Lick My Ribs: Best of the West Rib Cook Off, Reno NV


The morning breeze was crisp and the air was filled with the smell of smoky BBQ. The song, “It’s the MOST,  wonderful time, of the yeeeeeear” was blasting within my noggin as I knew, it was time for the Best of the West Rib Cook Off.


Every year, my husband, friends and I strategize how we will possibly sample every single rib vendor, and then cop a squat and argue over ice cold Bud Lights with bbq sauce plastered all over our faces seriously debating which vendor stole the show.  We then cast our votes, and anxiously await the results. Ok, now that you get the jist of what this is, let me give you the guts and glory of the annual Best of the West Rib Cook Off.


“Too Legit Too Quit” by MC Hammer was proudly bumpin in the car for the ribbn’ pre-funk party. The essential fanny pack was loaded and ready to go. Cash, ID and more cash. One of my favorite things about the Rib cook off, besides the ribs of course, is the shopping vendors. Its not your typical street fair with the same junk being sold at the flea market down the street. I always find the most custom, unique gifts at this event and typically get 70% of my Christmas shopping done at this time. Not to mention I usually pick up a new set of shades that rock my face pretty tough! This year… I found cat eyes. Score! Here is our previous years find:


First and foremost, hands down my favorite no questions asked or you get punched in the face, Desperado’s BBQ is my repeated favorite. I am like the kid at Chuck E. Cheeses who gets released into blinky light game land. I basically run towards the usually long line with that stupid happy smile on my face with my mouth wide open. It’s not cute. I wait in line, invading the personal space of the poor person in front of me. In my mind, it makes it seem like the line is moving faster. Closer and closer, one by one I make my way to the front of the line. “A taster and Mac N Cheese Please” as my eyeballs are moving a million miles a second as I watch all the pitmasters slather sauce all over the racks of ribs that are cookin’ low ‘n slow.  Once you get your grub, it doesn’t end there. You go over to their self serve BBQ station, and drown your ribs in their signature sauces.


Desperado BBQ Co., located in Hinckley, OH has always been my favorite because their meat is crisp, the rub is spiced just right and the their sauce has the smoke and glory you would expect to find at any pit master competition. This is the real deal people. Look for yourself and try to tell me your mouth isn’t watering right now.





IMG_1038After taste testing nearly every BBQ Co., I have to give a huge shout out to my new bestie, Bourbon Q straight from Westport, Kentucky.  I noticed a gal who was working pretty hard grilling the ribs over in the corner.


I love bourbon, so why not stand in line and order a rib taster? After talking with the staff for a bit and introducing myself as a Girls On Food blogger, they were kind enough to offer me one of their signature products. Pig wings. Pig Wings? They are made from the shank – a single bone surrounded by lean, tender meat. Think, the filet mignon of pigs marries chicken wings. They were dipped in Bourbon Q’s signature sauce and literally, no freaking joke, fell. off. the. bone.


Literally, fell off the bone and on the street. They were so good they couldn’t be wasted. My friend and I looked each other quickly and made the crucial split second decision to pick it up and eat it. We just didn’t eat the bottom layer that touched the street. So like vultures picking at road kill, we sat on the curb and silently enjoyed our pig wings.

Yes, it is possible to get sauce on your little piggies!

We managed to make our way through Back Forty, Butchs, Rasta Ribs, Chicago BBQ company and many more. I am still and always will be in love with Desperados, with Bourbon Q right next to them. Seriously, those pig wings though.

Did I mention there is also a carnival? Here’s a word of advice, do NOT, go on the rides after you are stuffed and full of bbq. My very energetic side kick forced me against my will to participate in this vertigo madness and it wasn’t pretty. She kept laughing as though she was crawling from under the fire pits of hell as she spun us ferociously round and round and I screamed loud enough to scare all the innocent children away. So please, hit the carnival first and if you don’t like carny rides, don’t bring a friend that does!IMG_1069

That wraps up my 2015 Rib Cook Off experience. I am completely impressed with everything the competitors brought to the table this year and already can’t wait until next year. The competition continues to heat up every single year and the BBQ companies bring their very best to showcase their greatest potential. “When Pigs Fly”, they fly to Reno, and they’re DAMN good! I may not make the best ribs, or even come close, but I will challenge anyone to lick their bones clean like I do. Yes, I am a professional rib grubber and proud of it!





My passion for good eats and restaurants started when I was 5 years old. Yes, you read that correctly, 5. My grandparents were my foundation and always enjoyed everything from a good ‘ole hole in the wall burger to seared octopus at the San Francisco Ritz Carlton. Of course, they always brought along yours truly, and I believe they had no idea what kind of foodie fanatic they were creating. Our family restaurant was always, “Original Joe’s” in downtown San Jose. The waiter would kindly ask what I would like to eat, (expecting me to order something like a child’s sized spaghetti like the rest of my cousins) and I would very confidently state, “I would like a New York steak, rare, with seasonal vegetables and a baked potato with sour cream and chives, please.” My Grandpa would always laugh and tell the waiter, “She better marry someone with money, this girl is expensive!” Later in life, the fire for food that burned inside me grew into a full on blaze. I started off in the restaurant business and worked every single position that exists. With dedication and a strong desire to succeed, I soon grew to be a professional chef. I absolutely loved watching people enjoy the meal I put in front of them. I loved seeing families laugh and create memories over a heart felt meal that I had prepared. The intensity of the kitchen, the plating, the perfection of timing in bringing a dish all together was a rush that I craved on a daily basis. After 8 years, I did decide it was time to keep my passion alive through my family and friends, so here I am! Thankfully, I have had the blessing of living and experiencing great culture. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area with hanging chickens on the streets, eventually moving to the beautiful city of Chicago with my husband for a short stint only to settle in the Biggest Little City aka Reno, NV with Lake Tahoe as my back yard to play in. I have experienced everything from Alligator in the back woods of Florida, deep dish pizza in Chicago, to Escargot right here in Reno. I also spend a lot of time in Lake Tahoe finding the local hot spots and lounging on the beach. I’m looking forward to bringing you exciting, witty yet genuine reviews right here from the Reno/Lake Tahoe area! Check out my blog Reno Tastebuds.

1 Comment

  1. Reply


    September 11, 2015

    You got 2 things right. Kentucky Bourbon Q kicks ass they actually gave me a job when I was homeless and downtrodden in Sparks Nevada. pappy and his crew are awesome I’m just saying this because they helped me out when I was in a bad situation. no personal ties there. If pappy tends to his ribs like he tends to his operation they got to be good. And they are just saying dude helped me out bad time in my life Thank You pappy. One thing to the reviewer love your review but it is Sparks Nevada not Reno there is a difference keep up the good work.