Sure, sharing your wares with the crowds is great, but what Warren Ribfest is really all about is the bragging rights.
Friday night, five judges drawn by raffle and four sponsor judges tasted the wares of all five ribbers at the festival this year and crowned the kings.
Things kicked off around 4 p.m., when veteran rib judge and former Pittsburgh Steeler Bill Asbury and certified Kansas City barbecue judge John Beard provided a training session for judges. Judges were shown what a winning rib should look, feel and taste like and taught how to provide an evaluation beyond their personal preferences.
A good sign
Torrey Frederick, one of the five winners of the Ribfest judging raffle took time prior to performing his evaluation duties while Bill Asbury, who taught a class for the judges, signs a banner for him.
At approximately 5:20 p.m., Asbury reminded judges what they should look for and reminded them not to discuss their opinions while judging before staff brought on the ribs.
Tasting was done blind and each judge was given a tray with five numbered slots to prevent anyone from knowing which ribber provided the fare. Five trays were brought out and the judges were given a good look to evaluate appearance and presentation. They each selected a rib from the tray and began the tasting. After judges were given time to evaluate each rib, corresponding sauces were brought out for judges to test.
Each of the nine judges; raffle winners Paul Genis, Tom Radecki, Torrey Frederick, Matt Anderson and Doris Nuhfer; and sponsor judges; Kevin Hall from United Refining, Mary Hagan Double from Whirley-Drinkworks!, Jenny Ingrao from the Seneca Salamanca Chamber of Commerce and Brian Ferry from the Warren times Observer; filled out judging cards with a two through nine grading with nine being the highest.
Ribs and sauces were judged on separate cards on appearance/aroma, taste and tenderness/texture. Two winners in the categories of best ribs and best sauce were awarded from point totals from each group, one from sponsors and one from raffle winners. A master ribber title was awarded from the combined point total of both groups.
Judges spent just over thirty minutes evaluating the entrants and winners were announced at approximately 7 p.m.
A people's choice winner will be awarded Saturday afternoon based on survey cards filled out during the festival.
Raffle Panel Judges- Sauce
1st Two Fat Guys BBQ
2nd Smokin Joe's Hog Wild BBQ
3rd Sgt. Oink's BBQ Co.
Sponsors Panel Judges- Sauce
1st Wells Hog Wild BBQ Com
2nd Sgt. Oinks BBQ Co.
3rd Two Fat Guys BBQ Co.
Raffle Panel Judges Ribs
1st My Happy Place BBQ Co.
2nd Wells Hog Wild BBQ Co.
3rd Sgt. Oinks BBQ Co.
Sponsor Panel Judges
1st My Happy Place BBQ
2nd Wells Hog Wild BBQ Co
3rd Sgt. Oinks BBQ Co.
Ribmaster Grand Champion
Wells Hog Wild BBQ Warren, PA