Do you smell it? The wood smoke? BBQ sauce? Ribs?"
Ooooooooh boy, Ribfest is back!!!! After waiting a full year, I was ready for ribs and carney food. A tradition for about 5 years now for Ricky, Brad, Amanda and myself, we were looking forward to hanging out and eatin' ribs. Sadly, Dude is in China and not able to make it this year, but last year was the only year we were all able to go.
The smell of smoke and bbq filled Victoria Park in London Ontario, and we were excited. This was a 3 day event for us, with Rick and I going Thursday, Brad joined us Friday, and Amanda joined us Saturday (even if she doesn't eat ribs). The whole affair is pricey, but it is a charity event with the proceeds going to the London Boys & Girls Club:
"ON THE ROAD" MENU
Pork Back Ribs
Full Rack Ribs- Ribs only $22.00
Half Rack Ribs- Ribs only $13.00
Half BEEF Rack Ribs- Ribs only* $13.00*Beef Ribs not available at all restaurants
1/4 Chicken & 1/3 Rack Rib Combo $15.00
1/2 Chicken $10.00
1/4 Chicken $ 8.00
Chicken on a Bun $ 6.00
BBQ Pork on a Bun $ 6.00
Vegetarian Nightmare -Rack Ribs, Chicken,
Pulled Pork, Beans/Coleslaw $20.001
Pound BBQ pulled pork $10.00
FOR DELUXE DINNERS (2 SIDES ITEMS) ADD $2.00
Labatt Beer (14 oz) $ 5.00
Coolers / Wine pork $ 6.00
PC Pop / Water $ 1.00
ALL TICKETS COST $1.00
Taxes, Gratuities, and Entertainment Included!
A new feature this year was trying to be environmentally friendly:
- Permanent Victorian-style park fountains (bring your own water bottle!)
- Foam packaging recycling (make sure you recycle your plate!)
- Dishwashing station (bring your own dishes!)
- Dishes available with $5 deposit to avoid garbage
- EcoStations (the place to reduce your waste! The place to dispose of their waste by sorting it into the various bins for recyclables, compostables or landfill)
Sadly, we didn't bring our own dishes or the reusable ones provided. But we did recycle and compost!!!!
But enough of the small details, how were the ribs? I've broken this up into the 3 days, and some extra photos you can see. I am dividing it by Vendor, and then the comments we had about it. While there were varying comments, we were pretty much all on board for our comments about the various places.
Rick and I didn't know where we were going to go for dinner in London that night. Then we were like, let's go to Ribfest, just to make sure its there. A quick, preliminary scouting trip. Seating was not a problem.
I have no photos of Kentucky Smokehouse. I can't find a website to upload their photos. I don't even have a proper review. My Bad.
KS is 'smoked southern-style BBQ ribs, and originally I thought they were from, well Kentucky, but I think I read somewhere they are actually from London On. Crazy!
This was Rick's first choice of Ribfest. We generally get our own ribs and swap a few so we can sample all around. Rick remembered this place as a really good, consistent rib place from last year. But when I checked last year's reviews, it seemed like a decent place but nothing special. This year, it was really good. Why the difference? Asking for extra sauce. See, all the ribs come from the same place, so nobody has a meat advantage. So when it comes down to it, this Ribfest is all about the sauce. And if you don't have a lot of sauce (like last year) you may not get as much flavour. So our tip, order extra sauce.
For my first night, I was up for some experimenting. For some strange reason, I was attracted to this place because of a quote on their booth stating "the secret in our sauce is oranges" or something like that. Ok, I get it, oranges, gator, Florida.
Unfortunately, these ribs were nothing special. I tasted no oranges. Not even a hint. The ribs had a hint of BBQ flavour, but were weak. Not great, but not terrible either. Another key to picking out a place is whether they smoke the ribs or cook on propane. Gator used propane. Go with smoked.
I got a meal, and the potatoes were pretty blah, but the beans were tasty. They also had a bottle on the side that I thought was extra sauce, but later found out to be hot sauce. A nice addition, but I actually wanted more bbq sauce.