Rib Cookers

The world’s top rib cookers compete for top honors each year at the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. The competition is widely regarded as the most prestigious rib cook-off in the country.

The rib cookers aren’t just competing for bragging rights — $14,500 in cash is up for grabs for those who impress the judges the most. Winners are announced on Monday at 2 p.m.


Aussom Aussie 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Origin: Sydney, Australia)

About Us: Aussom Aussie is Australia’s most-accomplished barbecue chef with more than 375 awards for best BBQ in the USA and Canada. A veteran of nearly 30 years in the International BBQ Circuit, Paul “Aussom Aussie” Mackay started competing in BBQ contests in 1988. After several years, he and his father developed their very own traditional Australian fruit-based barbecue sauce. Taking on the best barbecue chefs, he came to North America to prove he had a winning formula. Paul’s sauces, seasonings and supplies are simply the best you can buy, if you take the art of Barbie (BBQ) seriously. Winning 5 Best Ribs and 7 People’s choices and 4 Best Sauce awards in 2016, Aussom Aussie is looking to defend their 2015 victory for Best Sauce, as well as take the coveted title of “Best in West” at the 2016 Nugget Rib Cook-Off!
History: Best Sauce 2015, 3rd 2004, 2nd 2002, 1st 2001, 5th 2000

Austin’s Texas Lightning BBQ
Location: Burr Ridge, IL

About Us: Austin’s Texas Lightning BBQ is from Burr Ridge, Illinois, and they’ve been on the road for 30 years, competing in cook-offs across the United States. Pitmaster Nikki Haggerty and her team have won numerous awards over the years, including awards at the Chicago Windy City Rib Fest and the Mankato Ribfest in Minnesota. This will be their second time at Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off, but Haggerty has been to the cook-off for many years as part of her father’s competitive barbecue team, Chicago BBQ.

Back Forty Texas Barbecue
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA

About Us: Jeff and his team compete regularly in contests against the nation’s finest barbecue operations. As one of the nation’s top barbecue teams, Back Forty Texas Barbecue has been invited to compete in the Rib Cook-Off every year since 1991. The judges regularly vote Back Forty the #1 Barbecue in California and twice voted Back Forty’s barbecue sauce as Best in the Nation. In 1993, Back Forty opened a restaurant in Shingle Springs, CA and in 1995, Back Forty served travelers at the Roseville, CA location. In 2007, Back Forty Pleasant Hill opened the Roadhouse & Saloon 20 miles up Interstate 680 from San Ramon.
History: 4th 2015, People’s Choice 2014, People’s Choice 2012, 1st 2011, People’s Choice 1997, 5th 1996, Best Sauce 1996, 4th 1995, Best Sauce 1995, 4th 1992

BJ’s Barbecue
Location: Sparks, NV

About Us: Established nearly 20 years ago, BJ’s Nevada Barbecue Company is family owned and operated and a locals favorite. We serve up delicious Pork Ribs, Beef Brisket, chicken, shredded pork, Louisiana Hot Links, salads, wings and more!
History: 4th 2010, 2nd 2006, 5th 2005, 4th 2000, 1st 1998, 3rd 1994, Best Sauce 1992

Bone Daddy’s BBQ
Location: Midland, MI

About us: Bill Wall married his wife, Kim, while he was in town competing at the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off one year! their beautiful daughter, Jessica, has been attending shows with them since she was little and still helps out today. In 2005, Bone Daddy’s opened a restaurant in Midland, Michigan. Today, Bill and Kim continue to offer award-winning food through their catering and restaurant business and they are still winning competitions throughout Michigan and the USA. The best of all these competitions is the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off, in which Bone Daddy’s has been invited to compete since 1990.
History: 2nd 2016, 1st 2015, People’s Choice 2015, 2nd 2014, 3rd 2011, People’s Choice 2011, 1st 2010, People’s Choice 2010, 2nd 2009, People’s Choice 2009, 1st 2008, 5th 2006, 3rd 2003, 1st 1999

