Chicken and Rib Fest? [Events]

2008 Jun 18
Since I don't know if anyone is putting in real reviews for these "vendors" considering that they are temporary, I would be interested to hear what people think of what they eat there during the next few days - recommendations welcome!

2008 Jun 18
I can't wait... I passed by last night and saw them setting up. I'll be sure to post my reviews on the weekend.

2008 Jun 18
Here is last year's thread on the subject, including some recommendations. Vendors are mostly the same from year to year.

2008 Jun 18
Thanks Ollie - I just like to keep things updated.
I went to Blazing BBQs today - and it was very good. I ordered a half rack of ribs from them. They were spicy, sweet, lots of sauce - all my prerequisites for a good rib. I can't wait to try out more throughout the week!

2008 Jun 18
I agree we need a new thread for this year. Just think of last year's as a "preview". ;)

2008 Jun 18
Billy Bones is definitely my favourite and I hope to stop by on Saturday to pick up dinner after a stressful day of shopping! I will be going with a bunch of people at work for lunch tomorrow and we will probably order one of those family combos with pulled pork, chicken, ribs, and all the fixin's. I can keep you posted...

2008 Jun 19
Being a creature of habit I went back to Billy Bones for lunch today and got the pulled pork sandwich. I have eaten their ribs before and they are truly awesome but was disappointed with their pulled pork. I made a note to self to stick to their ribs so to speak... Has anyone else been to the ribfest and would care to comment?...

2008 Jun 19
Hoping to check it out on the weekend. I'll be reading the reviews here so I know who to buy from.

2008 Jun 20
I spent a full day working with one of the (very hospitable) Sparks Street contestants last year, and wrote a full-page behind-the-scenes story in the Citizen Food section.
While this is not a sanctioned barbecue competition by any recognized barbecue association I know of, it does provide Sparks Street office workers an opportunity to sample smoked ribs, albeit expensive, for lunch. These are typically slathered in a LOT of sauce; I'll leave it to you to speculate why.
Whether they're good smoked ribs or so-so smoked ribs can be debated, but that's not my intent here. Two points I would make: This event is designed to promote Sparks Street Mall, and to sell ribs, period. Then the folks pack up and move on.
Whether contestants win a contest in Ottawa this week, or in some other town like Oshawa or Paris or Orillia or wherever next week and so on, doesn't much matter -- it's all about selling ribs, come and get 'em.
Also, I would point out that last year the chicken was not actually smoked as the ribs are; rather, the chicken was cooked in a convection oven and finished on the grill with (again) lots of barbecue sauce and flames for that final selling sizzle. (They use ovens for chicken, because real smoking presents a reddish "smoke ring" within the meat that many customers mistakenly think is undercooked. Rather than forever explain to people what real smoking is, and deal with their returns, the operators simply opted for convection ovens with a little flames and sizzle at the end.)
I might also add that, as a judge in the sanctioned Smoked to the Bone Barbecue Competition this year and last at Gloucester Fair, I can say while judges at the Sparks competition last year were recognized TV and radio celebrities, when it comes to food and real barbecue smoking in particular, they were not qualified. As I said, it's about optics and selling food to office workers, folks. But, hey, it's a change from the usual pasta salad for lunch.

2008 Jun 20
so that brings up another point - is anyone doing real smoked ribs/butt/chickens or other appendage in Ottawa. I found a great place in Oakville of all places
(sweet smoke - very tasty) but am wondering if there is any real bbq in ottawa, outside of someone backyard (feel free to invite me to your back yard).

2008 Jun 20
Real barbecue in Ottawa? Short answer: Not that I am aware.
When it comes to real barbecue, a.k.a. southern U.S. long-and-slow style, Ottawa commercial establishments are very, very inept.
What's I've seen billed here as "pulled pork" sandwich is generally quite sinewy and/or dry and/or plain inedible. The tipoff: Lots of sickly sweet sauce to smother the mistakes. If you find a good place, let me know. I would love to be proven wrong.
I also notice while restaurants may cook pork ribs up to 2 or 3 hours, none I have seen takes the trouble to rip off the tough inner membrane (including the self-proclaimed barbecue championship road show on Sparks Street), never mind smoking it for the requisite 5 to 7 hours. (Horrors! Some restaurants even pre-cook ribs in boiling water -- to drain away any threat of flavour, I suppose.)
Unfortunately, this is allowed to happen because the consuming public is none the wiser.

