Zach Daugherty, who earned his accounting degree in 2012 and his MBA in 2015 from ECU, cooks shrimp wrapped in bacon with honey chipotle barbecue sauce -- his opening day tradition – during the Sept. 2 pre-game tailgate at ECU. (Photos by Rhett Butler)

LOW and SLOW

Tailgating tradition centers on barbecue

It’s hot.

It’s saucy.

And come September, it’s a match made in heaven – hog heaven, that is.

ECU and BBQ.

“Any game that’s three or later, we’re going to have a pig on the grill,” said Mark Alexander of Greenville, a 2004 East Carolina University graduate and part of the “Pirates of Elmhurst” tailgating group. “For us, it’s a family thing. We have our kids come out here. It’s a great social environment.”

They don’t always do a whole pig; sometimes, it’s Boston butts. But it’s always something good.

“Cook with care,” said fellow tailgater and 1990 ECU graduate Scott Snead of Greenville. “You have to constantly monitor your temperature, and we have a sauce people love.”

Unfortunately, the components of the sauce remain a secret. But the prime cooking method is well-known.

“Low and slow,” said Pete Balent of Winterville, a 1999 graduate and member of the “Pork-N-Pirates” tailgating crew. He’s missed only one home game since 1994: the 1999 “Hurricane Floyd game” against Miami that was played in Raleigh. About 10-12 hours on the grill is what his group aims for.

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Originally published September 21, 2017. Written by Doug Boyd. Photography by Rhett Butler.

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