Smithfield Whole Hog Challenge At The Coke Zero 400

If NASCAR and BBQ ribs sound like a winning combination, then let me tell you about the Smithfield Whole Hog Challenge. Throughout the 2015 racing season, Smithfield is hosting an eating contest at various Sprint Cup races with the winners receiving trips to future NASCAR races.

Smithfield Whole Hog Challenge
I was invited to attend the Whole Hog Challenge at the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona, and the highlight of my visit was meeting the king himself, Richard Petty!

Richard Petty Coke Zero 400
It was a soggy day in Daytona for the Coke Zero 400, but that didn’t stop contestants of the Whole Hog Challenge from polishing off their plates of ribs. The winner of the Daytona contest, which was officiated by Aric A, won a trip to Homestead in November to compete against other qualifying winners for a chance to win a trip to the Daytona 500 to kick off the 2016 season.

Smithfield Whole Hog Challenge Richard Petty
If you plan to attend any of the following Sprint Cup races, be sure to look for the Smithfield stage and apply for your spot in the Whole Hog Challenge:

August 22 – Bristol, Tennessee
September 12 – Richmond, Virginia
October 10 – Charlotte, North Carolina
October 25 – Talladega, Alabama
November 1 – Martinsville, Virginia
November 8 – Fort Worth, Texas

After the Whole Hog Challenge I was invited to join the 43 team for dinner. Fueling the 43 team up before the big race Chef Justin Leo, from American Q, prepared a Smithfield buffet that included ribs (of course), CCC stuffed peppers, bacon macaroni and cheese and corn bread pudding. Oh my yum!

Smithfield Justin Leo
The team gobbled up several racks of Smithfield ribs, and Chef Justin Leo was nice enough to share the rib recipe. So even if you can’t make it out to a Whole Hog Challenge yourself, you can enjoy the good eats at home!

Ancho Chile Rubbed St. Louis Style Pork Spareribs

BBQ Rib Recipe for the Smithfield Whole Hog Challenge by Justin Leo from American Q.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Justin Leo


For Ribs

  • 2 Smithfield Extra Tender St. Louis Style Pork Spareribs

For Rub

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon coffee grounds fine ground
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

For Glaze

  • 4 dried ancho chiles seeded and stemmed
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and stemmed
  • 1 yellow onion cut in half
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro stems removed
  • 4 limes juiced
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar


For Rub

  1. Mix all ingredients well in a small mixing bowl and set aside for ribs.

For Glaze

  1. Grill ancho peppers lightly until crisp.
  2. Grill jalapeno, onion, and tomatoes until charred and blistered.
  3. Place ancho peppers, jalapeno, onion, tomatoes, and cilantro in blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Add lime juice and continue to blend until smooth.
  5. Remove mixture from blender and place in a saucepot with the cider vinegar and brown sugar.
  6. Cook for 15 minutes over low heat or until sugar is dissolved and sauce is syrup in consistency.

For Ribs

  1. Place ribs on a baking sheet and season liberally on both sides with the rub.
  2. Let stand room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Place ribs in a 225°F pre-heated smoker with hickory wood or chips for best flavor.
  4. Cook for approximately 4-5 hours or until internal temperature reaches 170°F.
  5. Remove ribs from smoker and place on a high heat grill.
  6. Baste ribs with pre-made sauce and cook until a nice patina shows ensuring a thick coating of sauce.
  7. Cut ribs and enjoy!

NASCAR fans know that the Coke Zero 400 had a late start due to the rain, but there is plenty to see and do at Sprint Cup races to keep fans entertained. Including this little piggy golf cart making its way though the crowd announcing its arrival with snorts and grunts.

Smithfield Golf Cart
Thanks to Smithfield and the 43 team for inviting me to be part of their big day. Good luck to Aric A throughout the rest of the season, we will be rooting for the team that is fueled by bacon.

Aric Almirola Coke Zero 400

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