RIB COOKERS

The world’s top rib cookers compete for top honors

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 –
$19,500 in Cash Is Up For Grabs For Those Who Impress The Judges The Most!
Winners are announced on Monday, September 5 at 2pm.

New in 2022: Armadillo’s Real Down Home BBQ and Mansmith’s BBQ!

We Are Pleased To Welcome Back The Following Cookers:

Mansmith's BBQ
Lava, ID

People’s Choice Winner at the Great San Juan Rib Cook Off 2019, 2020, 2021

Mansmith’s BBQ is so excited to bring over 32 years of perfecting their World-Famous Ribs and Tri-Tip Sandwiches to this year’s Best in the West Rib Cook Off! Mike is a 2nd generation Pitmaster who is going to bring the heat with his family’s signature spices and the sweet smokey flavored BBQ sauce that will have you licking your fingers and asking for more!

Armadillo’s Real Down Home BBQ
Naperville, IL

For more than 25 years, Armadillo’s BBQ Team has won hundreds of awards for excellence in BBQ while traveling the rib festival circuit, mostly across Midwest and Great Lakes states. With the 2022 Best in the West Rib Cook-Off, Armadillo’s makes our first trek west of the plains.

Born under the Georgia sun and among the peach trees, raised in the grassy hills and buckeyes in Ohio, Armadillo’s now resides in Naperville, IL. Through the moves, the recipes have accumulated the sweetness and smokiness of their origins. At Armadillo’s, our mouthwatering BBQ begins with a precise smoke, proceeds with our secret special rub, and finishes with our unique sauces. 

We are incredibly excited to share our love of BBQ with everyone at the RCO!

Big Daddy's Sin City Barbecue
Las Vegas, NV

Big Daddy’s Sin City Barbecue was born in January 2005 at one of Las Vegas’ Convention Center well know shows, CES. Big Daddy’s Sin City Barbecue isn’t just the name of this specialty food and catering business; it is a way of life. One of the top BBQ spots at Las Vegas Convention center for the last 10 years. Jose Valencia, one of Nevada’s best-known pit-masters and the head of the great Big Daddy’s Sin City Barbecue Cooking Team, brings to this year’s Rib Cook Off his top Barbecue recipes and experience. Big Daddy’s Sin City Barbecue has been part of many shows, fairs, and festivals up and down Nevada and California. Including some of Northern Nevada’s favorite shows and festivals: Reno Rodeo, Reno Air Races, Reno Air Balloon Races, Night in The Country and Hot August Nights. Big Daddy’s Barbecue has gained a reputation far and wide for serving some of the best BBQ with a vibrant and lively setting. Stop by Big Daddy’s Barbecue booth and find out for yourself! We can’t wait to serve you!

Brothers BBQ
Reno, NV

Brothers Barbecue is a Reno locally owned, traditional, Texas Style Barbecue restaurant and cooking team. We’ve been in business over 15 years locally, with 25+ years of experience serving up award winning barbecue. Our family recipes come from generations of family living in Gonzales and San Antonio, TX., before moving West to the Silver State. We love Nevada and are proud to call it home for two generations. We participate in some of the largest events in Northern Nevada including the Reno Rodeo, The Reno Championship Air Races and we held the contract for the Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive from 2014-2019. We’ve competed in Barbecue for over 10 years, traveling as far as Kansas and Memphis to participate in KCBS competitions and to help a team during Memphis in May.

Git-R-Smoked
Sparks, NV

Best Sauce 2019

Third generation Pitmaster, Kevin Mcfarland, brings the excellent flavors of his award-winning BBQ to this year’s Best in the West Rib Cook Off with his Git-R-Smoked competition team. Git-R-Smoked has won numerous awards across the Western United States, including 2019 Best Sauce at the Nugget Rib Cook Off and a 1st place Best Ribs win at the 2019 Great San Juan Bautista Rib Competition. Kevin and his team have turned their passion for the best BBQ into a successful Northern Nevada BBQ catering company

Blazin’ Bronco BBQ
Port St. Lucie, FL

4th Place 2018

Dennis Carrino has 35 years in the food industry. His experiences include restaurant owner, chef and grill master of the National B.B.Q. Cooking Team Blazin Bronco. After 30 years in national competition, they have gained notoriety and a reputation for excellence. As a result, they are considered visionaries, and are consistently imitated, for their booth designs, marketing concepts, and BBQ food trailers. Blazin Bronco exemplifies the spirit of the National Rib Cook-offs and brings exciting new energy, recipes, and products to each event.

