Now in its tenth year, Hogs For The Cause is back this Friday and Saturday, March 23 and 24, at the East Campus of the University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena Grounds with an incredible line up of music, drinks, barbecue, and now bacon from 85 teams across America. The festivities benefit the families of kids with pediatric brain cancer.
Hogs co-founder, Becker Hall, recently talked to Eater about what to look out for this year. Here’s what to expect.
The New Stuff
Forget the cumbersome, wooden Hoggy Dollars of yore. RFID wristbands are taking their place as the payment method for food and drinks, which makes sense from a logistical standpoint. It’s a digital, cashless payment system that means faster lines. Plus, the bracelet can be reloaded online or at any of the “top-up stations” on the festival grounds. Swap your ticket for a wristband early at Urban South Brewery on Wednesday, March 21 at 5 p.m.
Friday night will become what Hall hopes will be “biggest bacon party in the country.” Nueske’s Bacon Night on Friday, March 23 from 3:30 p.m. until 11 p.m will have 85 barbecue teams competing for the best bacon dish, nine bands (including the headliner for the festival), and, of course, booze.
While the teams keep their barbecue dishes a secret, every single team has released its bacon dish ahead of time. Expect lots of jalapeño poppers, bacon sliders, and BLTs; plus heart-attack-inducing dishes Swineaux’s “bacon bomb” (a ground bacon and pork shoulder burger with double-smoked bacon, and brie all deep-fried in pure lard); cheffy options like Hoggystyle’s Buffalo bacon mofongo boulettes with pickled green onions and popcorn ranch; and sweet stuff like Porkchopitoulas’ Elvis pudding made of peanut butter, bacon, and bananas. Also look for bacon variations of classic New Orleans dishes, like Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q’s bacon ya-ka-mein. Here’s the full menu.
Expect a lot more shade, with two new tents (the Phelps Dunbar Beer Hall and Tito’s Front porch). Plus, the tented Kids’ Zone is expanding.
On the subject of the Phelps Dunbar Beer Hall, expect to be able to “crush craft beer and listen to music at the same time” while you’re there. There’s a stage, plus fifteen special beers on tap, like Parish Strawberry Canebrake; Urban South Holy Roller; Gnarly Barley Jucifer; Port Orleans Dorada; Parish Envie; Virtue Cider; Saint Arnold Raspberry AF; Tin Roof Blonde; Bayou Teche Rajin’ Cajun; Tin Roof Voodoo; Urban South Lime Cucumber Gose (official release); Port Orleans Ella Pilsner (official release); Gnarly Barley Korova Milk Porter; Bayou Teche Acadie; and Dorada Tabasco Michelada.
Other new drink options include lots of domestic beers around the festival grounds and FROZEN MARGARITAS.
Thursday night, The Link Group and Hogs for the Cause present a sold-out Caddy-shack inspired gala with putting greens, country club food like crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, tuna tartar, iceberg salad with blue cheese, smoked prime rib, twice baked poatoes, creamed spinach, and mac and cheese. Cure is likely mixing up some John Daly and Dustin Johnson cocktails and serving them in very country-clubby “Hog-usta National” styrofoam cups.
The News Stuff
The Times-Pic’s Todd Price has the scoop on some next-level booth designs. Hall doesn’t know what to expect, but he did turn down a proposal for a dunk tank filled with barbecue sauce. Lines must be drawn somewhere.
The Advocate’s Ian McNulty considers how the New Orleans barbecue scene has grown and changed in the ten years since the first Hogs for the Cause, with some teams have becoming brick-and-mortar businesses.
Single-day general admission tickets are $25/day or $49 for 2-day tickets.
Boss Hog VIP tickets are $199/day or $349 for 2-day tickets with admission, re-entry, a wristband pre-loaded with money, free booze alcohol in the VIP tent, private bathrooms, and front-of-stage viewing for the music.
Judges Pass tickets are $50/day. Officially judge the barbecue.
The Side Stage Pass is $500/day and gets the ticket-holder on-stage viewing at the main stage, plus all the Boss Hog amenities.
Free entry for kids under 12.
Pre-load the RSID bracelet with funds right here.
Hogs is best when approached with a master plan. Here’s a map of the grounds to get your started.
Music lineup here.
More FAQs right here.
The forecast is looking glorious. Sunny, clear, and between the 60s and 70s on Friday. Partly cloudy with a high of 79 on Saturday.