BBQ Sauce, Ribs and Family: A Look At The 2016 Rib Cook-Off

Sep 4, 2016

Over the weekend, The Nugget Casino Resort hosted its annual Best in the West Rib Cook-Off. As Reno Public Radio’s Yama Rongomas reports, the event brings together families from across the country.

Swarms of hungry people gathered in downtown Sparks to sample ribs from vendors across the country. One of those vendors is Jason Best of Bourbon Q. He came here from Kentucky and says the event is much more than just ribs.

Jason Best (right) takes a rack of ribs out of the oven at Bourbon Q, which he and his family run during the annual Rib Cook-Off.
Credit Yama Rongomas

“This is more of a family event for us," he says. "Obviously my mom’s in the front, I’m in the back, my sister is up there. You know I have a another sister but she didn't make it out this year, but it’s more of a family reunion for us than an actual rib cook-off it seems at times.“

Bourbon Q isn’t the only family business in town. Aly Lupinetti works for Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ, which her father started 42 years ago in New Jersey. And even though he passed away, she says the rib cook-off is a great way to bring the family together.

“It’s great because I work what my mom calls a real job you know, Monday through Friday and I don't get to see my family a lot," she says. "So when we are out here on the weekends my husband is out here helping us and I get to be out here with my mom.”

Aly Lupinetti (left) stands with her mother, Lynn.
Credit Yama Rongomas

But don’t be fooled. As Best says, these families still have their eyes on the prize.

“The trophy they give away for this thing is as tall as me and I just I want to hold that thing so bad, I do," he says. "I just want to hug it. It was on the big table at our meeting the other night and I just want to take it home with me.”

Two dozen vendors are competing for that giant trophy and a variety of cash prizes. The winner will be announced Monday afternoon.

Check out more photos from the event below.

Credit Yama Rongomas

Credit Yama Rongomas

Credit Yama Rongomas

Credit Yama Rongomas