The weather recently has been beautiful for everything but respiration, which functions best in a low-pollen environment. According to an area tv meteorologist, this weekend will be a bit warmer and also more humid. Ordinarily I would not vote in favor of that combination, but if “warmer” means “high of 78” and increased humidity means I can go for 10 minutes without sneezing? I’m in.
This is relevant not solely because of my allergies. This weekend is also when Hogs for the Cause holds its annual two-day fundraiser: March 29 and 30, at UNO. It’s a great event that raises money for families with a child diagnosed with brain cancer. It started in here in 2009 and it’s grown to be one of the more sizeable food/music events on the local calendar. It’s also an outdoor event, as barbecue indoors tend to be short-lived, and thus pleasant weather is advantageous.
Hogs has always been primarily about the barbecue to me, but I’d bet the numbers are pretty close between smoked meat and music if you ask someone why they attend. There are three stages, with acts staggered as at Jazz Fest. Things open up Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m., and the last act, Girlfriend, finishes its set at 11:15. Friday is bacon night, when that cured meat product shows up in myriad ways. One that leaps out at me in this year’s selection is the “Elvis Bar” by March of the Pigs, which is peanut butter shortbread with caramel banana jam and candied Nueske’s bacon. I believe I would very much enjoy the combination. I’d also like to know what “Kimchi Bacon Monteleone” means. I hope to find out at Rugaroux Q’s booth.
Saturday things start earlier – gates open at 11 a.m., and the number and variety of dishes served increases. If you like barbecue and things that are barbecue-adjacent culinarily speaking, this is your day. Music starts at 12:15 and goes until shortly before the awards are announced around 7:00.
You can see a number of local chefs on teams, and professional or not I’ve found the food to be outstanding overall, with some truly memorable dishes every year.
General admission tickets for one of the two days of the event are $30, and a two-day pass goes for $55. There are options to add $25 to your ticket to buy food and drinks inside, and then there’s the Boss Hogg pass. That gets you access to an open bar, good seats to the music, private toilets and allows you to leave and then re-enter the grounds. Peruse the options here.
I’ll be out there on Saturday, and I hope a lot of you are too.