Smokin’ Hot

By Joel Charron

It was a rib lover’s heaven this past weekend as the 2nd annual Rotary Club’s Ribfest rolled into town.

Six teams of ribbers came armed with their best ribs and sauce to entice residents as to who had the best ribs.

Over the course of three days 11,800 people throughout Essex County passed through the gates of Centennial Park and for those who sampled what the team had to offer none walked away disappointed.

“I can’t believe how good these ribs are,” said Windsor resident John Newman. “I thought I knew how to cook ribs, these are just on a another level.”

Newman said he came with an empty stomach and intended to try as many ribbers as possible.

“I’ve must have tried at least four of the ribbers. I don’t know if I can fit in the other two, but I’ll wait an hour before I try,” he joked.

Amherstburg Rotary Club president, Lena Lazanja said despite the humid weather and the rain the Ribfest still drew the people they were hoping for.

“We got large crowds on Friday and Saturday night,” said Lazanja. “People just wanted to come and have a good time and enjoy some good food. We even had people dancing in the rain Saturday night.”

Lazanja also pointed out there were roughly 300 volunteers helping out.

“We can’t thank our volunteers enough. They have been absolutely amazing this weekend,” she said.

The six teams of ribbers, Alabama Camp 31, Ribs Royale, Billy Bones, Horn Dawgs BBQ, Bibb’s and Crabby’s all provided plenty of ribs served with their own secret sauce and a

Billy Bones grill girls (L to R) Christie Bullock, Brianna Hoskins and Cassie Storace show off a half rack of ribs that are ready for eating.

touch of their own personal flair.

“Half the show is watching how they cook the rib,” said Newman. “I love how they interact with the crowd and not just slap a rack of ribs on a plate and say ‘there ya go’,” explained Newman.

Michal Domayala, the Product Manager at Billy Bones said it’s all about putting on a show for the people.

“You can get ribs anywhere,” he said. “But what you can’t get anywhere is the show. We want people not only to enjoy some great food but have a great time doing so.”

From the beginning of June to the end of September, Domayala said there is a Ribfest every weekend but doesn’t seem to mind.

“It’s a pretty cool job. The people I work with are fantastic,” he said.

Although he added that this job is different than other jobs, Domayala said it is a lot of work and has long hours.

“It is a lot of hard work but you enjoy all the time,” he said. “You’re serving product and meeting new people in people in new cities.”

In the course of a summer Domayala said they go through 30 tonnes of ribs with the special ingredient being love.

“It’s all about love,” said Domayala. “You really have to put in the time and consideration into it. You just can’t load up a smoker, turn it on and go after it. You have to watch it and take your time.”

He said that Billy Bones smokes their ribs for three hours with cherrywood before they are passed on to his customers.

After three days of eating ribs and sauce the winners were announced Sunday evening.

The Judges Choice for Best Ribs and Best Sauce went to Ribs Royale.

The People choice for Best Ribs went to last year’s champion Bibb’s and Alabama Camp 31 was voted best sauce by the people.

“Back-to-back is beautiful. Next year we are going to three-peat and we can’t wait,” said Scott Chamberlain, Bibb’s grill master. “Amherstburg is a beautiful town, we absolutely love it here.”

One response to “Smokin’ Hot”

  1. Ou r favorite was the Alabama Camp 31.We were all very much impressed. Hope to see mre ribbers competing. Something to do for the whole family. Rotary Club yous’ did a great job.