We spent yesterday afternoon at the Brockville Ribfest. It’s an excuse to go stuff yourself with mountains of barbecued pork, lie in the sun, listening to music by the river – a pretty nice way to spend the day.
The "ribbers" all had enormous barbecues, and huge stands displaying their trophies from previous cook-offs. It turns out that there is a circuit of these ribfests throughout Ontario, and most of these guys compete every weekend. Google "Ontario Ribfest", or your city name and Ribfest, and you’ll find plenty of entries.
The ribs were expensive. $20 for a rack or $13 for a half rack. It’s best to go with a bunch of friends, buy ribs from several different groups, and then share. We sampled the ribs from Camp 31, Silver Bullet, Bad Wolf BBQ, and Gator BBQ. Impressions:
Camp 31 must have been having a bad day. Their display said they were the best in Canada in 2004, best in the US in 2004, and they had a raft of trophies out front. As a result, there was a huge line to get their food. I found the ribs rubbery, and the sauce bland.
Silver Bullet was only a little better than Camp 31. Again, rubbery ribs. However, their sauce was quite a bit tangier.
Bad Wolf BBQ had the best sauce. Tangy and smoky, it was a real treat. Their ribs could have cooked a little longer.
Gator BBQ had succulent ribs with falling-off-the-bone meat. Good sauce, but not as nice as Bad Wolf’s. Of the four we had, I’d say that Gator was the best overall. They were also the prize winner at Brockville’s 2004 event.
For reference, I occasionally head to Montana’s Restaurant for their all-you-can-eat rib nights. For $24 you can stuff yourself at Montana’s until you can’t walk. It’s definitely better value than the Ribfest, and the quality is acceptable. Compared to Montana’s, Bad Wolf and Gator were better ribs. However, I’d recommend staying away from Camp 31 and Silver Bullet.