Visiting the Oshawa Ribfest 2008
by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz
2008: Last weekend I went to Camp 31 with a number of the Japanese
trainers from Toyota. Oliver, the manager, happened to just get back from a ribfest
competition and told me that the last one for the season would be in Oshawa.
So, today, I had Funakoshi-san and Oguri-san from Toyota join me and we headed
out at 8:30 for Oshawa. We arrived there at about 11:00 AM in a slight
drizzle. The place in a park on the shores of Lake Ontario and was set up
like a carnival with rides, food, and most of all, a bunch of rib companies in
competition for the best ribs.
Davor Zuder and some smokin’ ribs!!
There are numerous ribfests around the US and Canada. This one was typical
of these. At this event there were ten different “ribbers” competing for
“best ribs”, “best sauce” and “best chicken”. Of this group, my favorite
rib place was also there…Camp 31. Not only
Camp 31, but
its sister teams “Hawgs Gone Wild”,
Thirsty Cactus and
Bibb’s BBQ were also there. Bernie Gerl, owner and/or co-owner of these
four teams is proud of his success in rib competitions…
Bernie checks on the ribs in the smoker; kisses one of his many trophies; Oguri
and me with Bernie
Bernie owns the Thirsty Cactus restaurant in Dundas, Ontario near Hamilton.
He is also the co-owner of Camp 31. He joined with Larry Murphy, from
Brewton, Alabama, where the original Camp 31 was opened in an old sawmill.
Larry Murphy, founder of Camp 31 and proud of it!!
Larry is “Alabama’s Finest” ribman…he knows his ribs and has competed all over
Just a couple of the big trophies from Camp 31 and Hawgs Gone Wild
My first experiences with Camp 31 (and many of my over 40 visits since Feb. 2)
are documented on my
Camp 31 page.
My first few visits I had the opportunity to meet the store manager, Oliver
Zuder, who is originally from Bosnia/Herzegovina, but now lives in Ontario.
He is an accomplished cook, a certified truck driver and a downright great guy.
On the road he is the captain of the Hawgs Gone Wild BBQ team. And they
consistently are winners.
Oliver Zuder shows off one of his teams’ many trophies
Oliver is always smiling…he looks over the ribs on the grill and checks them
in the smoker
Each of the teams stay together throughout the summer for all of the
competitions. They set up shop with large banners that celebrate their winnings
and even a few fun bits of commentary. The photos tell it all….
Some of the banners….and sayings..HA Grills Gone Wild!!!
Bibb’s BBQ and Camp 31 setups
Hawg’s Gone Wild!!
But, the best part of this competition is the food! Barbecued pork ribs,
beef ribs, pulled pork and chicken.
And more ribs…..
…pulled pork and MORE RIBS BABY!!
Of course, the grilling and smoking are good, but we all know that the sauce
brings home the bacon….
Another key is the
preparation…from starting with the raw meat, spicing it up, sticking it in the
smoker and then throwing it on the grill….
Ribs getting ready
for the cooker
Spicin’ up the
The next step is
smokin’ them in the smoker…
Drippin’ and juicy
in the smoker…where that great flavor gets its start
From the smoker, the
ribs are ready for the grill. At the ribfest everyone uses wood fired
grills. Hot and smoky and the smells waft through the air all around the
…using the tools
of the trade
Hot and ready…
…for a good
slathering of savory, succulent mouth-watering sauce!!
But, the very best
part of the ribfest?? EATING the ribs!!!
Lining up for the
ribs…everyone’s mouths are watering!!
Cutting the cooked
ribs for the crowd
Prepping Beef Ribs
at the Thirsty Cactus booth
Oguri and Funakoshi
have joined me at Camp 31 on a number of occasions, but they were in heaven on
this fine Saturday afternoon, savoring every big juicy bite of their beef ribs.
Yummy Beef Ribs
No bones about
it…Funakoshi loved them ribs!!
The ribfest was lots of fun…here are a bunch more shots I took. Enjoy
Indeed…this was award winning and #1!!!
Watch for a video of the ribfest coming soon!!
All photos and commentary expressed are copyright of Sumoflam Productions and David Kravetz. All rights reserved.