2008 Jun 20
My friend is about to loan me a pellet smoker that he had won in a raffle. It's similar to the one in the picture.

Any good web sites (or tips ) out there to guide this Low and Slow Newbie ?

I've been using wood chips on my BBQ since 1986. But this smoker beast is whole new kettle of fish for me.

I certainly don't want to end up with 10 pounds of shoe leather. Or have to use "Lots of sickly sweet sauce to smother the mistakes."

2008 Jun 20
Please advise on a few details:
1) Does this unit have temperature control to maintain 225 degrees F? I assume it is electric, which suggests it has a thermostat to control the interior temperature like a kitchen oven?
2) Do you have an oven thermometer to check the internal temp of the unit?
3) What kind of wood pellets will you use (I recommend against mesquite -- far too harsh. Cherry, applewood, or any fruitwood is much better and more forgiving)
4) What meat do you plan to smoke? I'd suggest a new fan might consider pork ribs, which can be done in about 5 hours total, including finishing 2 hours in your kitchen oven so you needn't worry about timing dinner (assumes you dry-rub with spice mixture the night before and set aside, refrigerated)
5) Do you have a "dry rub" on hand? If not, you can buy same in any barbecue supply store, or make a simple rub -- I'll give you a basic recipe. Steph the Grilling Gourmet has a great line of pre-made rubs ...
If you choose a pork roast, I'd suggest a pulled-pork butt (really, it's a shoulder, of about 5 to 7 pounds, WITH THE THICK SKIN ON -- BONE IN. Otherwise, as I suggest, ribs are far easier.
Let me know, and I'll walk you thru it.
Regards, and good luck

2008 Jun 21
Captain C - Curious about the wood chips on the Bar-B, I have been thinking about trying this method out. Do you smoke at the same time as you grill, or do you smoke before you grill? What has your experience been... successes and otherwise. I want to try some low & slow cooking this summer and have a few good resources at hand "Weber's Real Grilling" and "Dinosaur BarBQue Cookbook", but could use some input from others like yourself who have ventured down this road.

BTW, My two reference books have a lot of great recipes for Rubs, Marinades and Sauces... I'd be willing to share them.

2008 Jun 21
I ventured down to the Rib Fest on Sparks today after many years of never making it there for one reason or another. I sampled a 1/3 rack from Billy Bones for $9. Yes, that's 4 bones from Bones for 9 bones. ;-)

The ribs had very good flavour. This was because of the sauce -- not too sweet and with a gentle hit of spice. The meat was reasonably tender but I can do better on my old Weber Genesis Silver B (a grill, not a smoker or bbq). I share Citizen Ron's horror at the fact that they leave the membrane on for you to gnaw around. The bones are large and the meat is somewhat scarce. At over $2 per rib I even ate the cartilage! I tried sucking the bones but they tasted really gross on the ends... not sure what's up with that.

All in all, an interesting taste experience but it really is just a traveling carnival.

2008 Jun 21
We as a family went last year and the previous year also--we decided we liked our ribs, chicken and sides at home--cheaper, membrane gone and less messy. Still, it's one of those times where its all about the fun. We'll probably hit it again next year. No review except I just love baked beans, anyhow!

2008 Jun 22
I agree with ron CC. Make absolutely sure you have a thermometer to moniter temps at all times. When I do a brisket or a pulled pork on my weber its a all day affare, closly watching temps, all the while drinking beer of course! Deffinitly experiment with different rubs till you find one you like. I also can hook some people up with some recipes for "Butt Rub". Pm me for more details. Fewer things in life are as nice as "pulling your pork" As for wood, I like alder, applewood and cherrywood. The best sauce to be served with pulled pork(on the side of course) we have nothing to hid here, is good old cider vin, brown surger and chili. Play around till you find the right amount of heat, sweet and acidity for your taste. Corn bread, beans and slaw, well thats a whole other topic....

