Let’s Talk Ribs


With Ribfest gone for another year as part of Rotaryfest, SaultOnline contributor, James Gallagher gives us a run down on how he judged the various ribs in competition this year.

“Danby Way was packed with eager carnivores this weekend; waiting in entwined lineups for the four delicious BBQ options that tempted tastebuds at RotaryFest. It was Ribfest, and I just awoke from my food coma.

While the judged section of the competition saw Kentucky Smokehouse as the 2014 champ and people’s choice winner, we had to weigh in with our own culinary findings.” said Gallagher.

Here’s the results



Sauce – Sweet…. Too sweet.
Fall-off-the-bone factor – low

Usually fat is your friend in making meat moist and tender, but somehow these very fatty ribs turned out dry. There was no barque to speak of, and you really had to work to get those bones clean. The sauce was a traditional recipe, but was too sweet, which covered up any flavor of the rub and the smokiness of the meat was lost.

Jack the Ribber

Sauce – Smokey
Fall-off-the-bone factor – medium

The gentleman in front of me in line ordered the beef ribs, and they looked spectacular- like the slab that tips Fred’s car over in the opening titles of the Flintstones. That aside, we’re here for the pork ribs, and they were really delicious. There was a good barque on the meat that complimented the sauce well. Meat was reasonably moist, however under-sauced. If you like a dry-rub rib that doesn’t get too messy, these are your guys.

Kentucky Smokehouse

Sauce – Perfectly Balanced
Fall-off-the-bone factor – high

Everything came together just right for the team at Kentucky Smokehouse. The ribs were moist. The barque was excellent. The sauce was perfectly balanced – not too sweet, not too tangy. They’re the kind of ribs you would slow cook at home all Sunday… just peeling off the bone. The staff also made us feel like we were old friends enjoying a southern cookout.

Silver Bullet

Sauce – Peppery Kick
Fall-off-the-bone factor – low

Silver Bullet won the award for Best Chicken at the fest, but we’re here for the ribs. The barque was good, and the flavours worked well, but overall we found the meat a bit dry. Their sauce was my personal favourite, but I’m partial to vinegar-based sauces with a peppery kick (which it delivers). I wish I had room to try the chicken, and the cornbread.




As it turns out, the Soo has a very defined vision of what ribs are supposed to be and congratulations to Kentucky Smokehouse for turning out delicious, crowd-pleasing ribs all weekend long! We are proud to add the Sault Online Best Ribs award to their accolades. Can’t wait for next year.