web analytics

Coverage: 5th Annual ‘Hogs Gone Wild’ Smoked Meat Cook-off


The 5th Annual Fresh Catch ‘Hogs Gone Wild’ Smoke Meat Cook-off, Custom Bike Show and Hog Hunting Tournament took place on Father’s Day Weekend, Saturday, June 15, 2013, from 10am to 5:30pm at Cycle City, a Harley Davidson & Kawasaki dealership located on Nimitz Highway and Pu’uloa Road, in the airport, near the Mapunapuna area.

This was the first time the event has been held there, whereas past events have taken place at Aloha Stadium and in Kaneohe at Heeia State Park.


Without further ado, here are the teams entered in this year’s ‘Hog Gone Wild’ smoked meat competition:

1.) VRM Pit Crew
2.) Prime Time Smoker
3.) Simply Smoked ABCDE
4.) Smokin’ Shiggy
5.) Guava Smoked
6.) Diamond Head Market & Grill
7.) Capt Smokey
8.) Action Smokers
9.) Pilau M/C Oahu
10.) Team Hoku
11.) Always Smokin’ Sum’n
12.) Smo’KING

As always, great team names! Should I decide to enter in a future contest, my team name would of course be ‘Tasty Island’. Yet I was thinking of modifying it slightly to suit the event, going with ‘Tasty Smokin’ Islanders’. How you figgah?


Obviously vegetarian types need not apply, as events like this are predominantly all about meat, meat and more meat. Case in point…

Beef Brisket

Pork Ribs

Smoked Pork on Chinese Bao (steamed bun) with Hoisin Sauce

Smoked Big Island Wild Boar

Smoked New Zealand Red Stag Deer Jerky

Smoked Alaska Black Bear Jerky 

Smoked Marlin

Smoked Seafood Medley: Marlin, Lobster, Ahi & Scallops – judges sample, ‘Anything Goes’ category

Smoked Salmon and Marlin – judges sample, ‘Fish’ category

Smoked Chicken – judges sample, ‘Chicken’ category

Smoked Seafood Patty Sandwich – judges sample, ‘Anything Goes’ category

Crab-stuffed Bacon-wrapped Smoked Red Peppers – judges sample, ‘Anything Goes’ category

Just another day at the office for team ‘Always Smokin’ Sum’n’

“Miss Pineapple Piggy” table decoration


While I have yet to enter as a contestant in this annual competition, this has been the second year I’ve stood in as an official judge along with several returnees, while joining us were upper management staff from the Cycle City/JN group dealership, the hosting sponsor of this year’s event…

2013 ‘Hogs Gone Wild’ Smoked Meat Contest official judges: Chef Russell Siu (owner, 3660 on the Rise & Kaka’ako Kitchen), Gary Ishimoto (President, Diamond Head Seafood),Lanette Lopez (retired Head Chef Merchant Marine for Matson), Kirk Wong (CFO Cycle City/J.N. Auto Group) Nadine Kam (Star Advertiser food columnist), Jay Hamocon (Parts and Service Manager, Cycle City) David Higashiyama (Director of Marketing, JN Auto Group), Pomai Souza (food blogger, The Tasty Island, retail advertising graphic artist and webmaster), Mike Diaz (Vice President, Ali’i Bike Club Kauai), Tambi Lowstan (General Manager, Cycle City)

Like last year, I brought Poi for each judge to serve as our palate buffer….

Poi: The official judges palate buffer!

Which they were all stoked! Especially Chef Russell. Whoah, he wen’ whack ’em! Still waiting for Honolulu Poi Company (Taro Brand) to sponsor poi for the next Smoke Meat event. Come on folks!

