I actually wrote this entry several months ago when I was writing under another blogging alias, The Frugal Student. However, while writing about a recent dinner party involving barbeque and other tomfoolery, I decided that this entry is absolutely necessary in order to understand my love of Carolina barbeque. Enjoy, and try not to slobber all over your computer.
There are few things in this world which get me as giddy as a food festival.
1. The Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual Sale
2. Tax-Free Weekend
3. The Week When Harris Teeter Triples Manufacturer Coupons up to $1.99
But, really, I think entire festival weekends devoted to specific foods are too epic for words. Therefore, events like Twin City RibFest are too good to miss out on.
Actually, this is the third year in a row I’ve attended TCRF and I actually considering sitting it out this year. However, the Frugal Girlfriend convinced me to go, as she’s never been and I realized I couldn’t miss out on a good old fashioned, down n’ dirty rib competition.
For those of you who’ve never attended a food festival, there are typically vendors who come from all over to showcase their talents in the realm of said food. In the case of ribs, meat purveyors come from all across the continent to show their stuff. And the true rib fan knows there are as many ways to prepare ribs and barbeque as there are cooks who try their hand. In fact, there’s another renowned North Carolina food festival (Lexington Barbeque Festival) which conquers the chopped and sliced pig/cow, and I’m here to tell you that BBQ is a whole other “animal” from the quintessential rib.
Personally, I like my ribs slow cooked so that the meat is unable to attach to the bone, with very little sauce.
Others like theirs drenched in sauce. I think this is kind of disgusting. But I digress.
First up: a barbeque sandwich. Some people think finding a good barbeque sandwich is as easy as hitting up your local drive through and ordering the singular barbeque sandwich option. Or worse, they wait for the McRib to be offered at McDonalds. Blegh. In my opinion, the perfect barbeque sandwich has a vinegar base, very little (if any) sauce, and a thick (NOT RUNNY) coleslaw on top. Nothing more, nothing less, right? However, the barbeque sandwich we ordered from Camp 31 BBQ broke almost all of these rules. Meat laden with thick sauce, topped with a mayo heavy coleslaw. However, as you can see from this photograph, the meat is literally CASCADING from the bun. Not to mention that the meat was so moist it would make a grown man cry. Final verdict: well done, sandwich man. Very well done.
I also ordered a sausage sandwich from Camp 31. It was pretty simple: I mean, it’s really difficult to complicate a hickory grilled kielbasa, sliced in two pieces and served on a hamburger bun. However, I did dip it in two of Camp 31′s signature BBQ sauces. Absolutely delicious.
Then, after a quick lap and a hand washing, The Frugal Girlfriend and I decided it was time to get down to the main event.
These ribs (what’s left of them) came from Big Boned BBQ, straight out of Hixson, TN. Since they won last year’s People’s Choice award, I decided to make them my rib of choice. I also decided to go whole hog (look, I had to say it) and try both of their house sauces. The cashier told me that the first sauce was rated a 5 on the heat Richter scale. It had a nice, smoke-y flavor, without being too overpowering. The second sauce, on the other hand, was rated 9 on the heat Richter scale. It also accidentally coated one of my ribs. Now, being the true Southern girl I am, I finished all of my ribs like a champ. However, I did have to search for extra napkins to clear up the ensuing nasal drainage. Also, I’m sorry this picture doesn’t show the ribs in their true glory. I went into a food panic upon seeing them, and this is the pre-trashcan shot. Hey- a girl’s got to do what she’s got to do.
However, it would be ridiculous for me to say this was a Frugal trip. Since I’m not a big fan of spending money, my head hurts when I think about purchasing meat. But all in all the prices at TCRF are pretty typical pork prices. The BBQ sandwich and sausage sandwich were each $6. Ribs? $6 for four bones. Add in the lemonade and Belgian waffle ice cream sandwich I felt the need to buy (trust me, they were both worth it), and you’re looking at spending almost $25. However, this was a very special occasion. And I did enjoy myself. Even if I did get barbecue sauce all over my new sundress.
Basically, if you’re in North Carolina next June, you really must attend the Texas Pete Twin City Rib Fest. If nothing else, your sinuses will thank you.