What originated as a casual cook-out competition on The Fly (the riverfront green space behind Audubon Zoo) has evolved into a full-blown, highly anticipated annual festival — but Hogs for the Cause, which is happening on Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1, at a new location at the UNO Lakefront Arena grounds has always kept its mission on the front burner: a fundraising event for families of children battling pediatric brain cancer.
As their festival grows each year, founders Rene Louapre and Becker Hall have added more competitive elements, live music, and local celebrity guest appearances, resulting in record-breaking attendance and fundraising. Since its inception, Hogs for the Cause has helped more than 200 families with expenses related to their children’s brain cancer ailments and raised more than $1 million. It has also established a Hogs for the Cause Fund at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans.
“Hogs” has been named one of the Ten Best BBQ Festivals in the U.S. by Delish.com. Moreover, it’s one of the premier spring festivals in New Orleans. With two days-worth of family, food, fun, and fundraising, we know you’ll want to celebrate like a boss… hog.
Boss Hog Ways to Do Hogs for the Cause
Feast your eyes — not just your stomach. Not a big eater? No problem. Part of the fun is watching the crowd and the judges pig-out on barbecue in the following categories: Ribs, Whole hog, Shoulder, Porkpourri, Sauce, Martin’s Potato Rolls Perfect Bite, and Blue Plate Side Dish. Over 90 teams of barbecue pros and avid home cooks assembled together is a sight in and of itself. You can also keep an eye out for pig puns aplenty — look for team names like Swineaux, The Pig Lebowski, Hupig’s Pies, Magnum PIG, and more.
Get sauced. Yes, there are plenty of adult beverages, but many of the teams make their own barbecue sauces, bottled and available for purchase. It’s also fun to organize a sauce-tasting and declare your own “best in sauce.”
Go strange. Each year teams are challenged to created combinations of flavors in a dish that falls into the Porkpourri category. One year, the winner was a magnificent pink, pig-faced, bacon and Steen’s cane syrup French macaron.
Pack hearty. You’re going to want to stick around at this fun fest, so pack your festival bag/backpack like you mean it (as in mean to stay for a while). A few ideas: blanket, towel, sunscreen, rain boots, hat, hairbands, hand wipes, and antacids.
Try a dish from the ‘Porkpourri’ category. One year, the winner was a magnificent pink, pig-faced, bacon and Steen’s cane syrup French macaron.
Dine and dance. There’s a lot of food out there, so think “Hogs for some weight loss” and make sure to get in a little booty-shaking between bites. With fantastic bands booked for the festival, this one is easy.
Pig-stagram. Take lots and lots of pictures and organize your own competition to see who can post Instagram “pig-tures” that get the most “likes.” Feel free to use the hashtag #Hogsforthecause2017.
Vote. Yep, practice getting your voice heard by voting on your favorite foods and booth design.
Put the [pig] sty in stylin’. Purchasing commemorative merchandise (t-shirts, hats, and more) is just another way to support this awesome fundraiser.
Veg out. Actually, veg in! Despite the pig-centric menu, veggies are here. There are on-site vendors selling vegetarian fare.
Eat this! If last year’s event is anything to go by, there is a seemingly unlimited approach to the good ol’ pig. Though we don’t have the deets on what’s available this year, here are three dishes from 2016 to whet your appetite:
- Team Magnum PIG did The Pork Doubledown – their own bacon, smoked chili mayonnaise, and good ol’ American cheese, sandwiched between two fried pork loin “buns.”
- Team Up In Smoke provided their famous Apple-Pork Hupig’s Pie.
- Hogaritaville a.k.a. Team Frey Smoked Meats (a 1st Place ribs winner) pulled out all the stops with pulled pork poutine smothered in bacon gravy.
Drink this! This year there will be a specialty beverage for the event—after teaming up with NOLA Brewing, Hogs for the Cause has its own beer, Hog Tied (a Belgian Wit).
Tickets for this year’s Hogs for the Cause are available now.