Bourbon Q
Location: Westport, KY

About Us: Since buying our first mobile pit in 1984, Team BourbonQ has competed coast to coast in dozens of local and national cooking events winning numerous awards for our ribs and signature products. We bring a bit of The “Bleu-grass” with us; you will love our (often imitated, but never duplicated) Famous Blue Cheese Coleslaw. You can find our award-winning sauces and rubs on the shelves in hundreds of retailers across North America and abroad.
History: 4th 2009, 5th 2008

Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ
Location: Mt. Laurel, NJ

About Us: Butch Lupinetti was a jovial, colorful, kissing pitmaster who left his New Jersey home every spring and summer and traveled across the country competing and winning awards for decades. His proudest achievement came when he won a Throwdown against Bobby Flay on the Food Network. At his passing, he held over 500 national and international awards. Now his daughter, Aly Lupinetti, and her husband, Matt Meyer, continue in those winning ways.  We cook our meat North Carolina style, using a dry rub which contains a blend of 30 different spices. Our sauces (gluten free) compliment the flavor and come in 5 varieties, Mild, Spicy Sweet, Happy Apple, Pyro and, if you dare, Super Pyro. Remember Butch’s mantra “Cook ’em low, cook ’em slow, serve no swine before it’s time!”
History: 4th 2014, People’s Choice 2008, People’s Choice 2006, 1st 2005

Carson City BBQ
Location: Carson City, NV

About Us: Carson City BBQ is one of Nevada’s most award-winning barbecue companies! Their first contest was the Arizona Rib Round Up. They tried their luck again at the Best on the Mountain Horizon Rib Cook-Off and won best sauce. Following this, they won 1st or 2nd place for sauce and 1st place for ribs over the next five years. In 1998, they entered the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off for the first time! Carson City BBQ also offers year-round catering.
History: Best Sauce 2009, Best Sauce 2004, People’s Choice 2003

Checkered Pig BBQ
Location: Martinsville, VA

About Us: Checkered Pig BBQ is a national competition cooking team based out of racing country – Martinsville, Virginia. Checkered Pig travels all over the United States serving award-winning ribs and a Southern-style menu, including America’s Leanest pork barbecue.
History: Best Sauce 2016, 5th 2014, 5th 2012, 4th 2007, 1st 2004

Chicago BBQ Company
Location: Burr Ridge, IL

About Us: Owner and barbecue expert Tom Ferguson opened Chicago BBQ Company in the spring of 1985, with a vision of creating Chicago’s ultimate barbecue experience. Trained in the fine art of low and slow smoking at the age of 10, Tom has spent his life creating the world’s best barbecue. Tom brings his love and passion to every slab served.
History: People’s Choice 2013, 1st 2012, 2nd 2011, 5th 2010, 2nd 2008, 2nd 2005, 3rd 1999, 3rd 1998, 4th 1996, 3rd 1991

Desperado’s BBQ & Rib Co.
Location: Hinckley, OH

About Us: Desperado’s BBQ & Rib Co. is also known by their famous slogan, “Lick My Ribs.” The company, owned by Donna Rice, operates out of Hinckley, Ohio. Rice serves up delicious ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, cornbread, mac & cheese and more. Their gluten-free sauce has won the Best Sauce in America award and Desperado’s took home 1st Place in the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off in 2014. Their competitive barbecue team has won 1st place trophies in 26 states.
History: 1st 2014, 5th 2013, 1st 2009, 2nd 2007, 3rd 2005, People’s Choice 2004, 3rd 1997

