Ah festivals, one of my favourite things about summer.  And as the hot weather begins to wind down and the Labour Day weekend approaches, it signals two things to us: one- it’s time to retire our bathing suits till next year and two- the Burlington Ribfest is officially here! I always get excited about Ribfest; something about smoky, saucy meats that never fails to get my taste buds tingling.  This years festival weather was hot, I mean heat stroke worthy hot, but that didn’t stop me from going on two different occasions.  A little tip for all you fellow festival goers, it’s always best to go on the very first day or the last day in order to avoid massive crowds, long line ups and to ensure you find a decent parking spot.  In previous years, I would get my ribs from Jack-the-Bone, but this year I decided to go with something different.  So, I lined up at last years public choice winner’s stand, Kentucky Smokehouse. $22 for a full rack may seem a little pricey at first glance, but try eating a full rack to yourself and you’ll quickly discover that this is a portion typically meant for sharing.  Much to my delight, I was not disappointed with my selection.  The ribs from Kentucky Smokehouse were big and juicy and each bite I ripped off was full of meat, not fat.  While the ribs were delectable, eating hot food in the scorching sun was not very pleasurable.  Something that the Ribfest coordinators might want to consider for next year are tents over the eating station.  After polishing off my ribs (with some help of course), I was still hungry and wasn’t about to leave Ribfest without sinking my teeth into a pulled pork sandwich.  After deciding this is what I wanted, I was struck with a dilemma- every rib stand had pulled pork on the menu, so how was I to choose which one to pick? Being a lover of all things bread related, I quickly lined up at Hawgs Gone Wild, after discovering they were one of the only stands that had cornbread on their menu; a great side to pulled pork in my opinion.  The sandwich was rich, the portion of pulled pork was outstanding and the sauce was sweet and sticky.  And the cornbread, well the cornbread was delicious! After returning two days later, I thought I’d take a risk and try pulled pork sandwiches from two different stands: Fire Island and Pistol Pete’s Smokehouse. Pistol Pete’s was a bit of a let down for me, the pork wasn’t really ‘pulled’ as my sandwich included large clumps of pork that were too chewy to eat, leaving me to have to pulled the pieces to shreds myself.  Fire Island’s pulled pork sandwich was fairly tasty, but was made all the better after I put some of the sauce from Hawg’s Gone Wild on it.  I will say that their apple crumble was a great accompaniment to the sandwich and their beans were nice and thick.  After what seemed to be an overdose of pork, I was craving something sweet so I had some churros which were very tasty and a red velvet funnel cake from the funnel truck, which was a little too sweet for my liking.  Overall, the Ribfest was a success in my eyes, and was a great way to showcase Southern soul food at its best. Until next Labour Day Ribfest, I bid you adieu.

Juicy and tender pulled pork sandwich from Hawg’s Gone Wild with cornbread and beans on the side

A delicious and meaty full rack of pork ribs from Kentucky Smokehouse.

 

Fire Island’s Pulled Pork sandwich served with apple crumble and beans.

Pulled pork sandwich from Pistol Pete’s Smokehouse served with apple sauce and beans.

 

 

As a lover of all things food and drink related, I am a self prescribed "foodie" and live by the belief that good food and wine truly does warm the soul. My love for cuisine has been apparent since childhood, but it was my first fine dining experience in 2007 that really introduced me into the complexities of our palates and the extent to which good wine can enhance the flavour of any dish. I don't simply eat to live, I live to eat and it is my hope that this translates into my food critiques. Dobar tek as we say in Croatian, good eats!

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