PUBLIC NOTICE: In observance of Memorial Day, the Town offices will be closed on Monday, May 27, 2024.  Offices will reopen for business on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.

Smithfield Cup logo


ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C. – (May 16, 2024) – The inaugural Smithfield Cup will take place this fall in historic Elizabethtown, pitting barbecue teams from North Carolina and South Carolina against each other in a battle of BBQ supremacy.

The new event will be staged on Sunday, Oct. 13 on the grounds of picturesque Cape Fear Distillery as a select group of pitmasters from the Carolinas will prepare pork samplings from title sponsor Smithfield Foods, which operates the world’s largest pork processing plant in the world in nearby Tar Heel.

In addition, the town of Elizabethtown is one of several presenting sponsors of this unique culinary experience.

Patrons to the event will be provided samples of chopped barbecue, ribs and more, and one Southern side from each team, and then cast their People’s Choice vote for the best BBQ. The winning team will be awarded the Smithfield Cup and display the trophy for one year in that winning state.

The Smithfield Cup is scheduled for noon-5 p.m., with general admission tickets $20. A limited amount of VIP Early Bird tickets are available for $40. That VIP experience gets patrons into the event at 11 a.m. (one hour before the General Admission ticket to beat the crowds) and allows for a second sampling of each of the team’s offerings.

Active and retired military tickets are $15 and kids 14 and under are admitted FREE.
The two barbecue teams will consist of two professional pitmasters and two amateurs. The North Carolina pros are Lewis Donald of Sweet Lew’s BBQ in Charlotte, N.C., and Jake Wood of Lawrence Barbecue in Durham, N.C. The South Carolina pros are Dylan Cooke of Fork Grove Barbecue in Anderson, S.C., and Robbie Robinson from City Limits Barbeque in Columbia, S.C.

“It’s exciting to celebrate one of our area’s agricultural industries with a true culinary experience for everyone to enjoy,” said Elizabethtown Mayor Sylvia Campbell. “We know this event will attract more people to see our beautiful small town, shop our downtown and discover what southern hospitality is all about.” 

“We’re thrilled to open our doors to Elizabethtown and share our rich heritage through one of our top attractions,” added Elizabethtown Town Manager Dane Rideout. “What better way to celebrate than with a showdown between BBQ masters from North Carolina and South Carolina? No matter who claims victory, attendees are in for a mouthwatering experience.”

The barbecue competition will also feature live music and entertainment, a vintage car display, a Kids Zone with petting zoo, presenting sponsor Carolina CoPacking barbecue sauce and rub vendor sampling and competition, along with a selection of local craft beer, wine and spirits.

Cape Fear Distillery, one of the event’s presenting sponsors, is now one of North Carolina’s leading distilleries, with 13 different liquor options in addition to an array of wine selections.

Elizabethtown, with a charming downtown area, celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2023.  The Bladen County town is located about an hour northwest of Wilmington and 35 miles south of Fayetteville and 20 minutes from Lumberton.  

The Smithfield Cup will be operated by Tarheel Festivals, who also stage the fourth annual Pinehurst Barbecue Festival over Labor Day weekend in the Village of Pinehurst.

About Tarheel Festivals:

Tarheel Festivals, LLC is a full-service event management and production company headquartered in Pinehurst.  With over 40 years of producing signature events, its team of professionals build festival experiences from inspiration to integration.
The official event partner for the Pinehurst- Southern Pines-Aberdeen Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), Tarheel Festivals, LLC will also stage the fourth annual Pinehurst Barbecue Festival over Labor Day weekend and the sixth annual Festival D’Avion at the Moore Country Airport on Oct. 26, 2024.

For tickets to the Smithfield Cup and additional information log on to

Contact Information:
Dave Droschak, Droschak Communications,
919-630-6656, [email protected]
Peter Stilwell, Tarheel Communications Solutions,
910-528-7101, [email protected]