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North Carolina 4-H Presentation Guidelines: Pork Char-Grill

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  • For youth to know the nutritional value, the economic value and cooking principles of pork and to understand the importance of pork as an agricultural product.


Individuals may compete.

  • 9-10 – 4-H’er must be 9 years old prior to January 1 of the current year and not have reached their eleventh burthday before January 1 of the current year.
  • 11-13 – 4-H’er must be eleven years old prior to January 1 of the current year and not have reached their fourteenth birthday before January 1 of the current year.
  • 14-18 – 4-H’er must be fourteen years of age prior to January 1 of the current year, and not have reached their nineteenth birthday before January 1 of the current year.



  • District contests are open to two (2) contestant from each county per division.
  • District winners and 14-18 runners-up are eligible to participate in the state contest. However, only district winners will receive funding to attend the state contest.
  • Contestants will furnish all equipment necessary to participate in the contests.
  • Contestant is responsible for the purchase and selection of appropriate meat and other ingredients to be used. The amount of meat to prepare should consist of at least 3/4 of a pound of pork.
  • Contestants will dress neatly and appropriately for the occasion.
  • Start to finish time, including starting the fire, will be limited to two (2) hours.
  • A charcoal or gas grill may be used.
  • Contestants should provide a table suitable for displaying his/her finished product.
  • Scoring will be as follows: Contestants will be evaluated on the basis of meat cut selection, imaginative use of meat, excellence of preparation and overall acceptance, including tenderness, juiciness, flavor, and eye appeal. Contestants are urged to refrain from precooked products.
  • Oral presentation is not required.
  • Entry must be completed in its entirety and postmarked by the deadline date to be considered for participation.

The following is a listing of categories, category descriptions, and their maximum number of points:

  • Safety & Efficiency – Safety and ease in handling equipment. (7 points)
  • Appearance of Contestant – Neatness and appropriateness of attire. (8 points)
  • Food Handling & Safety – Cleanliness of grill and other utensils. Proper use of food safety and preparation products, i.e., meat thermometer, food handling gloves, hairnet, etc. (15 points)
  • Cut Selection & Imaginative Use – New ideas in selecting and preparing cuts, choice of spices, sauces and/or seasonings. (20 points)
  • Palatability & Overall Acceptance – Tenderness, juiciness, flavor and uniformity of doneness. (35 points)
  • Attractiveness of Final Product – Uniformity of color, freedom from excess grease and charred edges. Attractiveness of ready-to-serve entry. (15 points)

Suggestions and Additional Requirements

A. Contestants should be prepared to answer questions about the cut of meat used.

B. Clothing & Appearance — dress neatly and appropriately. 4-H colors would be excellent. However, clean, neat clothing such as would be worn at a picnic or an actual cookout is also suitable. An apron should be worn by both boys and girls; and if the apron can identify with pork, so much the better. It would, however, be advisable to have the apron identify with the cut of meat used. A cook’s hat for boys and a hairnet for girls are most desirable. People who work with meat either in processing, preparation or cooking and serving in commercial establishments are required by law to wear hats or hairnets. With the current health concerns, plastic serving gloves are required while preparing and handling the pork. Appropriate gloves for handling hot utensils should be worn while cooking.

C. Grill — one which is large enough to handle the cuts of meat used. An adjustable grill which allows you to raise and lower the meat to control heat and cooking speed is best. If the grill is rusty or greasy, be sure to clean it up before the contest.

D. Table — a portable table, such as a card table, to use for all equipment during preparation and to display finished products is needed. A tablecloth and a small sign with the name of your dish, your name and your county will add much to your demonstration. Garnishes, such as a flower, lettuce, spiced apple rings, peach halves, parsley or pineapple rings, will make your dish more attractive. A plate, knife, fork, spoon, napkin and glass should be used to set the table just as if the judge is going to sit down to eat.

E. Copies of your recipe, name of cut, preparation method, cooking time, sauce and so forth should be available.

F. Tongs for handling and spreading charcoal.

G. Charcoal — use a brand which you have found satisfactory. Measure your charcoal ahead of time and use the same amount each time.

