Best in the West Rib Cook-Off gets smokin’ on Wednesday

If you want a smokin’ good time over Labor Day weekend, get your hunger on for the 26th annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off.

A Rib Nation of 500,000 ‘cue lovers are expected to converge on the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nev., Wednesday through Monday, to take on 240,000 pounds of pork ribs, rubbed, smoked and sauced by 23 professional cookers from around the country.

The menu usually goes like this: St. Louis-style pork ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, roasted corn, onion rings, funnel cakes, more ribs and then some more ribs. The cookers serve their ribs with their proprietary ‘cue sauces.

On Sunday, a group of judges will choose the five best rib entries, along with the best sauce. Meanwhile, the public will vote for the people’s choice rib winner.

Live entertainment will include seven-time Grammy nominee Joan Osborne and the long-running Jefferson Starship.

The Nugget is at 1100 Nugget Ave. in Sparks, Nev., about five miles from Reno. Admission and parking are free. Information: