The Ravens BBQ/Ribs Throwdown
The top finishers at the Ravens BBQ Throwdown (Baltimore Sun photo/Richard Gorelick / October 16, 2011)
There was a new winner this year - Tom McCleary of Sparks, Md, bested his five opponents. The second place trophy went to Tenille Wagoner and Barb Mueller and the judges awarded third place to Scott Steinmetz and Judy Lamp, who are shown here, at right, with their lawyer, John "Whiplash" Blevins. Last year's results didn't sit well with Steimetz, who tried again with his Kosher beef ribs.
McCreary, a first-time entrant, was hand-picked by Lot H regular Gian Allece, whose friendship with his neighboring tailgater Naworol survived the awkward moment when Naworol took the ribs Alecce brought to the judges table and threw them directly in the trash.
Naworol explained that the ribs weren't supposed to be delivered to that way. Naworold and Allece hugged it out later.
About his winning entry, Mccleary says that after applying a dry rub, he slow-cooks the baby back ribs over hickory for six hours at 225 degrees, spritzing them with apple juice for the last three hours. He applies his own vinegar-and-hot pepper sauce in the last hour. Basically, McCleary is in love with the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker/Smoker that he bought two years ago, and much of it has to do with how easy it is to regulate the water supply, he said.
Something he's learned -- not to overdo it with the wood, a trap many novice smokers fall into, who wind up with ribs that taste like a forest fire.
Next year, Naworol is hoping to get Bobby Flay to help judge the competition, or if not, him, maybe the guy from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
But I think I may have found them another judge, closer to home. Joe Flacco, seeing my Tweet about the ribs contest, Tweeted back: @gorelickingood Save me some of those RIBS It was not Flacco who Tweeted, of course, but a Joe Flacco Twitter fan club.