“To compete here is unbelievable,” said Jeff Erb as he received his trophy. “To come in on top is amazing.”
Second place winner Tom Ferguson and Chicago BBQ Company have attended the rib cook-off since the very beginning 23 years ago.
“I can’t believe all of the ribs we feed you people on the West Coast,” Ferguson said. He also announced that he plans to donate a portion of his winnings to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.
In all, 24 barbecue teams and hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the country converged on Sparks and John Ascuaga’s Nugget for the Labor Day weekend event that is widely considered to be the biggest, most prestigious rib-cooking festival in the United States.
The top five winners were:
- First place, Back Forty Texas Barbecue, Pleasant Hill, CA., $7,500;
- Second place, Chicago BBQ Co., Burr Ridge, IL., $3,000;
- Third place, Bone Daddy’s., Midland, MI., $2,000;
- Fourth Place, Kinder’s Custom Meats, Concord, CA,$1,000; and
- Fifth Place, Porky N Beans BBQ, Port St. Lucie, FL , $500.
The People’s Choice Award went to Bone Daddy’s BBQ, of Midland, MI, for the second year in a row. The award for Best Sauce, also worth $500, went to newcomer Uncle Bub’s of Westport, IL.
Nugget officials estimate that more than 500,000 people attended the cook-off and more than 100 tons of ribs were served.
Sierra Meats, the rib distributor for the event, reports that 239,000 pounds of ribs were sold, up from 212,000 in 2010. An official attendance and economic impact report will be released in a few weeks.