Slurp, slurp, slurp.
That's the sound of finger-licking goodness at the 2008 RibFest.
It was welcomed sound coming from the judging tables Friday evening.
RibFest winners show off their prized trophies. Pictured from left are Chuck Hern of Aussom Aussi, Cameron Nicodemus of Smokin' Joe's Hog Wild Hog Wild BBQ; Emmett Moody and Ron Conaway of Texas Pit, and Cary Stephens of Sgt. Oink's.
Eight brave rib connoisseurs sampled five professionally crafted sauces and five perfectly cooked ribs.
The judges were diverse to say the least. From law enforcement to a retired professional athlete, they all came to rate some hog. The judges were Bill Asbury, former Pittsburgh Steelers fullback; Gary Barnes, National City; Randy Scalise, Blair Corporation; Chief Ray Zydonik, Warren City Police; Greg Waterman, Warren County Career Center; Jim Swanson, Holy Smokes 2007 Amateur RibFest winner, Mark Soliday, WICU, Erie; and Dean Wells, Times Observer
Each rib sample was rated on a scale of one to ten on taste and texture. Then each sauce was rated on the same scale.
As the men plowed the through the ribs, each thoughtfully chewed and rated each carefully. The samples of sauce were served in shot glasses.
Waterman facetiously swirled the sauce like a glass of wine and wafted the aroma. This was a parody Soliday found rather amusing and the two shared a chuckle.
On the first round of ribs, Asbury cleaned the bone and said, "That was good." The rest of his tablemates, which consisted of Zydonik, Waterman and Soliday, nodded in agreement. Asbury's table ate and judged quickly. At the second table, Scalise, Wells, Barnes and Swanson took a little more time to consider the level of tastiness.
Following the judging, the scores were tallied.
And the winner is...
Sgt. Oink's took the top prize of Rib Master. Gary Stephens graciously accepted the trophy and proudly raised it above his head in triumph.
Three other ribbers took home golden trophies. Aussom Aussi placed first in ribs and sauce. Smokin' Joe's Hog Wild BBQ took second in ribs and sauce. Texas Pit clinched third in ribs and sauce.