Famous Dave’s BBQ
Location: Minnetonka, MN

About us: Dave started with a hankerin’ for fine barbecue and a desire to make the finest slow-smoked barbecue folks had ever tasted. He visited rib shacks, roadside joints, every hole-in-the-wall or fancy pants supper club he could, in search of the most BBQ succulent meats savory seasoning and lip-smackin’ sauces around. After 25 years of tastin’ and cookin,’ Dave decided he had to share. He’s received more awards than he has walls to hang ’em on. Over 300 in all. But that’s for you to judge, ’cause after all, you’re their best critics. Come on in, they’ll treat y’all right.
History: 2nd 2015, 3rd 2014, 1st 2013, 3rd 2012, Best Sauce 2012, 4th 2008, 1st 2007, People’s Choice 2007, 1st 2006, People’s Choice 2005

Hole in the Wall BBQ
Location: Eugene, OR

About Us: In 1992, they moved from Arizona to Oregon and were in need of some delicious barbecue, but couldn’t find any! So, they decided to solve the problem themselves and bought a property. After a whole year of intense renovations, Hole in the Wall BBQ was born. Hole in the Wall BBQ is Eugene and Springfield’s best kept secret. This Oregon-based cooker is best known for their authentic daily slow-smoked barbecue meats and dry rubs that create that genuine deep barbecue flavor. They are known for their famous Smoked Half-Pound Cheese and Bacon Burger, Prime Rib French Dip, Smoked Meatloaf – just to name a few.

Joey’s Texas Thunder
Location: Borger, TX

About Us: Joey Sutphen has operated Sutphen’s Family-Style Restaurants since 1950. They are the barbecue that all others are measured by in the Texas Panhandle for more than 40 years. Visiting 11 states and 15 cities annually, they’ve served wood-cooked and wood-smoked BBQ to the Texas delegation of the U.S. Congress, the Governor and distinguished guests and approximately 2,600 crew members at the christening of the USS Texas, factory workers in Oregon and Tennessee, Phillips Oil men working in the North Sea, celebrity fox hunts in Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut and celebrity tennis tournaments at La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, California.
History: 3rd 2016, Best Sauce 2002, 1st 1997, 2nd 1995, 1st 1992, 4th 1991, 2nd 1989

Johnson’s Bar-B-Que
Location: Chesapeake, VA

About Us: In operation since 1984, Johnson’s Bar-B-Que is now one of the most respected indoor and outdoor caterers in the Southeast. They serve award-winning baby back ribs, pit BBQ hams, shoulders, loins and whole-hog roast.
History: Best Sauce 2010, 5th 2004, Best Sauce 2000, Best Sauce 1999

Just North of Memphis
Location: Minneapolis, MN

About Us: Located just south of the Mississippi River in Clearwater, MN, Jon and Kristy Bigalk operate their family-owned barbecue business called Just North of Memphis. For more than 20 years, Kristy and Jon have been cooking and competing with their Memphis-style barbecue all over the United States each summer, serving tens of thousands of people the best barbecue they can. With their new sauce affectionately named “Sweet Kristy’s,” 2012 was a breakout year for their barbecue team, winning 1st place awards in Minneapolis, Sioux Falls, Columbus, Lincoln, Omaha and Miami.

Kinder’s Custom Meats Inc.

Location: Concord, CA

About Us: Three generations of hard work and family pride began in 1946, when John Kinder opened his first meat market in San Pablo, CA. In 1985, Kinder’s relocated to Concord, CA and the business became a popular neighborhood meat market, deli and catering company. Kinder’s now boasts 15 franchise locations throughout Northern California and Northern Nevada. Over the years, Kinder’s has developed their own collection of award-winning BBQ sauces, marinades, rubs and spices. The combination of Kinder’s products with a passion to make every customer feel at home has made each location a thriving success.
History: 3rd 2013, 4th 2011, 2nd 2010, 3rd 2009, 5th 2007, Best Sauce 2007, 4th 2005, 2nd 2003, Best Sauce 2003, People’s Choice 2002, People’s Choice 2000

