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July 30, 2012

BBQ Anyone? A Visit to Naperville Ribfest 2012

Now another adventure to the Naperville Ribfest, 2012. It's actually a pretty nice event. The event is hosted by the Naperville Exchange Club and proceeds go to help child abuse and domestic violence programs. This year was year 25 and I've gone every year except three. Now while it won't be mistaken for Memphis in May or The Nugget Cook off in Reno but for me, still a good time. National acts often come in to play and this year was not exception. ZZ Top, Joe Walsh and Steve Miller were the top bills this year. Last years, America's Chefs came in and (in my opinion) stole the show. Those guys were an absolute blast to watch. Gorilla couldn't have been a nicer guy as were the rest of the crew. For the record, you can follow them on Facebook or twitter (@americaschefs) as well. KansasCity BBQ Society (KCBSBBQTour)
also made their presence known with demonstrations, food and product samples as well.

But enough with the side bar stuff, let's show this adventures in pictures. I took these with my camera phone so at least you can get an idea and a feel for the event. If any of these folks come to your town, pay them a visit. The lines can get to be pretty long but the payoff is worth it. Let's start the show, shall we? Yes we shall. All of those featured have won my approval.

 This is a an old-time staple for me. Pigfoot BBQ is consistently among many crowd favorites. They've been here for years. This is one of the better sauces especially if you like heat. Killer is the name of the sauce. They make a mean rib!!!!

Another long time participant is another Ohio-based company. Desperado BBQ & Rib company is another mainstay here. Their "Hotter that H" sauce is another must for chileheads. The also cook a mean rib. This year, they placed second in "Best Ribs" category. Below is part of the Desperado BBQ Team handling his business. It was a HOT day when I went and I wasn't behind the grill. Imagine how this guy and his fellow competitors felt. I've enjoyed their BBQ for a number of years. They serve a pretty mean pulled pork but I was clearly in the mood for ribs.

Getting the job done!!!! This guys is doin' work, as some might say.  He will serve no rib before it's time!!!!!! As for taste, they tasted just as good ...... no better, that they look.

The last couple of years prior, Butch's Smack Your Lips BBQ was not present. After a few things went into motion (OK I wrote the Ribfest & Butch's people and asked why Butch's wasn't there. As time went forward, it seemed as if wiser heads prevailed) and they are back!!! Their response was so great that their signature Super-pyro BBQ sauce bottles sold out!!! I got some ribs, a nice slathering of Super pyro and I was good to go!!! Super Pyro- very good but not for the mortal. SLOW but pleasant burn (if you're like me).

Butch Lupinetti is no longer with us but his children still keep things running. Heck of a guy and a real gentleman. Another must stop. I spoke briefly with one of the crew there and keeping Butch's legacy alive and well. I think it's in very safe hands. I joked with him about running our of sauce and needled him a little bit (not in a mean way though). If this team took down Bobby Flaw, that's saying something. Welcome back, Butch's BBQ!!! We really missed you.

Mojo's is another must stop for me. Another highly decorated team and past Naperville Ribfest winner. Heavily smoked and not heavily sauced. It might be short and sweet but stopping here is a good thing. You can't go wrong but be careful with the sauces because Killer is not for the average mortal.  You have to love the "converting vegetarians one rib at a time".....unless you're a vegan. Then again, not sure why a vegan would read this. If they're here, feel free to hang out. Meat and sauces marry very well.

Above is Mike Peters of the Kansas City BBQ Society. I became aware of KCBS years back and I realize what a big deal it was. This is the gold standard of BBQ. He and his wife, Christine, tour the USA for the KCBS BBQ Tour. He's a pretty fun presenter as well and he really knows what he's talking about. His presentation is very interactive. The sample he's cutting up is some Smithfield Pork. Good stuff!!! Also, they had some meats and cheeses as well as some season packets.The presentations are about 15-20 minutes. Last year, the KCBS gave away a Good Ones BBQ Grill....a VERY nice one (The Marshall)... and I didn't win it. Oh well. Life goes on!!!!!!! If you want to learn about BBQ and have a chance to hear this guy, you'd be better off for it. I'm not talking about BBQ alone either. I became aware of a new fire starter that looked like a candle. I tried them (I actually won them from him) and they worked like a charm.

This years had some newcomers and this was one of them. BBQ Masters is out of Atlanta, GA. You want to see some SERIOUS BBQ meat? Scroll down and see for yourself. Ribs and sausage galore!!!! While I didn't get to try them, I REALLY hope they come back next year. By this time, I was just about BROKE!!!! One of the sausages below had my name written all over it!!!!!

Who said BBQ Teams don't have a sense of humor and aren't good natured people? If you think that, just look at the 3 pictures that follow. All three are from another new Naperville Ribfest team, Willingham's Wold Championship BBQ. Now if you're really nice, a nice guy like you see below might hook you up with a little sample (a small end piece of BBQ). Another solid choice. Nice crust and very well seasoned. They placed Third in the "Best Sauce" category. Not overly spicy but still a very good rib. 

Another picture of the Willingham's BBQ team. 

I was really low on battery so I wished I could have taken more pictures (much lower than I expected). My zoom on my phone isn't great either. Now that my camera situation is solved, I'll take more pictures next time around. As usual, I had a good time. I know all the odds and ends on getting around. it's nice to see some familiar faces when they come here. I hope this at least painted a small picture about this event. I always look forward to going because I always have a great time. If I go alone or meet with others, it doesn't matter. My goal was to share about some good BBQ people and suggest you try them if they come to your town. This reminds me of what I have to look forward to each July 4th holiday (another thing to enjoy; don't forget the real reason why we celebrate the 4th). I do wish I took more food pictures (specifically, what I ate) and team pictures as well. By the time I thought about taking a rib picture, my ribs were gone!!! Oh well. I can look forward to next year!!!

 So I guess I'll end on a humorous note.  So you need some Cowbell????????????? OK......... problem solved................. (courtesy of Willingham's).

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