We spent Wednesday, August 28 until Friday, August 30, 2013, wandering around the 25th, Nugget Best ln The West Rib Cook-off. What better way to spend a few days but to wander around the largest rib cook-off west of the Mississippi drinking beer, eating ribs, and other great food?
Photo: Late Wednesday afternoon, August 28, 2013, the first, and only rib stop was Rasta Joe's, who features Jamaican barbecue. Their slogan reads, "The best ribs you'll ever eat... from Plymouth, IN." Well said...
Photo: Mr. Pitmaster, in action, as he works his magic on the grill...
Photo: The friendly counter gal was more than happy to fix me up with a box of Jamaica Meat Combo.
Photo: Oh yeah! I proudly show the camera my Jamaica Meat Combo dinner. I had always wondered what Jamaican barbecue was like, as I'm used to the four barbecue genres of the United States. Tonight, I got to find out...
Photo: The official name of this delicious dinner is "Rasta's Taste of Jamaica Meat Combo." That's a lot of words, and a lot of meat. For $18.00, you get 3 BBQ ribs, 3-oz. "Famous Jamaican pork," 3-oz BBQ beef brisket, and 3-oz smoked chicken. I couldn't resist adding a lot of barbecue sauce for dipping. The meat was fantastic, but I could not taste anything different about it - Jamaican - and could not distance it from the other 24 rib cookers. My impression has always been that Jamaica cuisine uses a lot of jerk... the only jerk that I could find was myself. Jerk aside, this meal was delicious!
Photo: Friday evening at six featured the "Rib Eating Contest," featuring the reining champion of rib, and other eating, Joey Chestnut, in the center, next to the camera. To his immediate right is local gal Melissa Vojiko, all 105 pounds of her, as she chows down on ribs. She looks small, but it's reported that her family says she can eat like a "bottomless pit." The goal of the contest was simple: To see which contestant could wolf down the greatest number of ribs in 12 minutes.
Photo: Joey Chestnut is the winner, as he ate a whopping 13.76 pounds of ribs in 12 minutes! Melissa managed to eat over 7 pounds or ribs, which is more than I could eat in a week!
Photo: Man can't live by ribs along, and Nugget Rib Cook-Off features three deep-fried veggies places, each one of the identical. They feature deep-fried onion rings, zucchini, mushrooms, and giant "Texas Tators," which I have yet to attempt.
Photo: My order of battered deep-fried veggies is being assembled by the friendly crew. The date is Thursday morning, August 29, 2013, and this was my first delicacy of the day at the 2013 Nugget Rib Cook-off.
Photo: Generally you order either onion rings or zuchinni solo, for the price of $6.00, but if you pony up three additional dollars, you get a combination plate which features deep-fried onion rings, zuchinni and mushrooms. Since I love all of them, and can never make up my mind, the combination plate is always the way I go.
Photo: My delicious lunch of deep-fried zuchinni, onion rings and mushrooms, along with catsup for dipping. These are among the best deep-fried veggies that I've ever eaten!
Photo: I post for my camera with my wonderful lunch, before I divided it into two containers. The food is expensive, but worth every hard-earned penny of it.
Photo: During the Nugget Rib Cook-off, a 5-block section of Victorian Ave., between Victorian Plaza Circle, and Pyramid Way, is closed to vehicular traffic, transforming it into a pedestrian heaven, and a giant street party. Booze is not only plentiful, but open containers are not only allowed, but encouraged within the friendly confines of the cook-off. There are many beer trailers which sell Budweiser beer for $6.50 for a 16-oz plastic cup, which can get a tad expensive if you love beer as much as I do. However, since I "know the ropes," there are three brick-and-mortar bars at the east end of the event who gladly sell 16-oz Pabst or Rolling Rock beers for $3.00, so I spent about 95% of my beer-drinking time at the east end of the event. It's easy, as three bars are located three-in-a-row... paradise for beer drinkers. Pictured in the photo is The Alley.
Photo: Friendly, The Alley bartendresses Erica and Denise, who treated my like a king, and made my days even more enjoyable. I enjoyed many a Pabst beers at The Alley, but Denise has just made me a "Bacon Bloody Mary," which she told me about, and I just HAD to try.
Photo: "Bacon Bloody Mary" is a large Bloody Mary, with a strip of bacon added. The price was a reasonable $7.00, and for an extra three bucks, you got an extra shot, which I added that option, naturally. This was one, delicious Bloody Mary, as the bacon took it to a much higher level.
Photo: Bloody Mary's, beer, deep-fried vegetables are great, but PORK is what I came for. For Thursday night's dinner, I decided to visit Porky-N-Beans, and enjoy a pulled pork sandwich dinner.
