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

Can’t get enough pork ribs? Try the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off.
Can’t get enough pork ribs? Try the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off.

Get your hunger on for the 27th annual Best In the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off and food-music-crafts festival, which will bring a Rib Nation of 500,000 ‘cue lovers to the Nugget Casino Resort over the extended Labor Day weekend, Wednesday through Monday (Sept. 7).

Feeding the crowd will be 24 professional cookers from around the country, rubbin’, smokin’ and saucin’ nearly a quarter-million pounds of St. Louis-style pork spareribs while they compete for $14,500 in cash and ultimate braggin’ rights.

Last year, Desperado’s BBQ & Rib Company from Hinckley, Ohio took the top spot, followed by Bone Daddy’s BBQ from Midland, Mich., and Famous Dave from Minnetonka, Minn. The People’s Choice Award went to Back Forty Texas Barbecue from Pleasant Hill, Calif.

Three new competitors will join the fray — Austin’s Texas Lightning BBQ from Burr Ridge, Ill., Montana Q Bar-B-Que House from Frenchtown, Mont., and Smokin’ Joe’s Hog Wild Barbecue from Mansfield, Ohio.

Look for the Major League Eating-sponsored throwdown between reigning rib-eating record-holder Joey Chestnut and arch-rival and top-ranked eater Matt Stonie (and eight other pros) at the 10th annual World Rib-Eating Championship. The guy who goes through the most ribs in 12 minutes will walk away with $2,500. Second place gets $1,200, third $650, fourth $450 and fifth $200. Chestnut holds the world record, at 13.76 pounds. Is that with or without sauce? Check it out at 6 p.m. Wednesday on the Main Stage on Victorian Square.

For first-timers, the cook-off menu usually goes like this: pork ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, roasted corn, onion rings, ‘taters, 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 top rib entries, along with the best sauce. Meanwhile, the public will vote for the people’s choice rib winner. Winners will be announced Monday.

The Nugget is at 1100 Nugget Ave. in Sparks, Nev., about five miles from Reno. Admission, parking and live entertainment are free. The festival is 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday Information:

Allen Pierleoni: 916-321-1128, @apierleonisacbe