Please indulge me for a second. I just returned from judging the Best in the West rib cook-off hosted by The Nugget casino in Sparks, NV. I realize taking a trip to this wonderland of bad hair and even worse judgement may not seem like a prize for everyone, but I absolutely loved it. It's not until you are knee-deep in big hair, beer bellies and lots of Hawaiian shirts at the largest outdoor barbecue in North America that you truly appreciate all that this smoketastic event has to offer. The cook-off itself is super competitive; not only does the winner receive a $7,500 prize, but a spot on the culinary map as well.
Is that Kim Kardashian?
The highlight of this six day event was Sunday, after the judging, when Rib Village opened up (all-you-can-consume ribs and booze) and the headlining act performed. Two years ago, these guys took the stage. This year? ASIA! Of course, they saved Heat of the Moment as their encore song, but they sounded great. Oddly enough, the day I return, the band shows up at The Moore. So, for all you attendees, if the band smells a little like rib exhaust, you'll know why.
I'll be showing you some more photos from the cook-off Friday for my Sweet Freak column. For now, check out our slideshow of some of the best rib cook-off slogans!