On August 27, and 28th, 2014, I had the opportunity to attend the 26th annual "Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off," held in Sparks, Nevada, and sponsored by the Nugget Hotel and Casino. Lots of food, beer and fun! Photos will pretty much tell the story of the two days I spent eating ribs, fried veggies, catfish, alligator, and drinking lots of bargain-priced beer.
Photo: Aussom Aussie is actually from Sydney, Australia, and, like all of the other rib cookers at the Nugget Rib Cook-off, they serve St. Louis style barbecue. In addition to ribs, Aussom Aussie serves pulled pork, chicken, and sometimes fish. Check out their web site at www.aussomaussie.com.
Photo: One of the rib cookers has switched gear and is now grilling chicken ribs.
Photo: As I wait in line on this early Wednesday afternoon, I get a chance to view the menu. This year, there isn't fish on the menu, but in past years, there has been an assortment of grilled fish.
Photo: As I take my turn at the counter, I get a chance to look into the kitchen, at the Aussie's rubbing ribs, and preparing them for the grill. The cute counter girl at the right of the photo took my order, and on my request, my photo.
Photo: I pose with my soon-to-consumed delicious dinner, the "Trio Sampler." The folks in the line behind me don't seem pleased that I asked the counter girl to snap my photo, as it probably delayed the line for 20 seconds.
Photo: My dinner was a "Trio Sampler," which included three ribs, pulled pork, and chicken. Like all of the rib cookers who cook at the cook-off, Aussom Aussie's ribs were mouth-watering; ditto for the pulled pork and chicken. Honestly, I don't know how anybody can tell which rib cooker offers the best ribs, as they're all delicious and they all taste practically the same.
Photo: Alright, I know I'm at the Nugget Rib Cook-off, but I just can't resist ordering a plate of deep-fried veggies, as I love deep-fried veggies as much as I love ribs.
Photo: How can you decide between deep-fried onion rings, mushrooms, and zuchinni? It's difficult, but this year, I went with zuchinni. Kayla, the gal on the right, was my friendly helper I've yet to attempt a "Texas Style Tator," as, like the State of Texas, it's really big!
Photo: The condiment table offers salt, ketchup, and two varieties of barbecue sauce.
Photo: My plate of deep-fried zuchinni. At $6.00, the cost was a little on the high side, but these are some of the best deep-fried vegetables that I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy, and the experience is worth every penny.
Photo: As in previous years, Paddy and Irene's Irish Pub operates a booth in front of their pub, and sells beer and strawberry margaritas. Paddy and Irene's is located at the east end of the rib cook-off, on Victorian Ave.
Photo: Patrice is the friendly bartendress on this early Wednesday afternoon, August 27, 2014. Patrice remembered me from previous years, so she gave me a HUGE discount on every 24-oz draught Budweiser beer that I purchased. Thanks, Patrice, and I'm looking to seeing you next year.
Photo: On my request, Patrice took my photo, as I enjoy one of many 24-oz draught beers. Due to her generosity, I confined all of my beer drinking to Paddy and Irene's Irish Pub.
Photo: The traditional country band, Sagebrush Rebellion, plays Marshall Tucker's "Fire on the Mountain" at the West End stage. I'm a HUGE fan of traditional country, I spent a couple of hours watching this fine band.
Photo: Thursday, August 28, 2014, the first food stop was M&M's Fish and Chicken Express, which is a local outlet, which specializes in southern cooking. Offerings include turkey legs, alligator on a stick, frog legs, gumbo and catfish. Unlike other outlets, M&M has their own private dining area, but I chose not to dine there, as it was crowded.
Photo: I had never enjoyed deep-fried alligator on a stick, so it was my order of choice as an appetizer to the catfish that I was to enjoy for lunch.
Photo: Back at the 2013 Crawfish Festival in Sacramento, I enjoyed grilled alligator for the first time, but I'd never had the chance to sample alligator on a stick.
Photo: Alligator on a stick. At $6.00, it's very pricey, which much be the way it is with alligator, as I recall last year how much I paid for an order of alligator. The alligator was battered in a spicy, Cajun batter, and deep-fried to a golden brown. The crust was crunchy on the outside, and the alligator was tender which on the inside. It tasted slightly of the "fishy" side, but it was delicious, and I loved all two-ounces of it.
Photo: I asked this friendly gal for a napkin, and she brought me a wad of them, profusely thanked her, and told her that I was so grateful, that I was going to come back in a couple of hours and propose to her. That brought out lots of laughter from her, and the co-worker next to her.
Photo: Round two, I decided to order deep-fried catfish, and a side. For the side, you had the choice between fries, or a small pre-packaged bowl of red beans and rice. I decided just to "go for it," and as I snapped the counter gal's photo, she exclaimed, "You did WHAT?" I replied that I love to take photos of beautiful women, and then she really warmed up to me. Ah, I love to use the "kind" approach...
Photo: My deep-fried catfish and HUGE order of fries. I'd already garnished my fries with ketchup, as the kid in my loves ketchup on fries. The fries were perfectly cooked, and there were so many of them, I couldn't finish all of them. The catfish was lightly battered, breaded, and deep-fried to a golden brown, and was delicious!
Photo: Last stop of the day was Hole in the Wall BBQ out of Eugene, Oregon. Check out their web site at www.holeinthewallbbq.com. I actually took this photo a couple of hours before I at there, and as I took the photo, the guy behind the counter shouted, "Now that you've taken the photo, it's time to come over and eat!" I assured him that I'd be visiting them at 6 on the dot, as the light was perfect now, and that why I was taking the photo. I went back to visit Patrice for a couple more beers, and like I said, I arrived at six to enjoy delicious barbecue.
Photo: Friendly counter girl, Melissa, poses with my dinner. Details about my dinner are coming in the final photo in this article.
Photo: Oh yeah! I'm getting ready to enjoy a full dinner of delicious St. Louis style ribs, along with sides.
Photo: I decided to go for 1/3 rack of ribs, and to make it a complete dinner, I ponied-up $3.00 more and enjoyed potato salad, coleslaw and a roll. The ribs were delicious, perfectly cooked, and tasted like everybody else's ribs; I commented earlier how all rib cookers are great, and all of their ribs taste similar. The roll was nothing special, just a roll, but the potato salad was spectacular! It was really cold, seasoned perfectly, and included many small pieces of potato peel, which I absolutely in potato salad. The coleslaw was fresh, chilled, and had just the right amount of "tang." The portions were quite large, and this meal represented the best value in a meal that I enjoyed at the 2014 Nugget Rib Cook-off.
The Nugget Rib Cook-off is, perhaps, the best pig-out event of the year, and for me, it's an end-of-summer event that I always look forward to attending. See you in 2015!!
Nugget Rib Cookoff
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