Photo: Mr. Pitmaster told me that most of the whole hog was to used for pulled pork sandwiches, so instead of ribs, I chose a pulled pork sandwich for my dinner tonight. Note the pepper in the hog's mouth, rather the customary apple. Chicken is grilling, to the right of the photo.
Photo: Porky-N-Beans always seems to draw some of the largest crowds of all the rib-cookers, perhaps due to their very "Southern-style" menu, which features items, such as collard greens.
Photo: Thursday night dinner of a delicious, smoked, pulled pork sandwich, cole slaw, baked beans, and a piece of corn bread. At $11.00, it was one of the more reasonably-priced dinner options. Let me tell you something: The pulled pork sandwich was AMAZING, as the pork was smoky, juicy, tender, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious!
Photo: Friday, August 30, 2013, my wife, Sharlene decided to accompany me, and start her day off at Patty and Irene's Irish Pub with a Strawberry Margarita, made by the lovely bartendress, Patrice. I didn't know Margaritas were popular in Ireland?
Photo: Patrice smiles as she poses for my digital camera with the delicious Strawberry Margarita she just whipped up for Sharlene. That's my $3.00 beer sitting on the bar.
Photo: The next stop was lunch at Barbecue Co.
Photo: Two of the pitmasters show their stuff as they grill ribs. Barbecue Co. uses charcoal rather than gas, and like all of the other rib cookers, they use their own barbecue sauce.
Photo: Lunch, boxed, and served with a smile.
Photo: Sharlene poses with her lunch, and what's left of her Strawberry Margarita.
Photo: Sharlene's lunch of three perfectly-grilled ribs, beans, cole slaw, and a fresh roll. She was nice enough to give me one of her ribs, and they were juicy, full of flavor, and the barbecue sauce complimented the delicious ribs. Truly a great meal!
Photo: Victorian Saloon is one of the three "saloons" located at the east end of the event, just west of Pyramid Way. Note the price of a 16-oz beer at $3.00, which is less than half the price charged by one of the "official" beer stands, housed in the little red Budweiser trailers. You can imagine where I took most of my beer business...
Photo: Friendly bartendress, Kimmy, kept me well-oiled on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The beer was cold, and the smile was warm, which is a winning combination!
Photo: I'm enjoying one of many $3.00 draught Rolling Rock beers that I enjoyed at Victorian Saloon, under the guide of friendly Kimmy.
Photo: Smokehouse Specialties is located near the extreme west end of the event, near the west stage.
Photo: Smokehouse Specialties serves ribs - of course - but they also serve turkey legs and lots of smoked sausage. I can't resist smoked sausage, so I chose to enjoy a smoked sausage sandwich for lunch today.
Photo: Charming window-girl Monique, hands me my order of a smoked sausage sandwich.
Photo: My delicious, smoked sausage sandwich, as it arrived, hot off the grill. Perhaps I was so taken by Monique's gorgeous smile that I forgot to add grilled veggies to my sandwich, which is something that I rarely forget to do! But, thanks to Monique's smile, I forgot to add the veggies...
Photo: I hold my lunch of a delicious large, mild, Cajun sausage sandwich. Delicious!!
Photo: "I'm from Texas... What country y'all from?" is the motto of Texas Thunder BBQ. I "googled," and by golly, they're from Amarillo, Texas. Check out their web site at www.texasthunderbbq.com.
Photo: Yes, honey, I voted Texas Thunder BBQ my restaurant of choice. It was early Friday evening, and the place was packed with hungry diners, so I didn't get a chance to get the name of this charming young lady, nor did I get to hear her story. Thank goodness for Google, as my Internet search turned up lots of information on the web about this wonderful rib cooker.
Photo: Like a Texas longhorn bull, I can't let go of my delicious dinner.
Photo: Friday evening, August 30, 2013, I enjoy my last meal at the 2013 Nugget Rib Cook-off at Texas Thunder BBQ. Tonight's dinner: BBQ ribs, beans, cole slaw and Texas toast. The ribs were cooked tender and perfect; just enough to fall off the bone when you bit into them, but not enough to fall off the bone when you picked them up, which is the way perfectly ribs should be. The barbecue sauce was tangy, delicious and not over-powering. Note the meat in the beans, which seems to be unique to Texas Thunder, as I've never seen meat in the beans with the other rib cookers. Cole slaw was, well, cole slaw, and delicious. The slab of Texas toast was at least an inch think. I'm not an expert, but at least for 2013, I voted Texas Thunder BBQ as my favorite rib cooker.
The only problem is... two an a half days isn't enough, as there is so much good food, so many great craft booths to check out, an so many good bands to listen to. What a fun couple and a half days! We'll be back next year...
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