Montana Q Bar-B-Que House
Location: Frenchtown, MT

About Us: Montana Q Bar-B-Que House joins us from Frenchtown, Montana. Montana Q was founded in 2010 by Tom Moua and Mary Hang after years of backyard barbecuing for family and friends. They recently took home the “People’s Choice” award in the 2015 Miles City Cowtown Cook-Off.
History: 4th 2016, People’s Choice 2016

Porky-N-Beans BBQ

Location: Port Saint Lucie, FL

About Us: Porky-N-Beans has been a proud member of the National Award Winning Rib Cookers of America since 1983. They are national rib cook-off contenders and travel between 10,000 and 15,000 miles a year competing in cities from St. Paul, Minnesota to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They have won numerous rib cook off titles such as the prestigious Golden Rib Award and Best Ribs in America.
History: 4th 2013, Best Sauce 2014, Best Sauce 2013, 4th 2012, 5th 2011, 5th 2009, Best Sauce 2006

Rasta Joe’s BBQ Inc.

Location: Rochester, IN

About Us: In 1993, “Rasta Joe” Alexander turned his passion for barbecuing into a national award-winning business. The accolades and prize money started rolling in when Rasta Joe perfected his “Jamaican Style” sauce recipe after five trips to the Caribbean, where Joe discovered that blending local spices and flavorings – including Jamaican Rum – livened up his barbecue sauce even more. Considered by many to be one of the country’s top BBQ chefs, Rasta Joe continues to win national rib cook-off competitions from coast to coast. Joe takes his Southern Pride 700 Cooker on the traditional summer festival and fundraising circuit.
History: 1st 2016, 3rd 2010, 2nd 2004, 5th 2002, 3rd 2000, 2nd 1998, 5th 1997, Best Sauce 1997, 3rd 1996

Texas Outlaw Barbecue
Location: Elizabethtown, KY

About Us: Jim IS Texas Outlaw Barbecue. For 16 years, Jim has kept the BBQ on the road and it has paid off, as Texas Outlaw Barbecue is one of only two three-time 1st place winners at the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. Jim has won seven awards in Sparks and is looking forward to this year’s competition. Restaurant manager Paul keeps the doors open back home at Texas Outlaw Barbecue Restaurant. Everything is made from scratch. The meat is hand-cut and smoked all day long. Jim keeps his recipes to himself, but feel free to stop by and talk to him!
History: 5th 2016, 5th 2015, 2nd 2013, 3rd 2008, 1st 2003, 1st 2002, 1st 2000, 2nd 1999, 2nd 1994

The Barbecue Company Inc.
Location: Phoenix, AZ

About Us: In business since 1987, The Barbecue Company has been recognized with several national awards for ribs, including Michigan’s Bay City Pig Gig, the Naperville Ribfest in Illinois and Iowa’s World Pork Expo and the National Championship Trophy from the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. Their Free-Range Red and Sweet Sonoran Heat barbecue sauces have also won awards, including 1st Place in the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off and the Arizona Fiesta Bowl BBQ Classic. Chili Pepper Magazine has repeatedly recognized them for outstanding barbecue sauces throughout the years. Most recently, they were awarded the “Best of Phoenix” in the Phoenix New Times for their Sweet Sonoran Heat Sauce.
History: Best Sauce 2008, 4th 2001, 5th 1998, Best Sauce 1998, 2nd 1997, 1st 1995, 3rd 1993

Uncle Bub’s
Location: Westmont, IL

About Us: Uncle Bub’s BBQ puts a “best of BBQ regions” spin on their own unique award-winning recipes. Given their many competition awards, celebrity chef admirers and fiercely loyal fan base, it’s no wonder that WGN-TV in Chicago has declared Uncle Bub’s as one of Chicago’s Best BBQ Joints. Whether you like the BBQ styles of Carolina, Texas, Kansas City or anywhere in between, you’ll be in hog heaven with your first taste of “BUB LOVE”!!!
History: 3rd 2015, Best Sauce 2011

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