Food judging… it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta’ do it


This year’s awards trophies were handed out in the form of bamboo surf cutting boards…

Speaking of awards, here are this year’s results!…

Alwayz Smok’n Sum’n, $1,000

1st place: VRM Pit Crew, $1,000 cash award
2nd place: Alwayz Smok’n Sum’n, $ 500
3rd place: Smokin’ Shiggy, $100
4th place: Guava Smoked, $50
5th place: Smo’KING, $100 gift certificate
6th place: Team Hoku, $50 gift certificate
7th place: (tie) Simply Smoked ABCDE, and Pilau M/C Oahu, $25

1st place: Action Smokers, $250
2nd place: Guava Smoked, $100
3rd place: Smo’KING, $100 gift certificate
4th place: Diamond Head Market & Grill, $50
5th place: Alwayz Smok’n Sum’n, $ 50 gift certificate
6th place: Capt. Smokey, $25

1st place: Guava Smoked, $250
2nd place: VRM Pit Crew, $100
3rd place: (tie) Smokin’ Shiggy, and Action Smokers, $100 gift certificate
5th place: Alwayz Smok’n Sum’n, $50
6th place: Team Hoku, $25

1st place: VRM Pit Crew, $250
2nd place: (tie) Capt. Smokey, and Prime Time Smoker, $100
4th place: Alwayz Smok’n Sum’n, $50
5th place: Smokin’ Shiggy; $50 gift certificate

1st place: Guava smoked, $250
2nd place: Capt. Smokey, $100
3rd place: Alwayz Smok’n Sum’n, $100 gift certificate
4th place: Action Smokers, $50
5th place: VRM Pit Crew, $50 gift certificate
6th place: Prime Time Smoker, $25

Congratulations to all the winners!

Beautiful custom HOG bikes on display at the ‘Hogs Gone Wild’ event at Cycle City

Along with the smoked meat general public “People’s Choice” sampling session and judging for the smoked meat competition, there was also a custom Harley motorcycle show, live music (modern rock) and a wild pig hunting competition for largest/heaviest boar & sow. For the finale, a “Throwdown” cook-off was held, done ‘Iron Chef’ style, where the two top prize winners were pitted against each other to create an appetizer and entree dish using a set of common ingredients, including meat, vegetables, seasonings and sauces, cooked on smoker grills fueled by flaming hot kiawe wood.


As for the task of judging, like last year, we were broken up into teams for each category: Pork, Beef, Chicken, Fish & Anything Goes. Fortunately I got what I requested, judging the ‘Anything Goes’ category. Since I’ve taken on a predominantly pescetarian diet, not that I used to before, but now more so, eating too much meat doesn’t agree with me at all. Thankfully, most of the dishes that landed in the ‘Anything Goes’ category were some type of seafood, plus one stuffed red pepper item, however that was also wrapped with bacon. While we also got handed the smoked deer and bear stuff. Where’s the smoked Ostrich? And Gator? Common’ guys!

I have two recommended changes they should make next year for the judges.

Number one is, either put the judges in an enclosed room or tent (ventilated of course) during the judging session, or take the AROMA criteria off the ballot, as out in the open air on a windy day like it was at this event, we were all but unable to score that. You just couldn’t smell anything unless you were to put the food right up to your nostrils, which would be silly and pointless. IIRC, I left the AROMA criteria blank on my score sheet, as I didn’t want a low score there to bring down the average of the other criteria scores. “Aroma” was completely irrelevant even under that tent (with no blockades) on a windy day.

Secondly, they should have the contestants include at least a name of their submitted dishes written on the label so we know what we’re judging. As it is, all we see are team numbers. I’d go even further than that by giving them a Food Sample Description sheet to attach with each of their submitted dishes that looks like this:


Team # 1
Dish Category (Pork, Beef, Chicken, Fish or Anything Goes): Pork
Dish Name (“Smoked Okinawan Shoyu Pork”): Uncle Jack’s Paniolo Style Big Island Pulehu Smoked Pork
Preparation & cooking method (smoke house, WSM, open pit, etc.): Marinaded over 24 hours then smoked in a Weber Grill for 5 hours.
Cooking fuel (Kiawe, Guava, Lychee wood, propane, Charcoal, etc.): Guava & Lychee wood
Additional ingredients: I could tell you, but then I’d have to smoke you
Secret ingredient: See answer above
Comments: Give me all top scores!