H. Use charcoal lighter fluid. Never use gasoline or other similar material that may explode!! In addition to the danger, it often leaves undesirable odor residue which will be absorbed by your meat. If you measure your lighter fluid use the same amount each time, it helps to get a good fire started. Extreme caution should be taken when gas grills are utilized. Lids of a gas grill should be opened or off when lighting the grill.

I. Use aluminum foil to line the bottom of the charcoal grill. This protects the grill and makes clean up easier.

J. Fire base — vermiculite, sand or other non-flammable granular material that will allow the fire to breathe for faster, more even cooking will help protect your grill. Sand should be dry. Coarse sand or gravel may explode if wet and spoil the meat or even get into your eyes. When used, cover bottom of the grill with about one inch; or if the grill has a rounded bottom, use enough fire base to make a level bed out to the edges.

K. Starting the fire — Be sure the grill is sturdy with the legs secure. Use enough charcoal to cover an area large enough to be sure heat is evenly distributed under the meat. One-half inch between briquettes for beef will help prevent flame-ups. Place charcoal in a pyramid, soak lightly with charcoal lighter fluid, allow to stand two minutes, then light. When the coals are covered with gray ash, spread with tongs. You can get a faster start by using a #10 can (a large shortening, juice or other can) with both ends cut out and with hole about one inch apart, one inch from the bottom or put the can in the grill, fill with charcoal briquettes, soak lightly with charcoal lighter fluid, allow to stand two minutes, then light. When coals are covered with gray ash, remove can with the tongs and spread charcoal. DO NOT USE gasoline, kerosene or highly flammable materials because of the danger of explosion and odor residues which will be absorbed by your meat.

L. Asbestos gloves or hot mitt will protect hands from the heat and are a good safety item.

M. A long-handled fork or meat tongs and a knife for handling your meat and a brush or spoon to apply sauce. A small sauce pan that can be set on the grill will keep your sauce warm and handy for your cookout.

N. Use a suitable high quality meat cut. Tell your butcher what you are planning to do and ask for help with your selection. Chops and ribs are not as thick and will cook in less time than roasts. If roasts or thicker cuts are used, be sure to time your demonstration in order that you can finish in the required two hours. Chops should be one-inch thick for best results. Above all, know what you are cooking. It is also helpful to know the location of the cut in the carcass. Remember, the economics of preparing the meat and less expensive cuts are taken under consideration.

O. An ice chest for your meat cut and garnishes will keep them in good condition en-route to and during your demonstration.

P. Soft drink bottles with a sprinkler stopper or other small sprinkler for controlling flame-up is helpful. Avoid using spray bottles as they tend to cause charcoal dust ashes to rise and possibly land on the pork.

Q. Cooking the meat — place meat on grill and begin cooking. If you have a flame-up, sprinkle with water and continue cooking. Smoke flavor can be increased by using wood chips from hickory, oak, apple or cherry. Do not use soft wood chips. Soak chips at least one hour and place a few on your charcoal. If they dry out and begin to burn, remove with tongs and replace. You will need a bucket and water if you plan to use soaked chips. Meat should be prepared to 150 degrees F internal temperature. However, this depends on the cut prepared. Check your resource outlined for the proper temperature. Use a meat thermometer to obtain the internal temperature. When meat is done, remove and display for the judges.

R. Clean up after judging is finished. Charcoal is hot and will be dangerous for several hours. Be careful. It should be:

1. placed in a metal container provided for this purpose
2. buried or placed in an open hole in the ground
3. soaked in a bucket of water
4. Do not put charcoal in a container with other trash or leave it in the open.

S. Remember!!! You are presenting a demonstration in outdoor cookery. The judge is watching you. Pay attention to your cooking. Keep your work area neat and clean. Stand up and act business-like. Leaning, propping, sitting, and drinking water or soft drinks detract from your demonstration. Watch the judge and do not spend too much time visiting with others. Once you reach the contest site, you are on your own. This is your demonstration. Assistance from others may get you disqualified.

See NC 4-H Presentation Regulations


District Winners: $50.00 scholarship to State 4-H Congress and a plaque

State Winners: $75 award and a plaque

State Runner Ups: a plaque


Brent Jennings
Animal Science
Extension Associte 4-H Youth Livestock
Phone: 919-515-4467

Page Last Updated: 6 years ago
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