to determine exactly the product sizing that would serve the competitive enthusiast. Talking with nearly every team, looking at the current wood being used, and examining how the wood performed in the humid conditions of GA in Fall were goals. We wanted to know what made a person seek a certain wood.

What did our efforts produce?

First, the experience proved we needed to produce a bullet list. For example, why firewood is not ideal for smoking meats. Most everyone was using a split firewood or some sizing of firewood. And, bark was found on most of the woods.

Second, our product line began to take shape. Chunk sizes, log options, and saleable carton sizes all resulted from our observations.

The main result though, was on moisture. We studied just how wood could be stored to allow competitors from around the globe to have an ideal competitive hardwood.

In the end, the Big Pig Jig® was responsible for our success as a hardwood supplier. Our selling points of being bark free, made from heartwood, and offering an assortment of sizes resonated with many. However, the biggest incentive was our moisture information. Now, everyone had an edge to become a winning cooking even if the cooking was only happening at home.

Dr. Smoke image as he toured the event

Dr. Smoke image as he toured the event