This way we not only know what we’re sampling, but also what to look for, and what’s missing, or why it looks or tastes the way it does. They do that verbally on Iron Chef and Chopped, so I don’t see why that can’t be done in written form here. Besides, the judges are allowed to walk and visit the competitors booths before the judging, so it isn’t like its entirely “blind”, anyhow.

Other than that, it’s all smokin’ good and ono! Especially with the Poi!


I didn’t stay for the entire event, as I had other domestic tasks going on that day, so didn’t get to cover the Iron Chef style “Showdown” finale, the Wild Pig Hunters’ weigh-ins or the awards. However as I was leaving, there were plenty of people still arriving, and the place was already pretty crowded, so all in all it was another successful event by Fresh Catch, the competitors and everyone involved.

Huge mahalo to organizers Linda & Reno for all the hard work, and of course inviting Yours Truly once again to judge. Supah ono ‘kine smoked grindz and lotsa’ fun!

See you  again next year!

A “domesticated” (not really, but kinda’) live wild boar

Following is a gallery of photos I shot at the event with many more on top of the ones shown in the post above. Enjoy.


Related Links

Smoke gets in your opu and heart – Nadine Kam, Star Advertiser
1st Annual Smoked Meat Competition a Big Hit – The Tasty Island
3rd Annual ‘Up in Smoke’ Challenge – The Tasty Island
4h Annual ‘Up in Smoke’ Cook-Off – The Tasty Island
Smoked Tako (recipes & cooking demo’) – The Tasty Island
Big Island Smoked Pork (recipe & cooking demo’) – The Tasty Island
Big Island Eat: Roy’s Smoked Marlin & Smoked Ahi – The Tasty Island

11 thoughts on “Coverage: 5th Annual ‘Hogs Gone Wild’ Smoked Meat Cook-off

  • July 18, 2013 at 6:02 am

    Been waiting for this…..great job!!!

    Seems to be a smaller crowd this year. Did the word get out late or were there other events that weekend that were competing?

    Question: was all the actual smoking done on site? From raw to done???

    • July 18, 2013 at 6:33 am


      First of all, the venue was smaller, compared to the stadium, of course. Secondly, there were much less competitors this year, which I never got around to asking Linda (the organizer) why so. Years past, there have been nearly 30 teams, whereas this year there were only 12. Not sure if it was because of the smaller venue (less booth openings) or simply lack of entries from the teams end. I’ll ask Linda & Reno and get back to you on that one.

      Crowd-wise, I’d say it was steady busy, but not necessarily jam-packed. Enough space to walk around comfortably, yet still feel like it’s “happening”, if you know what I mean. I much prefer it that way.

      Finally, some of the competitors had their smokers set-up there, where some got their meats smoking from early that morning right on the event site. Reader ‘Crash’ from VRM Pit Crew was one of them, as well as Guava Smoked and Prime Time Smokers. However, there were a few who looked like they did their smoking at home and brought their stuffed already cooked with them, as I don’t recall seeing smokers or grills at every booth. Team #7 ‘Capt Smokey’, the guy with all the exotic hunted animals like New Zealand Red Stag Deer and Alaskan Black Bear jerky was one of them. IIRC, he’s from the Big Island.

      Depending on how the meat is cut and what type it is, it can take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours, to up to 15 hours or more for thick cuts like beef brisket. Seafood cooks and smokes fast. When I make “Big Island style” Smoked Pork (my Uncle Jack’s recipe), I cut the pork into steaks, so it takes “only” about 3.5 to 5.5 hours. Of course, many believe in the SUPER “low and slow” approach, especially especially for pork ribs and beef brisket. So they may have barbecue-smoked their meats at home, then finished it at the event site. By the time I arrived, I didn’t have much time to chat much with the teams to get those details. Hopefully next year I can do so.

      Mr. Crash of VRM Pit Crew should have lots more to add to that. Crash?

      • July 18, 2013 at 9:30 am

        No hurry beef curry on the follow up. Just curious.

        On the BBQ competitions I have frequented, the contestants tend to start the night before with the raw product and are pretty much wiped out when it is time for judging the next day.

