Hogs for the Cause will expand its musical lineup and competitive lineup this year.

Photo from 2012 Hogs for the Cause
Photo courtesy of Hogs for the Cause

This year, Hogs for the Cause has expanded its musical lineup. The pork cook-off to benefit those suffering with pediatric brain cancer will this year have two musical stages and out-of-town bands Robert Randolph and the Family Band (with guest Anders Osborne), soul singer Lee Fields and the Expressions, and The Apache Relay joining Rebirth Brass Band, The Revivalists, Eric Lindell, Lost Bayou Ramblers, and Mississippi Rail Company. 

The event takes place March 22 and 23, when Hogs becomes the first festival to take place on City Park's new Festival Grounds, with improved drainage to avoid the swampy mess that affected last year's event. On Friday, March 22, Hogs for the Cause will for the first time host the "Friday Night Tailgate Experience," and for $5, people will be able to visit with the cooking teams, with drinks and food for sale from many of the competitors.

Also on Friday, Hogs for the Cause will present the 2013 Southern Asado Gala Dinner, coordinated by Chefs Stephen Stryjewski and Ryan Prewitt from the Link Restaurant Group. A limited number of seats will be available for this dinner at City Park with 13 of the South's best chefs cooking whole animals, vegetables and more using traditional open fire cooking techniques. It will start with passed hors d’oeuvres, a seafood bar, and cocktails by Cure's Neal Bodenheimer. Dinner will also include salads and charcuterie, wines courtesy of Neat Wines, and roasted fruit pies and after dinner drinks. Tickets are $300, $200 of which will be tax deductible.

The heart of the event is the Cook-off, which started with 27 teams and now is up to 82 from across the country. On Saturday, March 23, they will compete in a number of categories including ribs, shoulder and whole hog, and they will sell their efforts at stands by their pits. With the expanded musical lineup, this year's event will start at lunch time and go into the evening.