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BBQ Tour Stop #15 - Columbus Jazz & Rib Fest

July 31, 2009
This was the 30th year of the Columbus Jazz and Rib Fest held in beautiful Ohio. Last year, the event was on both sides of the river because the connecting bridge was closed by the city during the event. This year, the event was just up the river at the Nationwide Arena. We loaded in Thursday, along with some of the Rib vendors (Ribbers), and were a bit concerned when we heard that the street would be open for the Friday morning traffic.

We ran into some of the Ribbers from the event in Naperville. We saw Butch from Smack your Lips, who was also in New Jersey. If I didn’t know better, I would think he was following us. Joey with Texas Thunder called me the “Salad Man” in reference to KCBS garnish. He was quick to tell me that he is a long-time KCBS member. Our buddy, Jon with Willingham’s BBQ, was a first-time Ribber in Columbus and even brought the Wham smoker along. Speaking of first timers, I was asked on Saturday morning to be a guest judge for the “Big Whig” contest and lost count at 17 ribs.

One neat thing about this event is all of the other exhibitors that attend. We met the Sunny D people, who were handing out drink samples, M & M people with free ice cream products and the ADHD exhibitors that confirmed my hunch. Our new BBQ buddies, Traci and the Other White Meat Tour Team, were nice enough to give us tenderloin to smoke on the Good-One too. Schmidt’s, a local vender who has been in the Columbus area since the late 1800’s, had some sauerkraut and brats that Chris just had to try. She had to try the giant cream puff too.

On Saturday, it rained most of the day. We almost adopted a nice grandma that took cover under our tent. That is until she laughed when I got soaked from the water that had collected on top of the tent. I got totally drenched. She’s lucky that I’m a nice guy or grandma would have been out on the street. We also ran into an exhibitor promoting a new type of charcoal chimney made out of cardboard called a Charcoal Buddy. People with developmental disabilities manufacture it. At first, I was wondering how this thing would work. I was pleasantly surprised when it performed without flaw.

Sunday was the last day of the event and the sun came back out, along with most of Columbus. We held our Grill Master contest that afternoon and one of our contestants, Eric, had seen us in Wildwood, NJ. He should have had an advantage but was nipped out by a chicken kabob by Harry. It is always interesting to see what cooking ideas people come up with for chicken breast.

I really have to take a moment to recognize our helper for the last five weeks. Our youngest daughter, Spencer, took the summer off to travel the country with us and has been invaluable, especially considering Chris’ finger dislocation in South Bend. Lucky for us, Chris’s hand did not require surgery. It was great to share our love of BBQ and travel with Spencer. She got to meet quite a few of our friends along the way. While I am sure she will never forget this summer, I can’t guarantee that she will volunteer again.

Looking forward to seeing you in the BBQ pit,
Mike (& Chris) Peters
Our Best of the Best 700 180 100+