Food Stories

Documentary shorts — unscripted — featuring farmers, artisans, and others

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Going Whole Hog (video)

Going whole hog for world champion BBQer Mike Davis is an every day experience. A cancer survivor, Davis has made barbecue not only his life’s passion, he has made it into a highly successful career.

I did a little cheating for this weeks episode. I created Going Whole Hog from footage I shot of Mike Davis (most call him Sarge, as I did after spending a day with him) a couple of years ago. I was looking for a world champion barbecuer who had gone on to become a successful restaurateur (Whole Hog Cafe). With all the barbecue restaurants out there, I thought it would be an easy task. But it wasn’t. I learned of Sarge through longtime bbq circuit judge, Wayne Lohman. He had high praise for him, both on the circuit and off. I initially talked to Ron, his partner, and explained my project. He said, you need to talk to Sarge.

hog-and-beadsSarge was not too excited about being on camera, it just didn’t fit his nature. I understood. I’m much more comfortable behind the camera. But he was full of a lot of good information and was willing to share, so he said come on down. It took him awhile to warm up to us, the lights, and the lens. But he did. I found that his uneasiness disappeared when he started talking about barbecue. This was a subject he was very comfortable in.

I wanted to retell Sarge’s story because I think it’s worth sharing. The original was not told at the depth it is here. The cards he was dealt in his life were not always pretty ones, but he managed in a way that was true to himself. With a career in the army, Sarge got the big C, which led to his early retirement. In remission, and working odd jobs, he was recruited by his daughter’s orthodontist to help build a welcome shack for a local barbecue competition. In addition, the crew entered ribs in the event. And Sarge got hooked.

Barbecue was his new mission in life. He loved barbecue, his friends loved to eat his barbecue, and the rest played out as if in a fairy tale, good ending and all…

Recipes from the show: BBQ Bacon Wrapped Shrimp; Por-Qué BBQ Beans.

—Rebecca Gerendasy

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2 Comments

  1. Jo Anne says:

    How can I contact The Sarge. I would like to know if he would be willing to cook for my husband and I for a party we are having in August. This party is to celebrate my husband earning his PhD in IT management…. a long and ardious study. Please email me at jdborrego@msn.com even if you are not interested in doing this.