2008 Jun 22
CitizenRon: I totally agree with your comments (all of them). No Ottawa restaurants know how to BBQ, and it's a real shame that I can make better ribs in my OVEN with no smoke box (incorporate liquid smoke into dry rub mix - it's a decent cheat). Once upon a time, there was a restaurant called Dixie Creek BBQ in the South End... too bad it went under, it was the closest to real southern BBQ in Ottawa I've ever had. A lot of the places I hit down south used Alderwood, or something similar to that, Mesquite was typically used to smoke before grilling steaks or chicken (and more commonly when I was in TX).

Cap'n - go to Produce Depot for a decent cut of shoulder of pork, with skin on (beautiful cracklin') and bone in for maximum flavour results on your pulled pork. A huge chunk of pig will cost you... ohh... $6 (feeds 3-4 a whole lot of pulled pork)

DaButcher - the picture you've got there is bringing back memories of West TX for me... Hot links sausages, brisket, etc... DELISH.

2008 Jun 22
haha, Chimi-thats a fathers day platter I was selling 2 years ago that included, smoked cornish game hen, my andoulle sausage, beef short ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, fries, cornbread, beans, slaw and potato salad, with four side bbq sauces. This was intended to feed 6-8 hungry people, I has no complanints... Oh ya liquid smoke is evil!!!
Also check out chili pepper magazine
For some great bbq ideas and the latest chili pepper freak fests!

2008 Jun 22
Dabutch - I'd do real BBQ, alas, apartment living doesn't lend well with all the regulations, smoke detectors, paranoid old neighbours who think the building is burning down, etc. Consequently, I have to make do with the liquid smoke... *sigh* When I do, I use hickory, and only a few drops in my dry rub, it does surprisingly well. My oven baked ribs take about 6-7 hours, thank god my hydro is paid for by the landlord!

The flip side is that I get to experiment with tea-smoke, since I can burn off just enough in my wok without things getting out of control (my range fan helps a bit).

2008 Jun 22
Hereís a link to Citizen Ronís article from last yearís Ribfest:

Butcher, thatís a great pic.

Capt, Iím curious about your friendís BBQ. I donít recognize it- can you provide more details?

There are a few BBQ restaurants in Montreal that I want to try (Mesquite & Bofinger). But once I get close to the island, Schwartzís seems to always win out.

I cater but this year, I decided to vend at several events this summer. This weekend, I couldnít believe the number of times I had to describe pulled pork to people.

For those that want to make smoked foods at home but donít want to spend a lot of money, I started with a $50 smoker that is affectionately known as an ECB- El Cheapo Brinkman. The results were great but be warned that modifications are required and the bbq does require some babysitting. My two ECBs still sit in my backyard but they have been seldom used since I got my trailer mounted smoker.

2008 Jun 22
ahaha... Citizen Ron rocks! From the article ed linked to:

"Every one had numerous trophies on display out front, and man-size banners overhead proclaiming their championship titles from such barbecue meccas as Barrie, Kitchener and Kingston."

...and then:

"Still, the winners got what they came for: The opportunity to sell lots of food, and bragging rights to pin up on a banner at the next stop on the circuit. If they didn't win in Ottawa, there's always Etobicoke and Kingston and Markham."

So true. :-)

Even with its flaws, though, it's nice to have one more food-centric event in our fine city!

2008 Jun 23
I've never used a pellet smoker Captain. So can't really help. I'd of course suggest starting by reading the instructions.

2008 Jun 23
For anyone interested in imparting smoke flavour w/o the smoker, or liquid smoke, the following technique works quite well! (use tea leaves instead of wood chips for a different more delicate flavour) The technique lends well with meats like chicken, duck, basically any kind of fowl, red meats (quick smoke & quick sear = yum), and hearty cuts of fish (though my parents would contend that smoking oysters in this method would be amazing, blech)

2008 Jun 23
Chimichimi - Interesting, I would never have considered tea leaves. As per my post above, I'm still looking for someone (Captain C ?) who has smoked / bbq on their gas grill... I'm looking for how to info and personal experiences that would tell me the pros / cons / pitfalls. Do you have any such input?