In 1982 Carrino was invited to participate in the 2nd Annual Ribs Cookoff in Cleveland and has held a high standard of taste and service ever since. In addition to barbecue ribs and chicken that are cooked fresh each day, their pulled pork sandwich surpasses the best! Cooked for 12 hours, smoked with apple and cherry wood in a genuine Southern Pride Oven, and then drizzled with fresh, homemade sauce. .… JUST DELICIOUS! No wonder their B.B.Q. has earned them a continuous spot on the Food Channel and many other BBQ appearances on national TV. And other products are also available at the Blazin Bronco booth, such as barbecue sauce, rib seasoning, hot sauce line, hats, shirts and aprons!

Porky Chicks BBQ
Fayetteville, AR

Mark Grant has 34 years of experience in food service. In 2006 he became the owner of Porky Chicks BBQ which was a dream come true. During that time, he started participating in BBQ competitions nationwide and developed a desire to compete and produce quality BBQ. For the past 12 years, he has competed in some of the largest U.S. and Canadian BBQ competitions earning an exceptional reputation in food quality and service. For this reason, he continues to receive invitations to some of the top food festivals in America and Canada.

With over 150 wins Across the US, Porky chicks BBQ has become known for their tender and mouthwatering ribs. He has won multiple awards for his ribs including 1st place in ribs at Canada’s largest rib fest and 1st place ribs 2 years in a row at the NFL draft party in Phoenix, Arizona. Besides, who knows a rib better than a razorback? But it isn’t just the ribs that bring customers to his booth. It’s the smell of slow cooked Brisket and pork, with his delicious homemade dry rub under a fire filled with hickory wood. This style of pit mastery has landed him on multiple news channels, newspapers, and given him a chance at some of the largest shows worldwide. He has traveled across the United States and he is now bringing his top line BBQ to the largest rib fest in the US, the Nugget Rib Cook Off.

Aussom Aussie
Pittsburgh, PA

5th Place 2018

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 2018 Nugget Rib Cook-Off!

History: Best Sauce 2015, 3rd 2004, 2nd 2002, 1st 2001, 5th 2000

Austin’s Texas Lightning BBQ
Burr Ridge, IL

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 fourth 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
Pleasant Hill, CA

People’s Choice 2018

2017 Winner of the People’s Choice Award, Back Forty Texas Barbecue has been invited to compete in the National Rib Cook-Off every year since 1991, where they have brought home several 1st Place awards for Ribs, Sauce and People’s Choice. Mike and Jeff opened Back Forty Roadhouse and Saloon, located in Pleasant Hill, CA, in 1978. They put together a national award-winning team and have been competing ever since.

History: 2017 People’s Choice, 4th 2015, People’s Choice 2014, 2012 People’s Choice, 1st 2011, 1998 People’s Choice, 1997 People’s Choice, 5th 1996, Best Sauce 1996, 4th 1995, Best Sauce 1995, 4th 1992

BJ’s Barbecue
Sparks, NV

Family owned and operated for over 30 years, BJ’s Nevada Barbecue Company is a Reno-Sparks locals’ favorite. BJ’s Victorian Avenue Restaurant serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner, including delicious BBQ pork ribs, beef brisket, chicken, shredded pork, Louisiana hot links, salads, burgers, wings and more!

