The 24th annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off over the Labor Day weekend was a serious rib-cookin' throwdown between 25 professional cookers competing for cash, trophies and braggin' rights.
Along the way, they sold a quarter-million pounds of bones to a sauce-smeared Rib Nation a half-million strong, while a medley of bands blasted the crowds with multi-genre music. To go with the St. Louis-style spareribs were roasted corn, onion rings, funnel cakes and plenty of beer.
The six-day event - considered the most prestigious of its kind anywhere - culminated Monday on Victorian Square at John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks. That's when Nugget officials announced the winners (and their cash winnings) to a cheering throng. They were:
First place: Chicago BBQ Company of Burr Ridge, Ill., $7,500
Second place: Sweet Baby Ray's of Wood Dale, Ill., , $3,000
Third place: Famous Dave's of Minnetonka, Minn., $2,000
Fourth place: Porky 'n' Beans of Port Saint Lucie, Fla., $1,000
Fifth place: Checkered Pig of Martinsville, Va., $500
Best Sauce Award ($500) went to Famous Dave's, while Back Forty Texas Barbecue of Pleasant Hill, Ca., took the People's Choice Award ($500).
For more information: (775) 356-3300, or www.nuggetribcookoff.com.