The 23rd annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off was a Godzilla-size throwdown at which 24 professional cookers competed for cash, trophies and bragging rights. Along the way, they sold 240,000 pounds of bones to a Rib Nation a half-million strong.
The six-day event - considered the most prestious of its kind - culminated Monday afternoon on Victorian Square at John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks. That's when Nugget officials announced the winners to a cheering crowd. They were:
First place: Back Forty Texas Barbecue of Pleasant Hill, Ca., $7,500
Second place: Chicago BBQ Co., Burr Ridge, IL., $3,000
Third place: Bone Daddy's, Midland, Mich., $2,000
Fourth place: Kinder's Custom Meats, Concord, Ca., $1,000
Fifth place: Porky 'n, Beans BBQ, Port St. Lucie, Fla., $500
The People's Choice Award (and $500) went to Bone Daddy's BBQ. The Best Sauce Award (also worth $500) went to newcomer Uncle Bub's of Westport, Ill.
The 24th Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off is planned for Aug. 29 through Sept. 3, 2012. For reservations, event history and information: (800) 648-1177, (775) 356-3300, or www.nuggetribcookoff.com.