The annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off gets going on Wednesday with all-you-can-eat ribs, side dishes, drinks and more lining Victorian Square.
Regarded as the biggest rib cook-off in the nation, the rib cookers aren’t just impressing the tasters, they are aiming to please the judges palates to compete for a $14,500 cash pot as well. Winners announced Monday, Sept. 5 at 2 p.m.
Experienced BBQ chefs from across the country will be bringing in the best beef paired with special sauces to prove their worthiness of the cash prize. Here’s a snapshot of a few of the cookers:
Aussom Aussie- Originally from Sydney, Australia, Paul “Aussom Aussie” McKay has been competing in the international BBQ circuit since 1988. The traditional fruit-based sauce that his father created has won 375 best BBQ sauce awards in the US and Canada. Aussom Aussie are crowd favorites, holding seven People’s Choice awards and five Best Ribs awards from the 2015 Best in the West competition.
Hole in the Wall BBQ- Relocating to Eugene, Oregon from Arizona, these cookers found that this mountainous state was in desperate need of some grilled ribs. Now referred to as Eugene’s best kept secret, Hole in the Wall BBQ matches their slow-cooked meats with dry rubs that make a distinct, deep flavor.
Desperado’s BBQ & Rib Co. – Known by their notorious slogan “Lick My Ribs”, their gluten-free concoction smothered on meat has won the Best in the West in 2014 and in 2009. This Hinckley, Ohio team has also placed first in BBQ cook-offs in 26 states.
Back Forty Texas Barbeque- Hailing from Pleasant Hill, California, Back Forty’s ribs must be good because these cookers have been invited to the Best in the West every year since 1991. After getting several awards in the People’s Choice, Best Sauce and more, Back Forty’s opened up two other Texas BBQ joints in Shingle Springs and Roseville, California.
Along with America’s best rib cookers, Best in the West participants will be treated to live music, craft vendors, and kids’ activities. Every day from Aug. 31 through Sep. 5, the event opens at 11 a.m., followed by the People’s Choice Voting at 12 p.m. and the Nugget Rib Village opens at 4 p.m.
Here are some other can’t miss events:
Aug. 31 World Eating Championships: Kicking off the Best of the West 2016 is the live World Eating Championships on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. in Victorian Square. Held at the Nugget Casino Resort for its 11th year in a row, the world’s top rib eaters will compete for $5,000. Last year, Matt “The Megatoad” Stonie dropped 10 and a half pounds of ribs down his hatch in 12 minutes, beating out well-known eating professional Joey “Jaws” Chestnut. Major League Eaters are welcome to kick off their Labor Day weekend against Stonie and Chestnut for a chance at some cash and the porcine-topped trophy.
Sep. 1 Presidential Pig Race: This season also marks the year of the Presidential Pig Race. On September 1st at 11am, one pig dressed in red and one dressed in blue race each other down Victorian Avenue. Although this is a completely unscientific method for predicting the outcome of the presidential election, keep in mind that the 2012 pig race result was pretty accurate. Since this race only happens once every four years, it’s an event not to miss.
After tasters get a few racks of ribs in them, live music starts at 7 p.m. Headlining bands include The Rocket Man Show (an Elton John tribute band) on opening night, The Garage Boys rock band, Eddie Money on Sunday night, and The Original Wailers on closing night.
To buy all-you-can-eat ribs tickets, check out the schedule of events, or register for the World Rib-Eating Championship, visit www.nuggetribcookoff.com.