It’s almost time for high school stadiums throughout Illinois to light up the skies on Friday nights, which means it’s also time for the best concession crews in the state to light up their grills!
The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and the Illinois Pork Producers are proud to announce the third annual Pork & Pigskins State Championship, as the IHSA and Illinois Pork Producers team-up to find the state’s best concession stand pork fare. The first two editions of Pork & Pigskins crowned the top pork chop sandwich in the state, but the contest is expanding this year to include any pork products that our grillers serve on gameday. To enter, click here.
“Nothing beats the experience of a high school football game in Illinois,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “The recipe for a great gameday experience includes the bands, cheerleaders, fans, and of course, the aroma of a grill permeating throughout the stadium. We appreciate the Illinois Pork Producers continued support of IHSA schools and all the amazing folks who are going to be serving up chops, brats, bacon, sausages, and other pork products at IHSA games this season.”
Hall High School in Spring Valley (right) captured the 2022 Pork & Pigskins State Championship, while Normal Community High School’s A-Train crew won the inaugural contest in 2021. The 2023 state champ will receive a prize package from the Illinois Pork Producers that includes a $500 reimbursement on their pork purchase for next season, a state championship banner, and the coveted Golden Spatula (below right).
“We are excited to continue our partnership with the IHSA to recognize the volunteers in our communities who work the concession stands and help us to encourage more people to consume these great pork products across the state while supporting our producers,” said Illinois Pork Producers Board President Chad Leman.
The 2023 competition will follow a similar format from 2022, as the contest will feature a mix of online fan voting and special guest judges. The Savory 16 will be determined via online voting, at which point guest judges will flock to games around the state to sample the food. The state champion will be announced on October 21 and then recognized at the 2023 IHSA Football State Championships on November 25 at Hancock Stadium on the Illinois State University campus in Bloomington-Normal.
The IHSA is once again seeking guest judges, so if you have a hunger for IHSA football (and pork products on the grill) and frequent area high school contests, please let us know why you'd be a great guest judge here.
Any IHSA schools interested in entering their BBQ boss in the Pork & Pigskins Championship can do so at IHSA.org beginning on August 14.
Fans are once again encouraged to post photos and video of their favorite concession stand pork items on social media with the hashtag #PorkandPigskins
A timeline on the 2023 Pork & Pigskins State Championship is provided below:
- August 3: Guest Judge Entry Opens: Sign-Up Here
- August 14: School Entry Opens: Enter here
- September 13: School Entry and Guest Judge Entry Closes
- September 14 & 15: Online Voting to determine the Savory 16
- September 21 – October 20: Savory 16 judged in-person by guest judges
- October 21: State Champion Announced on IHSA Playoff Pairing Preview Show
- November 25: Champion receives prizes at 2023 IHSA Football State Championships