On Saturday I took photos at Ribstock, a competition to find the ‘Great British Rib Champion 2013’ among ten of the UK’s best rib chefs and restaurants. I missed out on a ticket last year, so I was very excited to be there!
Despite the rain forecast, the weather held up and we even had a few spots of sunshine! The atmosphere at Merchant Yard in Hackney was incredible! From noon till the late evening the courtyard was packed with happy revellers, munching on ribs and licking their fingers!
Each contestant cooked their own version of ribs and served generous portions to the guests. Chris of All Things Meaty let me follow him all day and waited patiently before eating, so that I could take photos of all the ribs. He managed to eat all of them, he even had a bite of the ones I ordered from Redhook. That's a lot of love for meat!! ;) If you want to read a thorough review of each contestant, have a look at his blog post!
All the guests were given a scoring card and could taste a rib from every competitor before placing the vote for their favourite.
The winners of Ribstock 2013 (who took home a £3,000 prize) were BBQ Whisky Beer Mesquite-smoked black Angus beef rib with Texas rub & BBQ Whisky Beer sauce. Low & slow.
They served one of my favourite ribs of the day, but I personally I would have voted for Neil Rankin's Texas/Korean mash-up BBQ (chicken fried pork spare ribs with Korean buffalo sauce and ginger & lime mayo). I mean...fried ribs!!!
Second favourite (you know I have a soft spot for Indian flavours): Roti Chai 'Plantation Pigs' British belly ribs (tandoor-smoked and slow-cooked) with pineapple & red Naga 'ghost pepper' chilli marinade.
There was also a Hot Sauce competition, with six sauces to blind taste. Mark Gevaux The Ribman deservedly won the first prize with his famous Holy F*!k sauce.
I didn't get to try all the ribs, but other Ribstock entries were:
Blue Boar Smokehouse - slowly smoked baby backs with a fiery Blue Boar dry rub, slathered in a zingy barbecue marinade.
Cattle Grid - Thick cut baby backs slow-cooked and fast-finished with Cattle Grid sauce.
Prairie Fire BBQ - Apple & hickory wood smoked pork belly rib, fire kissed in a Kansas City sweet 'n' smoky sauce.
Red Dog Saloon - St. Louis pork ribs with a special dry rub, smoked low & slow over hickory wood and glazed with house made Kansas City BBQ sauce.
The Rib Man - Freshly made tortillas filled with slow-cooked baby back rib meat, apple, balsa mela & Holy Fuck.
I tried last year's winning ribs by Redhook (Oxford Sandy Black Belly Ribs, with Roxas sauce), which were on sale at Ribstock. They are already one of my favourite ribs in London and they didn't disappoint!
Bartenders from Rotary Bar & Diner were mixing the drinks at the festival bar and there was also a dedicated craft beer bar, serving beers from local breweries Beavertown, Camden Town, Meantime Lager, Partizan and Kernel. I loved the Spritz cocktails!