It is all the food that we are not supposed to have; Ribs, Sweet Sauces, Pastry, Sugary Lemonade, Elephant Ears, Funnel Cakes, Euclid Beach Custard, Pierogies, Onion Rings, Bloomin’ Onions, Beer, Rum Drinks, Buttery Roast Corn, Sugary Sodas, Cotton Candy, Carmel Apples, Candy Apples, Strawberry Short Cake with Whipped Cream, Baklava, Dippin’ Dots, Rigatoni, Calzones, Fudge, “Cinnamon Roasted Cashews, Almonds, Peanuts and Pecans” and Kettle Corn. But what the heck, the Berea National Rib Cook-Off only comes around once a year on Memorial Day weekend. Why not indulge?
This year’s event had a variation on the weather as Friday, Saturday and Sunday were comfortable and dry (even sunny for the most part) while Monday dawned cloudy and cool with intermittent rain. In spite of the last day of less than stellar weather, the rib booths managed to pretty much sell out of their wares by the end of the festival on Monday night.
The event was presented by Yuengling Lager and along with the over one dozen rib outfits selling their specialties there was free live music on the Southwest General Center Stage with fourteen music acts of all genres entertaining over the course of the event.
But, let’s get serious for a moment. The whole purpose of the Rib Cook-off is…well…THE RIBS! No matter what your taste buds demanded, it was there to be eaten. If you were not sure of what you wanted you could sample small portions from a variety of vendors and once the perfect match was found you could bring home a half or full slab of delicious BBQ. These are folks that are serious about cooking and they know their stuff. Even if you were not crazy about ribs, there was plenty of other BBQ to sample such as pulled pork, turkey legs and chicken.
Once you had dined, you could work off the calories by participating in various games of fun and chance such as breaking bottles with baseballs, throwing ping pong balls at small fish bowls, bouncing up and down on large rubber bands off of trampolines or throwing darts at balloons. You could even climb into large rubber balls and roll around bumping into each other like oversized hamsters. It was all in fun.
On Monday, the judging was finalized and the winners of the various trophies were on stage to bask (or is that baste) in their glory. The winners were:
1st Place: Sgt Oink’s
2nd Place: Swhinery BBQ
3rd Place: Smokin’ Joe’s Hog Wild BBQ
Miss Berea Pick of the Pig:
Congrats to all the winners and in reality, everyone there cooking up a storm was a winner. It was a highly successful event that went off without a hitch. If you are like me, you cannot wait until next year for the 16th Annual Berea National Rib Cook-Off. It is a great place to hang around with friends and family and to eat…eat…eat.