2008 Jun 23
I agree the ribfest is pricey especially considering the amount of ribs you get. I also paid $9 for a 1/3 rack and "only" got five ribs - I guess I should consider myself lucky. But it's the only time during the year I get bbq'd food plus I work on Sparks so I have to smell it all day - life is hard! One of my colleagues noticed with some amusement that every vendor seems to have "first place" on their banner - first place sauce, first place ribs, etc... There is definitely a niche market here and I truly hoping some enterprising restauranteur will open a bbq place. That and a good seafood restaurant downtown...

2008 Jun 23
Pasta Lover- The Whalesbone Oyster House is dam good and downtown! Considering we live nowhere close to the "sea"

F&T- If your using a gas grill pick yourself up a small smoking box. I seen them at winners for 8 bucks(on stlaruant) Or else foil if you want to go old school. Soak your chips in water ideally for 24 hours and place them in you smoke box/foil pack. Turn on one or two burners on ONE side of the grill. Place stuff you want to smoke on the other side. Moniter temps at all times insuring it is at least 225F. Replenish chips in smoke box as needed. Wait for hours for your stuff to cook.

2008 Jun 23
Da Butcher - Thanks, that is kinda what I thought, but I was wondering if you then "finish" the items with sauce etc, and on what heat setting at that point. I have found out that finding percise info is no easy task... I suppose it is the fact that so many authentic BBQ-ers want to keep their "secret recipes" to themselves.

2008 Jun 23
Yes... The traveling road show called The Rib Fest is expensive for what ya get..... So I did not attend and saved my money for all the pork side ribs I'm a gonna smoke this weekend.

And the pork side ribs are only $1.79/lb at A & P this week.

At $1.79/lb the center cut is removed. I guess the center cuts go to all the Montana's and Baton Rouge's of the world.

PS: Now I remember why I have't smoked any ribs in a while .... They kept getting clogged in my pipe. HeHeHeHe

2008 Jun 23
The issue I've had with a gas grill and trying to smoke, is getting the smoke going and keeping the temperature down. I've recently bought a napolean grill, and hope to try again this summer. (3 burners instead of 2 so more localized heat source)

2008 Jun 24
A virtual tour for those who cannot make it this year :

2008 Jun 24
Foodie friends --
I've been smokin' on my Big Green Egg for some years now, and have visited Memphis in May as a food writer, and other sanctioned barbecue events as a judge here in Ottawa (Gloucester).
I feel REAL barbecue is a sacred event, and am happy to guide foodies as best I can. You deserve to eat the best -- and it's not rocket science. (That's why I can do it.) My wife has a Masters in chemistry, but does not go into the kitchen except to make coffee. People ask her, Do you cook? And she says, Why?
I do all the shopping. She is a dear and lets me.

2009 Jun 30
does anyone know who won?

my picks for best sauce were:

1. Billy Bones (sweet with heat, ribs were a little sticky though - not fall-off the bone good)
2. Texas Outlaws (sweet with a good kick at the end, excellent tender ribs)
3. Silver Bullet (sauce was smoky, spicy, but a little bit too salty. ribs were tender, but the end ones were charred and crumbly - way overcooked!)
4. the first one closest to Elgin street (can't remember the name) (sauce was really sweet with a hint of ketchup, but had this intense heat that just grows on you. ribs were excellent quality. i bought these ribs separate with no sauce so my nephews could eat them, and got the sauce on the side. amazing)

Ribfest is my second most favourite time of the year!

2009 Jun 30
the judging is kind of a farce. i think Camp 31 "won" in Ottawa last year.

Billy Bones FTW

2009 Jul 2
Kahicpep - Going on memory, based on stuff I've read (it might even have been here on OF)... The Chicken & Rib Fest is an "invitational" so teams are invited to participate... and as someone else pointed out they are kind of a travelling roadshow. Not 100% sure, but I think the same "crew" moves from town to town. In each town, a group of "Celebrity / Local Personality" Judges is assembled who judge the food offered by each team (in previous years Ottawa's own Ron Eade has been a Judge)... and a Winner is announced. So I wouldn't say that the Judging is a farce perse, but the whole concept is rather a "friendly" competition... and the "BEST of Show" isn't really the objective, but rather to have some fun while on the road.