History: 4th 2010, 2nd 2006, 5th 2005, 4th 2000, 1st 1998, 3rd 1994, Best Sauce 1992

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

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. They cook their meat North Carolina style, using a dry rub which contains a blend of 30 different spices. Their 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
Carson City, NV

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: 1998 5th Place, 1999 5th Place, 2001 People’s Choice, 2001 1st Place Best Sauce, 2003 People’s Choice, 2004 1st Place Best Sauce, 2009 1st Place Best Sauce, 2017 4th Place

Chicago BBQ Company
Burr Ridge, IL

Tom Ferguson, owner and BBQ expert, had a vision of creating Chicago’s ultimate BBQ experience, after retiring from owning a chain of Italian restaurants in suburban Chicagoland. In 1985, Tom started competing in national Rib Cook-Offs. Then in 1986, the Chicago BBQ Company won the title of The Best Ribs in the World at the Richmond World Invitational Rib Cook-Off and the awards started flowing in. With over 300 national and local awards, Tom is still going strong. He also has the bragging rights of winning over ten awards at the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook Off. 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

Checkered Pig BBQ
Martinsville, VA

2nd Place 2018

Tommy and Lisa Houston have owned and operated their family business Checkered Pig BBQ & Ribs for over 20 years in Martinsville, VA. They now have a second location in Danville, VA as well. They started on the competition circuit in 2000, competing mostly in KCBS sanctioned events and won over 250 awards for their ribs, chicken, pork and Brisket, as well as their sauce. Checkered Pig was also featured on Food Network for winning the Best in the West Rib Cook Off in 2004, putting their ribs on the map. They have traveled across country to the Best in the West Cook Off for over 15 years to bring award-winning ribs and southern hospitality.

History: Best Sauce 2016, 5th 2014, 5th 2012, 4th 2007, 1st 2004

Hole in the Wall BBQ
Eugene, OR

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
Borger, TX

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

Just North of Memphis
Minneapolis, MN

3rd Place 2018

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.

Montana Q Bar-B-Que House
Frenchtown, MT

Montana Q Barbque was established by Tom Moua and Mary Hang in Frenchtown, MT in 2009. Tom and Mary began barbecuing as a hobby. Backyard queuing for friends and families is where it all started.

With their tasteful homemade sides, sauces and rubs, they decided to compete in BBQ competitions just to see how well they’ll do. Their very first KCBS (Kansas City Barbecue Society) sanctioned competition was in Boulder City, NV, The Best DAM BBQ. At this event they took 2nd place ribs, 5th place pork, 8th place beef brisket, 11th place chicken, and with an overall of 3rd place. They started competing professionally throughout the Pacific Northwest in 2010. From there on, they have won multiple 1st places in ribs, brisket, pork categories, and 1st place sauce in 2011, 2012, & 2013. In 2014 they took Grand Champion at the Carnivores Classics, in Missoula MT. In 2015 Tom and Mary started competing at the Best in the Best West Nugget Rib Cook off in Sparks, NV. In 2016, they won 1st place people’s choice and 4th place ribs. In 2018 and 2019, they won 1st place Ribs, taking grand champion at the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook Off.

Rasta Joe’s BBQ Inc.
Rochester, IN

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
Elizabethtown, KY

Jim Clayton, Owner of Texas Outlaw BBQ, has been a top competitor at the Nugget’s Best in the West Rib Cook-Off for over 25 years. Texas Outlaw BBQ is always a crowd favorite. What distinguishes this rib team is not the rub, the sauce, or the smoke, but the method they use. This rib team prefers the old fashioned method of cooking their BBQ by opting for lump charcoal and select woods. Texas Outlaw is one of the most award winning BBQ teams in North America, touting more than 300 national titles. Jim has also had the privilege of appearing on the Food Network and was featured on the Best in the West Segment. They are the only five time winner of the second largest rib cook-off in North America, the Naperville Rib Fest. Jim welcomes you to stop by anytime for a chat or some barbecue advice!

History: 5th 2016, 5th 2015, 2nd 2013, 3rd 2008, 1st 2003, 1st 2002, 1st 2000, 2nd 1999, 2nd 1994