This year's lineup of cookers at the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off includes three new participants: Austin's Texas Lightning BBQ, Montana Q Bar-B-Que House and Smokin' Joe's Hog Wild Barbecue.
"We love to mix it up with new cookers every year and give them the chance to compete against the best in the industry," said Lisa Jansen, director of special events and entertainment. "It also gives people a chance to try new, regional barbecue flavors at the rib cook-off."
The new cookers will be competing with 21 other cookers for bragging rights, cash prizes and the chance to become the "Best in the West."
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 is their first time at Best in the West, but Haggerty has been to the cook-off for many years as part of her father's competitive barbecue team, Chicago BBQ.
Montana Q Bar-B-Que House joins the Sparks event 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 this year's Miles City Cowtown Cook-off.
Smokin' Joe's Hog Wild Barbecue is based in Mansfield, Ohio, and was founded by Joe and Sheila Henderson. Over the past 14 years, they've received nearly a hundred awards at cook-offs across the Midwest and East Coast. In 2014, they won the 'People's Choice' award at the Celoron, New York Ribfest.
The 21 other cookers making their return to the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off are:
Aussom Aussie BBQ Company Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Back Forty Texas Barbecue, Pleasant Hill, California
The Barbecue Company, Phoenix, Arizona
BJ's Barbecue, Sparks, Nevada
Bone Daddy's BBQ, Midland, Montana
Bourbon Q, Westport, Kentucky
Butch's Smack Your Lips BBQ, Mt. Laurel, New Jersey
Carson City BBQ, Carson City, Nevada
Checkered Pig BBQ, Martinsville, Virginia
Chicago BBQ Company, Burr Ridge, Illinois
Desperado's BBQ & Rib Company, Hinckley, Ohio
Famous Dave's BBQ, Minnetonka, Minnesota and Reno, Nevada
Hole in the Wall BBQ, Eugene, Oregon
Johnson's Bar-B-Que, Chesapeake, Virginia
Just North of Memph's, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Kinder's Custom Meats Inc., Concord, California
Porky 'N Beans, Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Rasta Joe's BBQ Inc., Rochester, Indiana
Texas Outlaw Barbecue, Elizabethtown, Kentucky
Texas Thunder BBQ, Borger, Texas
Uncle Bub's, Westmont, Illinois