2009 Jul 2
To correct the record, no, Food & Think, I was never a judge of the Chicken & Rib Fest. I have observed, yes, but never participated in judging. I have, however, twice helped judge the Smoked to the Bone Barbecue Competition at the Gloucester Fair, in both professional and amateur categories. Sadly, the Gloucester event was not held this spring.

2009 Jul 2
Omnivore's Ottawa - Thanks for the clarification, I apologize for the mix-up, I was aware you had been a close observer at a previous Chicken & Rib Fest and I knew that you had judged that same sort of event (albeit I forgot it was the Gloucester Fair)... looks like I just got the two things overlapping in my brain, lol (proof though that I am a longtime reader) :-)

BTW... wacked out "newspaper clipper" that I am (see a previous Topic on those of us who are addicted to Recipe Clipping) my all-time favourite article on Ribs & BBQ is the one you wrote on your visit to Memphis... it has put Memphis' BBQ Week on my MUST DO Vacation List.

2009 Jul 3
Food&Think -- Ah yes, Memphis in May is a wonderful event, although the week-long international barbecue competition portion is a bit of a party. (Read: In many cases, a lot of party-goers per "team" and just two or three serious cooks.) But it's a lovely town and the folks are quite hospitable. As you may expect, over-consumption is the norm. Here they take barbecue very seriously. As I've said (repeatedly), the event in Ottawa is really just a travelling road show designed to sell an awful lot of ribs at very high prices, then they move on. The quality varies from poor to moderately good, but none is superlative. For really good barbecue, you've got to get a smoker and do it at home. Or, go to places like Memphis during the competition. (Note: Barbecue at restaurants even in Memphis is about mass-production and is not superlative. Competition quality is the real McCoy.)

2009 Jul 4
Omnivore's Ottawa - Thanks for the feedback, plan is we'd combine it as a trip also dedicated to the Blues... one of your colleagues, Citizen Writer Bruce Ward wrote an excellent article on Memphis & Clarksdale, Mississippi back in 2003 (did I mention I was a Newspaper Clipper, LOL) and between these two featured articles, "The Man" and I have had our interest raised about the whole region. Could be a fun time, both Great Food & Music always an excellent combo!

2009 Jul 5
would have been nice to see some bronto ribs (beef ribs) out there but ahwell

still stick with texas outlaws

2009 Jul 5
this man makes a mean sauce
not too sweet, nice and tangy with not too much smoke as to overpower the meats

yes all the ribs and chicken were supplied by the same purveyor

2010 Jun 23
Bumping this thread - based on my partner's observations, it smells like BBQ down on Sparks St so it must be that time of the year again! Go, eat BBQ, report back!

2010 Jun 23
My office is located on Sparks and that's all I can smell right now - ahhh but life could be worse-;) I am still full from lunch yesterday (attended a retirement lunch) so I hope I am hungry by the end of the week. Apparently the prices have gone up a little since last year. The Billy Bones stall is good. (I have no affiliation with them whatsoever I just like their ribs.)

2010 Jun 23

June 23-27

Wednesday, June 23 to Saturday June 26
11 am to 8:30 pm

Sunday, June 27
10:30 am to 6:00 pm

2010 Jun 23
ate the following today....

Billy Bones
Silver Bullet
Blazin' Barbecue

the 2 standouts - Billy Bones and Crabby's.

i'm a Billy Bones guy. they have historically been one of my favourite vendors. great smokey flavour, good rub, very sweet sauce, and a charcoal finish. they use a Southern Pride smoker.

Crabby's was also very good - i don't remember seeing this vendor before. they have a very different style in that they don't smoke their ribs. instead, the ribs are marinated then cooked slowly in an oven, almost like a braising. they were different from competition style ribs, very tender and close to fall off the bone. the ribs didn't have a really sweet sauce either, it was closer to a honey/garlic sauce and almost savoury.

this is only Day 1...

2010 Jun 23
Hope you will all be eating legumes, oatmeal and vegetarian in general next week (cholesterol reducing friendly foods!) Do enjoy the ribs & chicken!

