I waited an entire year for it. I got up and went for a three-mile run and ate a very small breakfast in preparation. I got in the car and drove to the Ohio State Fair and it was finally time for me to once again serve as a judge at the Ohio State Fair Pork Rib-off.
Oh the magical sauces, the tender, smoky meat, the delicious smells and eye appeal of the ribs — it is nothing short of dazzling and well worth a year of waiting since I judged in 2012. I was joined in my enviable role by David Black
with the Ohio Soybean Council, Dave White of the Ohio Livestock Coalition, Joel Riley from 610 radio, and Virgil Strickler with the Ohio State Fair.The event that followed was nothing short of amazing. Wave after wave of delicious pork cooked up from some of Ohio’s top rib makers was set before us to enjoy. Wow. First, baskets of ribs were followed by more of the same, each with a unique and tasty version of BBQ savoriness. But, there was little time to savor, because before we knew it, the next set of yummy ribs had arrived and there was more work to be done.There were no bad entries. They were all fantastic. And after the ribs came a relentless maelstrom of pulled pork leaving the judges in a sauce-covered stupor of pork-laden ecstasy.
The big winners of the day were Smoke ‘M If You Got ‘Em from Middleport with the Grand Champion Ribs and Wally’s Great American BBQ from Tiffin with the Grand Champion Pulled Pork. Tony’s of Findlay also did well with the best sauce with soy, people’s choice and Reserve Grand Champion ribs. The Hickory River Smokehouse from Tipp City had the Reserve Grand Champion Pulled Pork.Below are some video highlights from before and after one of the events upon which my year revolves.