People who love barbecue really love barbecue, and will go to great lengths to find the perfect ribs. I’m one of those, so I was thrilled to be invited to judge The Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off in Sparks, Nevada.
For die-hard barbecue lovers and novices alike, this kind of cook-off is a slice of pork heaven.
Instead of driving around the country to sample regional styles of
barbecue, all I had to do was take a three-block stroll down Victorian
Avenue in front of the Nugget for some of the best ribs in the country.
Pit masters competed from all over the country, cooking up slab after slab of pork ribs in pick up-sized smokers and finishing them off on 10-foot-long wood-fired grills. Some hailed from legendary barbecue states like Texas, South Carolina, and Kansas. But many, many others came from states that folks rarely associate with this style of cooking—we’re talking all the way from California to Minnesota, Pennsylvania and, yes, even New Jersey.