Tampa Bay Rib Fest 2011

A little info about Rib Fest


November 11th, 12th, & 13th, 2011
Vinoy Park, 701 Bayshore Drive NE, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701
Gates open at 11 AM daily – No Re-entry

Day of Show at Gate
Active Military and family, with ID, No Charge at Gate

Some quick notes about the ribs

(Notes made by Matt on his phone, probably should have just brought a notepad.. but whatever. Also these are as is, as they were taken throughout the day)

Willimgham’s (http://www.willinghams.com/): ribs arent fall off bone but tender but moist. The rub is the winner very spicy. Spicy sauce is strong so is sweet.

Big Boned BBQ Co (http://bigbonedbarbeque.com/): tender and moist don’t taste rub. Habanero sauce stood out.

J&j barbeque (http://www.jjbbqtogo.com/): got an extra rib! Vinegar heavy sauce, meat is best thus far, so juicy, very tender, reminds Phil of Michaels. Best meat so far, but mild sauce was far too vinegary, hot was good.

Camp 31 (http://www.camp31.com/): apparently defending champions, not sure of this or something else. Most expensive so far at $9 but got roughly 5 ribs. As tender as 1st vendor but juicy unlike 1st. Comes with sauce painted on, no additional sauce available but that’s kinda nice. Sweet tea good not cloying. Refills are $1 on the $2 orig cost, so that’s good.

AUSSOM AUSSIE (http://www.aussomaussie.com/): different look to the vendor, also has aussie accent, not sure if real as I didn’t hear him say fuck or cunt once… but maybe that’s for appearances for my american brethren. Got shrimp on stick. Nothing to call home about, don’t get skrimps here.

Carolina Rib King, Spartanburg, SC (http://www.carolinaribking.com/): best rib so far. Great slow heat in the sauce.

Texas outlaws (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Texas-Outlaw-BBQ/171154736239282): pretty girls at counter and painting ribs. Good, sauce like Michaels… but the meat not as tender.

Thoughts about Ribfest

So, we ended up seeing some signs around town for something called Ribfest.  I love some good bbq, so obviously I went home and shared the news of some sort of festival for delicious meats with the roommates.  Looked up the information online about the shindig. We were all enthused about the prospect of a lot of different ribs. Unfortunately one of the roommates was heading out of town to visit a friend of ours in Cleveland.  His loss.

The one downside is the car ride across the bay.  I don’t know what it is about living in Tampa or St. Pete but it seems like everyone I talk to is loathe to cross the bay for events and stuff.  It’s only a 30 minute or so car ride, but the bridges make it seem like it’s longer than that. Anyways, we knew we had to brave a 30 minute car ride for the prospect of ribs.

Expensive. I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap going into it but if you’re looking to sample a wide variety of ribs you will spend a pretty penny. Three of us went, and it was $20/each at the gate to get in. So that was $60 to start the day. Three bones were typically $7, so we hit up 7 different vendors and had ribs from 6 of them. The clear winner of the day was Carolina Rib King http://www.carolinaribking.com/. Even after being stuffed, they easily had the tastiest sauce and best texture for ribs.  While I realize that what people want out of BBQ is variable, for me they were perfect.  Tender, but still texture.  A little kick in the sauce and not too smoky.

If I went again in the future I would definitely buy my ticket ahead of time. Preorder tickets were $10 or $13 or something, not too steep if you know you’re going.  If you were looking to be there for a while/stick around for the concert stuff I’d suggest bringing some chairs and a blanket for the ground.  The sound was kind of ridiculously loud, so if you’re really into your classic rock cover bands move right up to the speakers.. otherwise you might want to keep some distance.

It was a lot more county fair like than I expected, some activities for kids and a little car show with some bitchin’ restored/maintained old cars and trucks.  Overall not a bad day.

The day was pretty fun walking around and people watching. The ribs ranged from Rating: ★★★½☆ stars to Rating: ★★★★★ stars for the Carolina Rib King.

Author: Native

I work in software support, I'm an active cook and gardener. I'm a former LAMP admin and former Michigan native currently living in Florida. I contribute to http://www.halftonreviews.com and Twin Destroyer for my music.

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