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Photo of Melissa Black in a pig costume, November 1999
Clowning around at the 34th annual Chitlin' Strut Beauty Pageant, November 26, 1999

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Chitlin' Strut
A Local Legacy

Do you have the "guts" to attend the Chitlin' Strut held every year in Salley, South Carolina? The main focus of this festival is the preparation and consumption of large amounts of chitterlings ("chitlin's") -- otherwise known as boiled hog intestines. The festival began in 1966 because the mayor was looking for a way to raise money for new Christmas decorations for the town of Salley.

Chitlin's are considered a delicacy (a special and desirable food) in South Carolina and other parts of the South. But chitlin's must be prepared carefully. They must be soaked and rinsed thoroughly in several changes of cool water, and repeatedly picked clean, by hand, of extra fat and specks. They are then boiled and simmered until tender. They can be prepared different ways. Standard recipes call for simmering the chitlin's for three to five hours in water seasoned with salt, black pepper, and perhaps hot peppers, along with vinegar and an onion. But everyone has a different recipe. Sometimes they are cooked with hog maws (hog stomach), or fried in a batter.

The festival's popularity has grown steadily from 1,000 people when it started to an average crowd of 40,000 to 60,000 people today, who eat more than 10,000 pounds of chitlin's!

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