RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – If there’s one thing Bobby Scott knows best, it’s barbecue.
“I get the pleasure when people eat it—that’s probably the best part of it for me,” Scott said.
For four years, Scott said he’s been able to share his business, Fat Boys BBQ, with families at the North Carolina State Fair. From the pulled pork to the brisket Mac N’ Cheese, Scott said everything on his menu is fresh and homemade. In 2021, Scott’s Carolina Cowboy Rolls also won first place from People’s Choice.
Scott said he and other food vendors have put in a lot of preparation for this year’s fair.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about the food and the rides,” said Scott.
Before fairgoers get a taste of what’s on the midway this year, Wake County health inspectors must examine all of the food vendors, tents and stands to make sure each is operating safely and preventing foodborne illnesses. Since Monday, dozens of health inspectors have been busy going through inspections at more than 150 vendors.
Ginger Johnson is among the team doing food inspections this year and said Wake County Environmental Services has a list of strict laws and guidelines that businesses must meet before receiving a permit.
Johnson said, “We have gotten a lot permitted and have a long way to go. We haven’t had any major issues, some minor plumbing things, somebody didn’t have their gas hooked up quickly enough to be permitted as it was scheduled, but nothing that can’t be overcome easily.”
In addition to making sure employees are following good hygiene practices, Johnson said health inspectors are also making sure food is being cooked and stored at proper temperatures and that equipment is clean and operating safely. She added, “Overall clean, good shape, nobody touches anything with bare hands after it’s cooked, temperatures… We check to make sure all of the heat lamps over the food are shatterproof—we don’t want any bulbs exploding and glass in the food.”
Johnson said the inspection process can be more extensive for vendors operating out of a larger space and with a more complex menu.
“Everyone has new foods to introduce, people come just to try to the food, so they want to make sure they’re ready for that and they have new ideas to give to the customers,” said Johnson.
For Scott, he said the inspection process is an exciting moment as they get closer to the fair opening to the public. He said, “We probably were the first one here to get a permit, we got it last Friday. I’ve already cooked 120 briskets since then and most people are just getting their permits today.”
He added, “To pass health inspection, you have to be on your toes, sharp and ready.”