2010 Jun 23
would you deem mac & cheese and coleslaw vegetarian?

2010 Jun 23
I was able to get down this evening, and had a rack of Bibb's (from Florida) ribs. They were better than what I had last year (Gator I believe). Thick meat on the ribs, with 1/4" of pink coloured meat( from smoking I presume?) on the outside. The sauce was decent, although I would have liked it to have some more kick. To be honest, I chose this stand because the staff was the most energetic, and were singing, and shouting at each other for 'Another FULL RACK'.

2010 Jun 24
I went down yesterday at lunch...everything I tried from one particular vendor was certainly decent.

I might get blasted for this but is it just me or is everything associated with American-style BBQ just too sweet? I can understand a healthy degree of sweetness in the rubs and sauces, but to me when the coleslaw and beans are super sweet as well all the flavours kind of meld together in a cloying fashion. My tastebuds weren't really working by the end of the food.

I'm certainly no expert on how BBQ is perfected, but after years of getting away from store-bought sauces and condiments perhaps I am just sensitized to that level of sweetness.

Maybe if I had a pilsner to cut through it all I wouldn't be complaining...time for a Sparks street-sized beer tent next year...haha

2010 Jun 24
Crabby's are my favourite. But, they're from my hometown, so maybe I'm biased.

2010 Jun 24
I think it depends on what part of America you're from. I watched a documentary once on BBQ across the states, and every region, let alone county has their own way of making BBQ sauce. Some are sweet and tomato based, but some are vinegar and mustard based, which I think would be slightly less sweet.

2010 Jun 24
Checked C&R fest out yesterday and was disappointed.

First had a pulled pork and rib combo from Billy Bones.

Ribs were just ok, no smoke taste to speak of as far as I could tell. Otherwise properly cooked, if a little dry. Sauce was pretty good. Meat could have been a bit more tender, but I prefer the meat to have a bit of bind to the bone.

Pulled pork was drenched in an extremely sweet sauce. So sweet it stings your mouth sweet. Couldn't taste pork, smoke, or anything other than corn syrup. Absolutely horrible.

Then tried a half rack from Camp 31. Basically an overcooked salty disaster. The meat was literally falling off the bone and then falling into multiple pieces. It was very moist to the point of being wet(???). The sauce was extremely salty. Nearly inedible. Gimmicky yelling and horn honking at the stand was also annoying.

I got a smoker in the fall and have made ribs a few times. I don't really have my wings on it yet and my ribs are pretty dicey, but I honestly think all the ribs I have made have been better than these offerings. I am not bragging, just trying to show where the bar is at here.

I hope the other vendors have a better product.

2010 Jun 24
In response to snoopy loopy, excerpts from:

Each Southern locale has its own particular variety of barbecue, particularly concerning the sauce.

North Carolina sauces vary by region; eastern North Carolina uses a vinegar-based sauce, the center of the state (around Lexington) uses a combination of ketchup and vinegar as their base, and western North Carolina uses a heavier ketchup base.

South Carolina is the only state that includes all four recognized barbecue sauces, including mustard-based, vinegar-based, and light and heavy tomato-based.

Memphis barbecue is best known for tomato- and vinegar-based sauces. In some Memphis establishments and in Kentucky, meat is rubbed with dry seasoning (dry rubs) and smoked over hickory wood without sauce; the finished barbecue is then served with barbecue sauce on the side.

The barbecue of Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee is almost always pork served with a sweet tomato-based sauce. However, several regional variations exist as well. Alabama is particularly known for its distinctive white sauce, a mayonnaise- and vinegar-based sauce, originating in northern Alabama, used predominantly on chicken and pork. A popular item in North Carolina and Memphis is the pulled pork sandwich served on a bun and often topped with coleslaw. Pulled pork is prepared by shredding the pork after it has been barbecued.

Pit-beef prevails in Maryland and is often enjoyed at large outdoor bull roasts, which are common in the warmer months. Maryland-style pit-beef is not the product of barbecue cookery in the strictest sense, as there is no smoking of the meat involved; rather, it involves grilling the meat over a high heat. The meat is typically served rare, with a strong horseradish sauce as the preferred condiment.

The state of Kentucky, particularly Western Kentucky, is unusual in its barbecue cooking, in that the preferred meat is mutton. This kind of mutton barbecue is often used in communal events in Kentucky, such as political rallies, county fairs and church fund-raising events.

