Ribfest: A Quick Report

August 12, 2005 at 4:24am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Missus and I hit Ribfest tonight. It was the first time I had ever been to Ribfest in the evening; typically I visit during the day since I work Downtown. Overall it was a great experience.

I do have some gripes, all of them directed at Johnson’s BBQ. For one thing, their service was pathetic and slow. In part that was because they used local help (high school aged girls). I’m not bashing the girls necessarily, although they didn’t go out of their way to provide anything better than mediocre service. Considering they were probably being paid minimum wage and I’m certain they received only scant directions on what to do, I can’t really fault them. The behind-the-scenes workers—that is, the guys actually running the joint—were lazy and slow. I realize they’re probably tired, but 1) it’s only day one of a weekend-long event, and 2) I’m paying them way too much money for them to be bums. I ordered a BBQ pork sandwich. The pork was barely (and I do mean barely) done, and the sauce was pathetic. I’m not sure what it was called, but even Kraft pulls off a better barbecue sauce. Last year I ordered their thermonuclear sauce. Now that was a sauce that was worth the money. Anyway, my suggestion: skip Johnson’s this year.

For an encore I decided to try some ribs from Rasta Joe’s. I had overheard a guy talking about how good they were, so I figured I’d check them out myself. Not only was the sauce about 65 times better than the Johnson’s miserable sluice, the ribs were very tender and the meat was impressively flavorful. Rasta Joe’s saved the day.

Throughout the evening Soul Dawg performed on the stage. They started off a little rough, but they really picked up steam as they went along. Their peak was probably early in their second set when everything really clicked. By the time they finished for the evening they had drawn quite a crowd around the stage. There was even s

ome (playful) booing when they wrapped up and didn’t play an encore.

The highlight of the evening, other than Rasta Joe’s ribs, was definitely overhearing two guys in line behind me discuss one’s sexual escapades with his lactating wife. I’ll spare you the details.

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The Comments

Mr. T August 12, 2005 at 2:41pm

“The pork was barely (and I do mean barely) done, and the sauce was pathetic.”

Whaaaa? I’m not really a barbecue fan but I do like grilled barbecue chicken. But having said that, my (albeit limited) understanding of slow cooked meat in general (“barbecue” style or otherwise) is that the slow and prolonged cooking basically overcooks meat to the extent that the collagen and other fibers are cooked away. Hence, the super ultra tender texture. So if it was undercooked, it was definitely fubar.

Along the same lines, one of the reasons I don’t generally like barbecue is because the meat is so overcooked that it loses its original flavor - which is why without the sauce and rub/seasonings it would taste like, um, plain white rice.

Mr. Wilson August 12, 2005 at 3:30pm

You know, you’re right about the pork. Perhaps it wasn’t doneness that was the problem. But there was something about it that was off, exacerbated by the fact that it tasted like it wasn’t done and the temperature was somewhere around lukewarm. The color, the texture, the temperature…they just all added up to a not especially pleasant experience.

As for barbecue being flavorless, I guess there are two responses. The first is that if the meat doesn’t have any flavor, it isn’t being cooked properly. The second is: so what if the meat doesn’t have any flavor? It’s just an avenue for carrying massive amounts of barbecue sauce to my taste buds!

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