Ribbons of smoke snake upward, wafting from steel-drum smokers lining the perimeter of the Union Station Train Shed in downtown Montgomery. Each wisp contains a billion scent molecules that quickly disseminate the savory smells of slow-cooking meat throughout the space, creating a siren-song affect with aroma that’s pretty hard to resist. Then the band starts up, overtaking friendly chatter and kids laughter, inviting your ears to join the party your nose and mouth already RSVP’d “yes” to.
Last year’s Hog Days of Summer was a feast for the senses, and the 2019 event on Saturday, August 17 promises no less. Crews from barbecue joints including Moe’s Original Bar B Que, Full Moon, Dreamland and Jim ’N Nick’s plus special out-of-town guest James-Beard-Award-winning chef Ryan Prewitt of New Orleans will be cooking up all kinds of ‘cue as well as both customary and creative ‘cue sides.
There will be cold beer, including Alabama brews like Trim Tab, Red Clay Brewing and Railyard Brewing. Alabama’s own Clyde May’s whiskey will be flowing. Children will be bouncing (both in and out of bouncy houses). And the rockin’ folksy notes of Americana acts like Will Stewart and headliners, The North Mississippi Allstars, will be mingling with the afore-mentioned protein perfume in the air.
It’s tough to imagine why, if you like good food, good music and good company, you’d not be piggin’ out at Hog Days this year, but if you need more enticement, how about this? The event is not just for fun; it’s a fundraiser. Hosted by The Druids Charity Club (a group of Montgomery guys who formed a nonprofit to better their city), Hog Days of Summer raises money to benefit a larger nonprofit, Hogs for the Cause (this group has its own HUGE barbecue cook-off competition in New Orleans each year). Hogs for the Cause is focused on helping families who have been affected by pediatric brain cancer, raising funds to provide grants to these families and offset some of the staggering costs associated with their children’s treatment that many of them face.
Hogs for the Cause is based in New Orleans, but every cent raised at each year’s Hog Days of Summer event helps a family in the River Region. So to recap: It’s local guys using the South’s favorite claim to culinary fame to rally local folks around a local cause.
See you there!