In much of the world outside of the American South, barbecue has a close association with Texas. Many barbecue restaurants outside the United States claim to serve "Texas barbecue", regardless of the style they actually serve. Texas barbecue is often assumed to be primarily beef. This assumption, along with the inclusive term "Texas barbecue", is an oversimplification. Texas has four main styles, all with different flavors, different cooking methods, different ingredients, and different cultural origins...

2010 Jun 24
Crabby's was very good, ribs had a nice rub on them which gave a good kick of flavour. Their beans were pretty tasty as well.

Texas Outlaws was pretty weak all around, I had to douse the brisket with some Dinosaur BBQ sauce back at home because it was so dry. The ribs were also pretty dried out. Beans were weak, slaw was good.

2010 Jun 24
agreed. stay away from Texas Outlaw's brisket!

i had a sandwich there for lunch today and it was a total let down. the beef was so dry. in addition, the portion was so meager - they would have crucified you down in Texas if you tried to serve this little for $7.

2010 Jun 24
having been to the C&R for many years previously, i haven't gotten out of my way to go in the last few years as i found out that the ribs served to the judges are not the same as those served to the public.

plus there's something about smoking and slow low cooking your own ribs for 4-5 hours then finish with a lather with a variety of bbq sauces (as well as those magnificent ones from the dinosaur BBQ cookbook) in my opinion just blows away anything at the C&R as well as most those served at many restaurants. home BBQ is where it's at when you're satisfied you've reached a level where you can outdo the chefs. you'll find yourself bbqing all year round and it's awesome bbqing outside in the middle of a winter snowstorm your neighbors just love you the world over.

but don't let me discourage you from going, go there to learn, or succumb to the weak emotions with the bbq aromas, soak in the environment, surf your PDA while you're on the lineups, sample stuff and develop your bbq skills till you've reached that neanderthal happiness.

just my 2 cents. LOL

2010 Jun 24
p3j - agreed, home BBQ is where it's at if you have the ability. I enjoy going to 'compare notes'... the brisket from the Texas Outlaws was definitely terrible. Having eaten brisket in Texas (Austin & El Paso), and from my parents pit BBQ, this stuff truly sucked. Definitely a fun event though, lazily wander around Sparks, people watch & take in the aromas.

2010 Jun 24
I was going to take my inlaws there for a bite but after reading reviews I think I will pull the smoker out Sunday and do some Memphis dry rubbed ribs. Now to find some back ribs that have not been seasoned.

Shame some of these cooks are using too much sugar. Sweet sauces are good if the rub is hot.

2010 Jun 24
it's passable barbecue, albeit wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too expensive ($22/rack this year). yes if you have a smoker you can make better at home, but when it comes around this is the best stuff you can buy in the city.

this is the only time of year you will find me eating competition style barbecue while wearing a suit ;)

2010 Jun 25
Monty - have you gone to D&S BBQ yet?

2010 Jun 25
Anyone had the ribs at Jean Alberts? Leroy claims they're the best in Ottawa

2010 Jun 25
I've had the ribs at Jean Albert's several times. They are good. I am not sure about the best. There are many different types of ribs. JA's are boiled and slathered with sauce. That makes them moister than average but taste more like sauce (which is good tasting) then pork and they have less of a "tooth" to them.

If you go to JA's eat the fried chicken. It is the best in town. The ribs are just good.

2010 Jun 25
I popped by the chicken/rib fest today at about noon (bad time to go). I ended up getting in the express lane for pulled pork, slaw and beans, with some Nitro sauce.

Well, it was good, but not great. The pulled pork was loaded up but had a huge chunk of fat in the sandwich. I probably ate a half pound of the pork before I could eat it like a sandwich, but it was oversauced and didn't really stand out. The sauce didn't really have a distinct taste to it either...not tangy, sweet, smoky....just sauce. The Nitro sauce added a bit of cayenne zip, but not much more. The coleslaw was pre-packaged shred with their custom dressing which was ok. Wasn't offensive, but didn't make me want more. The beans were pretty good. The scattered raw onions made it for me.

Overall, I enjoyed it, but that particular sandwich wasn't one that I'll crave....but it sure makes me appreciate true home bbq-ing!!