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Jun 20, 2009 09:31 PM

Camp 31 at rib fest

Went to the rib fest at Coxwell & Lakeshore today. Pretty dismal turnout despite very light rain (no umbrella needed). I was in a hurry so went for the nearest place, which was Camp 31. I have had Camp 31 twice before, and found them satisying but unimpressive in the past.

This time:
- fatty, very salty ribs that to my tast were undercooked
- pulled pork sandwich that seemed to not have been very slow-cooked - noticable absence of mature flavour
- both of the above had a distinct lack of sauce - there was really not much going on in the flavour dept. at all, which for ribs and pulled pork is really missing the mark - these are not subtle foods

I ate less than half my ribs, and I am not known to leave even half-decent ribs uneaten. So, the overall impression was not good, and I guess I am at the end of the road with Camp 31. They get a lot of good mentions on this board, so I would love to hear from anyone else who had them this weekend, and can offer another vantage point..

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  1. Camp 31 was one of the worst I tried last year!

    My favorite was "Carolina Rib King"

    I had no idea it was Toronto Rib Fest.. Is it still on tomorrow (Sunday) ?

    4 Replies
      1. re: duckdown

        It is. this one is Beaches Ribfest.

      2. Anyone know how these Rib Fests work? Does each company bring in their own supply of ribs or do they one central storage area where they get all of it from (imagine they need big tractor trailer full of ribs). Do the ribs come in frozen or fresh (I got the impression they were frozen at the Burlington rib fest)...

        3 Replies
        1. re: ylsf

          Depends on who the vendor is, 1 of the vendors at rib fest owns 6 or 7 of the teams. So yes they all supply from the same central warehouse. That same vendor sells a good chunk of the other guys with their ribs too. There are a few independent ones out there.

          They pretty much all use frozen ribs purchased during the winter months when they are the lowest price you can get (about $0.90 a lb)

          1. re: BusterRhino

            OK, thanks. I was curious because one of the vendors told me once that they used non-frozen ribs while everyone else was using frozen ribs. I wasn't sure if he was BSing me or not but I guess it is possible he was using fresh ribs. I always have such trouble deciding which place to try... I guess next time I will have to bring more friends along so we can try a bunch and share....

            1. re: ylsf

              There are definitely a couple that do, it's tough to actually say which vendor to go too. The longest line is not always the best line. Also don't be confused by the big signs, you know the ones. WE ARE WINNERS - WE ARE FROM HERE AND THERE....not always true. It's marketing gimmicks in many cases. If I were to go to a rib fest I would probably look for the shortest line, smallest booth and in many cases a local person. Almost every rib fest has one. I could truly go on about this for pages but in the end it won't be worth it.

              1) Most vendor's cook the ribs from frozen or a semi frozen state. Why, because it's they way they come into them. They keep them frozen because it's hard to judge exactly how much you will use in a weekend and unless you have a place you can sell them again within 4-5 days you have lost a ton of product. It's not worth the loss for them. A local guy has a restaurant he can just do specials with for a week or less and get rid of them quickly - so he will be able to purchase fresh ribs.

              2) If you want true southern ribs, ask them if they put rub on them. There is not a respectable southern bbq place that would ever cook ribs then just pour the sauce on. At that point your getting a pork chop with sauce. You can do that at home in your own bbq for WAY less money.

              3) In the end, it's about getting out, having fun, drinking beer in many cases and enjoying the day. There are lots of people that will get four or five people together and purchase ribs from each place. They try them all out and decide which one is the best.

              4) DO NOT COME LATE - No matter who the vendor is they only cook so much. It's a case of cook too much and don't sell out you have to throw the product out at the end of the day. It won't be any good to you a week later. Don't come to a rib fest at 7:50 and expect many (if any) to have any product left at all.