Now, we didn't originally plan to go to the Markham Ribfest. My sister saw my pictures from the Toronto Ribfest and, like Darcy, she loves ribs so she came all the way down from Montreal this weekend and we went.
It wasn't the best day for it. It rained quite heavily for most of the time that we were there, but the line-ups were very short so it wasn't so bad. The event was smaller than the Toronto one, but it was charming and very well-organized. There were 7 ribbers there, including Blazin' BBQ, Tennesse Fatbacks, Bone Daddy's BBQ, Bad Wolf Barbecue, Camp 31, Bibb's BBQ, and Billy Bones BBQ.
We started by getting a pulled pork sandwich and a half rack from Camp 31 and another half rack plus baked beans, coleslaw, and hush puppies (corn fritters) from Tennesse Fatbacks. The pulled pork sandwich was absolutely fantastic. It was better than the ones at both of the places we tried at the Toronto Ribfest (Bad Wolf Barbecue and Silver Bullet BBQ). The meat was amazingly tender and was lightly dressed with tasty sauce that wasn't too vinegary or rich. I loved it.
Darcy said that the sauce on the Camp 31 ribs was too sweet for his taste. He and my sister liked the Tennessee Fatbacks ones better because both the meat and the sauce were flavourful and nicely spiced. The beans and coleslaw were nothing to get excited about. I thought that they would make beans from scratch, but they were obviously canned. The hush puppies, however, were fantastic. The dough was light, sweet, and studded with whole corn kernels. They were deep-fried, but not greasy, and sprinkled with a little powdered sugar. Delicious.
We took a break for a couple of hours and went to visit my old friends who are now living in Stouffville. At about 4:30, we subtly excused ourselves and snuck back to the ribfest to pick up dinner before heading back to the city.
By time this it was both windy and rainy, but we perservered and picked up half racks from both Bibb's BBQ and Billy Bones BBQ as well as a pulled pork sandwich from Tennessee Fatbacks, some fresh cut fries from the chippy van, a roasted corn cob, and a bag of Tiny Tom's donuts. Oh, and we got soft serve cones to eat on our way out. We could be on one of those Life Network shows about people who eat 10,000 calories/day.
We headed back to the city, stopping on the way at T&T Market (enormous Chinese grocery store; more on that later) and J-Town (Japanese grocery store) just because we were in the neighbourhood. We picked up a movie and went home with the BBQ.
The Tennessee Fatbacks pulled pork sandwich was also excellent. I think I liked Camp 31's a tiny bit better, but this one was great too. Not to vinegary or gloppy. The meat was shredded in tiny pieces while Camp 31's was in bigger chunks, which I like better. Bibb's ribs were tiny, but tasty. I think I liked them the best. Billy Bones' ribs were big and meaty with a very peppery, spicy sauce. Darcy liked these ones the best of all the ribs he tried at both ribfests.
Well, guess what? Next weekend is the Mississauga Ribfest, so if you haven'e gotten out to one of these yet, here is your chance. These ribfests go on all summer in any town that has a Rotary Club, which is pretty much everywhere so there are plenty of chances to go if you have a car. I'm ashamed to say I already know that there will be another one in Scarborough the first weekend in August.