7:24 PM Derek , 2 Comments
Pigfoot: The first ribs I tried were from Pigfoot BBQ from West Salem, OH. The ribs were well seasoned and cooked just about right. They had a decent smoke ring and a nice outer crust. Overall, they were probably my favorite ribs in the competition. Pigfoot claims to have the meatiest St. Louis style ribs, but they must have given them out on Friday. My only real complaint about Pigfoot's ribs was the lack of meat on each bone. I really didn't get much for my money. Their sauce was a pretty typical rib sauce. It wasn't quite as sweet as I would have liked, but it was still pretty good.
Big Boned BBQ Co: Katie's first choice was Big Boned BBQ from Hixson, TN. Their ribs were big and meaty, but they also had the most fat content of any of the ribs that we tried. There also wasn't much of a smoke ring (or smoke flavor). The sauce was dark and flavored with brown sugar and molasses; no surprise considering their Tennessee origins. However, I wasn't thrilled with the taste. It really tasted like an inexpensive commercial sauce (KC Masterpiece).
Texas Thunder: Texas has a great BBQ tradition so I was excited to see what Texas Thunder had to offer. They were new to the competition this year. Their ribs were meaty, but far too tender. They were falling off the bone as the server was slicing them. The meat pulled completely away after taking one bite. The tomato based sauce had a nice spice to it, but it wasn't exceptional.
Carolina Rib King: The South Carolina based Carolina Rib King is a two time Grand Champion at the Twin City Ribfest. Last year, they won the trophy for best ribs. Every year I've attended the festival, they've had the longest line of patrons. We finished up the day with a half rack of ribs from the Rib King. The ribs were well cooked and the spice rub made a nice crust. They were pretty tender, but had a bit too much fat still on the bone. Katie and I disagreed about the sauce. I liked it quite a bit, but she thought the tomato flavor was too overpowering. She compared it to ketchup.
In addition to the rib competitors, there were dozens of vendors selling food, beverages, crafts and other products. There were also several vendors selling locally made BBQ sauces. We got free samples of three different sauces. Fireside Foods was on site providing samples of their locally made Black Jack BBQ sauce. Katie and I both really enjoyed their sauce. I don't know that I would call it a BBQ sauce, but it was tasty none the less.
Another great sauce that I sampled was Momma G's Cooking sauce. Momma G's is the type of sauce that I love. It's an all natural sweet and spicy tomato based sauce. It's a bit too thin for glazing, but the flavor is phenomenal. It was good enough that I had to buy a bottle for myself.
We also sampled a couple different sauces from Tay's out of Cameron, NC. I enjoyed their all purpose Carolina sauce. It had a nice vinegar tang. We also tried their new Sweet n Smokey sauce. It was thicker with a brown sugar sweetness. It wasn't quite my style, but I still appreciated the sample.
Despite the blazing heat, Ribfest was an enjoyable festival once again. Last year's favorite vendor, Two Fat Guys, was sorely missed, but the new additions to the festival were solid contributors. The festival seems to get bigger and better every year. It's become the highlight of my summer. I hope organizers continue to draw top notch competitors for years to come.