RIBFEST - There is a travelling circuit of rib cookers whose objective is to make money, period. They do so by cooking ribs and chicken, mostly, in volume, serving literally thousands of people over a weekend. To do that, they cook meat by pretty much an means they can; some boil, par boil, cook over gas, whatever it takes, sometimes finishing over charcoal or wood for the flavour. Most have and market their own line of sauces. Many seem to be ex-pat Americans now plying their trade in southern Ontario, where there is now a ribfest in some town or other every weekend.
But no, it is NOT a barbecue comp. Organizers will often solicit judges to have some kind of competition among the ribbers, but this is, at the end of the day, vending pure and simple. Profit, pure and simple. I am not saying the product is bad; I had ribs from a group called Camp 31, purportedly from Alabama, but living in S. Ontario now, that were as good as any competition ribs I had judged. They were an exception, but my, they wuz tasty!
Reg's input is interesting. I don't know that part of it, but would tend to believe it's exactly as he says. And except for the one team, one time, yeah, the ribs were very sub-standard. And 10 thousand people turned out to the event in Owen Sound last September. Go figure (while your minions count the profit......)
"Barbecue is Murder! Tasty, Tasty murder......"
"PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals"