It’s been a busy 3 weeks for me. The month began with the 2nd Cowboy BBQ festival in Henderson, followed by the beginning of the EDX online class, Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science, then finally, this past weekend was the Aki Matsuri festival.
More than just a celebration of the grilled arts, the Cowboy BBQ festival was also a competition between five champion caliber cookers. Considerably less prestigious than Smokin in Mesquite (http://www.mesquitebbqchampionship.com) it nonetheless offered barbecue gluttons three afternoons of indulgence. There were three categories, best ribs, best sauce and people’s choice. I didn’t bother too much with the first two since I couldn’t vote in those categories anyway. In order to vote for the people’s choice award one had to purchase a VIP pass, which in turn earns any VIP the privilege to vote for his or her favorite cooker and unlimited access to ribs, sides, desserts, wine, beer and soda.
Of the five competitors, my vote went to Texas Rib Rangers (http://www.texasribrangers.com) their ribs were moist and tender; they also managed to have the right amount of smokiness and sauce that didn’t overwhelm the flavor of the meat. It was a real surprise that they didn’t have the longest lines in front of their stand. Whenever I go outside the Rib Village, I’d watch people walk around looking at what each competing cooker had to offer and I realized that people gravitated to the stand that displayed the most banners. The longest lines went to Cowboys BBQ and Rib Co. (www.cowboysbbq.com); followed by Johnson’s Bar-B-Que. Texas Rib Rangers won last year’s people’s choice award failed to draw the biggest, my theory to why this happened is because they had a very understated stand that displayed only a few of their awards. I went multiple times trying ribs from all competitors and after a while all the heavily sauced ribs began to taste the same and only Texas Rib Rangers stood out from the pack. My biggest qualm about this event isn’t the small number of participants in the competition it’s only two years old and it can only get bigger- hopefully. It also isn’t the fact that they didn’t announce the line-up of featured cookers have changed. It’s the fact that until now none of this or last year’s results have been published on their website, it’s very hard to build excitement over a competition where winners aren’t announced.
To be continued.