The Erie’s Wild Rib Cook Off & Music Festival has been a popular event since its early beginnings in 1990. Just ask four guys from a local toolmakers shop who have made Friday’s at the Rib Fest their destination for the past 20 years. This tradition began when Bill Carideo brought his family down have dinner at the very first Rib Fest in 1990. The next day, when Bill went back to work he told the guys about the delicious bbq ribs, the great music and the fun that they had missed. From that moment they collectively made the decision to mark their calendar to be sure to attend the 1991 Rib Fest.
It was the second year of the Erie’s Wild Rib Cook Off & Music Festival that Bill and three other guys from work, Mike Guise, Mike Mckenzie and Marty Daubert made good on their plan to take a half day off of work on the Friday of Rib Fest. They all left their jobs at noon, met at a downtown watering hole and then made their way to the Rib Fest.
There, each of the guys would go their separate ways to purchase a half-rack of ribs, each from a different professional rib cooking team. Once they found a table, these self proclaimed bbq aficionados would conduct their own taste test. They would sample a bone from each of the rib cookers. They would discuss the flavor and the tenderness. Was the meat too smoky? Did it have a savory appeal? Was the sauce sweet, or did it include too much vinegar… and all points in between. When the last tidbit of meat was removed from the bone, the toolmaker guys would then decide which Rib Cooking Team prepared the best bbq ribs.
Within the past ten years the group has grown to between eight and a dozen guys. They no longer all work at the same place but they all still mark their calendars and take a half day off from work on the Friday of Rib Fest. They make their way downtown to gather at a watering hole and then on to the Rib Fest where they are joined by their wives and sometimes their older kids and the tradition continues.
June 1st of 2011 marks the 21st year of delicious BBQ in Erie. In recognition of these Erie Rib Fest extraordinary fans, Kathi Danielson of Performance & Event Management, LLC is reserving two tables on Friday of Rib Fest for the rib judging gang to conduct their 21st rib tasting. We’ll be sure to share their findings.