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Best BBQ Festival for eating?

Hi, I'm interested in finding out what the best BBQ Festival for eating would be. I know there are alot out there that feature competitions, but you can't really sample any of the competing teams' ribs, etc. I'm looking for advice on the best events to attend, really a 'can't miss' festival, where you can eat! Any comments and suggestions would be sincerely appreciated!

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  1. I'm a die-hard fan of the Big Apple Barbecue held every summer in NYC. Not only does the arrival of Southern pitmasters exponentially raise the caliber of barbecue in the city, but once you tire of shoulder, sausage and brisket, you have an entire borough of cuisine at your doorstep.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JungMann

      As you point out, southern pit masters are in full swing at the Big Apple, and every stand is selling. I would suggest getting a VIP pass as the 'regular' lines get very looooongggg, but don't tell too many people about it.

      1. The rib cook off in Sparks, Nevada. I believe it is over labor day. It's huge...but you can sample for a nominal fee. Entrants come from all over the country.

        1. I know this is a long shot.....but is there one in the Southern California area?

          I sit at home and watch the Travel Channel on Food Festivals and wonder why there's nothing like that in Southern California?!?

          2 Replies
            1. re: Jaytizzle

              There is one in SoCal and our own Professor Salt regularly enters his team (and takes prizes too). IIRC, you buy a number of tickets and then trade them for small samples (and also voting thereby for your favorites). I could be wrong. They also have an event sponsored trailer selling rib lunches but the lines are horrific.

            2. As an aside, I went to the Buffalo Wing festival in Buffalo, NY over Labor Day in 2008 and it was well worth the 8 hour drive especially when we combined it with a trip to Niagara Falls!

              1. Contact your local or state KCBS association folks and take a class to be a certified bbq judge. You learn lots about Q and when you judge you get to eat it all for free!

                1. Hi all,
                  I live in hudson valley in NY state. We have bbq festival here in august. Its at the ulster county fair grounds.
                  Its about 5 dollars to come and watch the cooking. The only people that can sell are professionals. I had ribs and pulled pork from John McDavid out of Philly. He was the guy who co-stared with Bobby Flay in the early days of the food network. I must say the BBQ was AWSOME.
                  I have eaten BBQ from NY to Fla and all states in between. Its was some of the best.
                  The event is new just 3 years old but my wife and i had a great time looking and eating.