It’s time to get down to the juicy business of barbecue, as the Highland Rotary Club – supporting more than 30 non-profits in the region – teams up with iHeart Media and Hannaford Supermarket to present the 12th annual Hudson Valley Ribfest next Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Sixty hopeful competitors are ready to cook up a mess of barbecued pork ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork butt/shoulder, chicken and lots of other goodies. Are you salivating yet? Their secret recipes are exacting and the stakes are high, as prize money inches up each year.
On Saturday, the New England Barbecue Society Grilling Contest will have teams competing in four different categories: Pizza, Wrapped in Bacon, Chicken Wings and Apple Dessert. (Did you think it was only about the pork and beef?) Come back on Sunday, when the Kansas City Barbecue Society Contest, governed by the official KCBS rules and regs, holds forth with four different categories: Chicken, Pork Ribs, Pork Butt/Shoulder and Beef Brisket. The 2016 team list and all other information about the competition can be viewed online.
Ribfest is part of the Empire State Barbecue Championship, with winners qualifying to advance to the national finals in Kansas City. While competing teams get to work in the kitchen, attendees can enjoy what amounts to a finger-lickin’ food festival with all manner of stick-to-your-ribs edibles, from barbecue, including Mexican and Jamaican styles, to lots of non-barbecued food concessions. Beer, wine, soda and water are also available for purchase, along with barbecue-related accessories and supply items such as specialty sauces, rubs, grills, grill starters and unique barbecue tools.
What’s a great summer festival without music? Starting Friday evening, a terrific lineup of good ole country, Motown, soul, rock, swing, R & B, blues, jazz, indie/alternative rock, Irish mash-up and your basic hillbilly sounds can be heard. The entertainment includes Alison Peratikos, Afterglow, Soul Purpose, Hudson’s Crew, the Little Creek Band, Hillbilly Parade featuring Jason Casterlin, Jessica Lynn, Tracy DeLucia and the Knuckleheads.
Barbecue, that all-American culinary delight, is growing in the Northeast, the number of attendees also inching up every summer. You might want to plan a day or two at Ribfest to take in the best that New York has to offer. Kids’ activities will keep them busy while Mom and Dad check out the offerings. Included in the entry fee is parking, musical entertainment, entry to the contest areas and free same day re-entry.
Hudson Valley Ribfest, Friday, August 19, 5-10 p.m., Saturday, August 20, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday, August 21, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., $7/kids under 12 free, Ulster County Fairgrounds, 249 Libertyville Road, New Paltz; (845) 844-RIBFEST, https://hudsonvalleyribfest.org.