        You pick up any new tips/tricks for your smoked tako?

        • July 19, 2013 at 7:53 am


          Well, a few months ago Diner E smoked a batch himself, using his tako hunting buddy’s method of cooking it in booze for over an hour first to tenderize it. He also first lomi’d it with Hawaiian salt to remove the slime, making sure to rinse off the salt thoroughly, knowing tako meat is like a flavor sponge. Instead of beer, he used Whiskey — just enough to help tenderize the meat and keep moisture in the pot, along with the natural water that’s in the tako meat.

          He then smoked it for less than an hour using mesquite wood chips (he didn’t have time to go collect kiawe wood from the beach).

          He brought some to sample, and I really preferred the simplicity of it, where all you taste is the “meaty” flavor of the Tako, having just enough salt to punch it out. Not like mine, where it was way too salty in comparison, and a little too much going on, not to mention way too smokey from being doused in Kiawe smoke for the entire cooking process, from raw state. His could have used a little more smoke flavor, but it was ono as i. He took a whole batch of his Smoke Tako to the mainland as omiyage for some family up there. I take that over Mac Nut Chocolates any day!

          I’d definitely make the Smoked Charsiu Tako again, though. That buggah was a winner! Just not left marinaded as long. Guaranteed if I ace my Smoked Charsiu Tako recipe, I could win an ‘Anything Goes’ at this competition. That is, unless another competitor reads (finds) this comment and COPIES ME! :shock: As a judge of the ‘Anything Goes’ category this year, if someone had submitted Smoked Charsiu Tako, and it turned out good/great? I’d have given them 5 points right across the board! Well OK, minus 1 point on ‘Originality’ for copying my idea. ;-)

          • July 19, 2013 at 12:28 pm

            It’s good to hear that you are making progress here. I can relate to your journey as Tako once was my Waterloo. Slight sidetrack but I thought I would share my latest revelation with regard to cooking Tako. I’ve tried pretty much everything from a preparation standpoint but could not find that right texture even after boiling the heck out of it. You can only slice it so thin….

            Was eating at this restaurant quite a few years ago and I ordered the octopus leg appetizer and it was sooooo soft. Chatted up the chef and he told me he cooked it Greek style or ‘dry’ (after he deslimed it of course). Mind. Blown.

            Which then I found this article (surprised it is still up) and c/p’ed it into a word document.


            I tried the self braise (AKA dry) recipe on some frozen Tako I got at the Mexican food store (‘pulpo’, FYI) and I must tell you, it really worked!!!! Cut with a fork smooth and after reducing the juice and adding a few spices, it was out of control!!!

            Now smoking it……man oh man….. I won’t try it where I live now because of the questionable quality and the fear of under smoking it. And dying. I am glad you have a friend like Diner E who can hook you up with both Tako and great ideas.

      • October 8, 2013 at 5:36 pm

        Well, I’m just a few months late on this one….my bad.

        Here is my take:

        An awesome event, super cool folks all the way around. Cooks, judges, the CC folk and the public were all very fun and energized. Reno and his crew always make this annual event pretty amazing and this one did not disappoint.

        To address a few of your points, well…. bear with me Pomai.

        1) I agree… take aroma off the ballot. Honestly, I applaud you for leaving it blank.

        2) We turned in the bacon wrapped peppers stuffed with crab and cream cheese. Very poor decision on my part, and a decision made the night before the event. One thing I have learned in competition cooking is….NEVER make a decisive plan in a specific category without thoroughly practice and tweaking. We deserved our placing on that category 100%. Epic fail on my part.

        3) Based on this particular event, labeling and describing each turn-in might…might…. be a decent idea. I see how the judges would appreciate it. From a competitor’s viewpoint I will have to respectfully disagree. I think, and this is just my opinion, that the entire field should be leveled. All cooks cook on-site, or just bring your cooked meat and let it roll.

        Now, to address the cooking on-site question from AmyB. We cooked on-site as did the teams that you mentioned above. IMO, it allows for a better quality product for the judges and honestly, that’s the way we “cut our teeth” in Comp BBQ. The shortened time of the comp is not something we are use to really. As Amy mentioned, we have always done overnight KCBS or IBCA events that allow for a traditional “low n’ slow” cook. In our case, meats that once took 12-14 hours have now had their cook times adjusted. For example, beef brisket is usually a 12-14 hour cook at 225ish degrees. We have now learned to “power cook” brisket that still allows the integrity of the category to not be compromised. It really is a scramble to get the pork and brisket done in time for this event, but we’ve managed. Honestly, turning in 5 categories at exactly at the same time really needs to be restrutured IMO. Even 15 minutes apart for each category would really help the teams, of course just my insight and opinion.

        Thanks for the write up Pomai, and again sorry for my late reply.

        • October 9, 2013 at 5:41 am


          Thanks for stopping by (finally!) with commentary on this year’s event. To note, this post is supposed include a gallery with MANY MORE PHOTOS, however that photo gallery plugin was causing conflicts, so I had to chuck it. I’ll work on getting it back up and let you know.

          In response to:

          1.) This year was particularly frustrating trying to judge, as it was unusually windy, so covers and utensils were blowing away, and we definitely could not use our olfactory senses at all. I think more effort needs to be put into the judging area, including providing adequate rubbish (there’s lots of bones), napkins (we kept having to ask for more), as well as of course proper protection from the elements (wind); preferably an enclosed or segregated room, if the facility has one. I will say most of the judges were STOKED that I provided Poi for them as their palate buffer. It really does help when going from one sample to the next, so each dish tastes anew. Ya’ know? Hopefully Reno guys can work on getting a sponsor to provide the judges Poi. Water works, but Poi is better!

          2.) No comment, or I may disqualify myself from judging next year. ;-)

          3.) So then take Iron Chef or Chopped, and imagine the judges never got to watch the chefs cook, nor be explained what they’re sampling. Don’t you think their judgements would be much more inaccurate, being they’d be having to guess what’s in each dish? That’s exactly what we’re doing half the time judging at the Up in Smoke event, is trying to figure out what we’re sampling, especially for the ‘Anything Goes’ category, where there’s some really ODD dishes turned in (take last year’s Smoked Palusami & Crab Dip). At least a basic description: “Smoke Palusami & Crab Dip”. In light of that, there might be concerns on revealing who’s dish is who’s (vs. being “blind”), however, if the judges are allowed to roam the contestants booths prior to judging, we’d obviously know who’s dish is who’s ANYWAY. If being “blind” is that important, there should be a rule that dictates official judges aren’t allowed on the “field” prior to judging. Speaking of which, for the “People’s Choice” ballot, there should be an entry added for “Best Booth Presentation“, as some contestants really go ALL OUT with their props, such as that Capn’ Smokey, who brought all his stuffed game and set them up as props last year, including an Alaskan Bear!

          As for cooking on-site, what time did they allow contestants to start setting up your booth and cooking area at the event location this year (at Cycle City), as compared to years past (Aloha Stadium and Heeia State Park)?

  • July 18, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Pomai, what did they do with the hogs they got? Did they cooked them later some where? Too bad not enough hunters in Northern CA due to lot deers and wild turkeys all over the places and rabbits too.

    • July 19, 2013 at 7:35 am


      If you look at the second to last photo in the gallery here, those are two wild pigs that were hunted earlier that morning up in the Waialua area on the North Shore. I forget how much they said they weighed, but the two guys sitting in the truck who hunted them said (not surprisingly) they were going to make smoked meat. I’m curious how wild pig would work out making something stewed to also help mask the gamey flavor, like say Chinese style Sweet & Sour Pork, and of course Okinawan Pig’s Feet Soup (Ashitibichi). They said out Waialua area there’s quite a lot of wild pig running around for the pickinz. Heyday.

  • July 20, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Totally off topic, but I made an excellent wild boar Pork Tofu a couple nights ago. The trick is to roast the pig first. Then make the pork tofu, pork chop suey, etc. from the cold roast the next day.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: