Sunday, June 24, 2018

Eating up the Hill: Sparks Street Ribfest 2018 -- So many ribs

I came. I ate lots of ribs. I don't want to see more ribs until next June. This is the story of my week at the Sparks Street Ribfest, the annual porkapolooza that happens right outside my office window every year.

Camp 31 -- Wednesday

I started off this year's ribfest with the vendor that best met two criteria: a combination of proximity to my front door with longest line -- everyone knows longest line equals best ribs. So my first meal was at Camp 31.

In my opening day excitement, I foolishly over-ordered and got a full rack. Sooo many ribs. Too many ribs. The excess went into the office fridge for breakfast the next morning. They were cooked well, but the sauce was just average.

HaWGs Gone Wild -- Thursday

On the advice of a ribfest-organizing friend and therefore expert in the field of ribology, my second day lunch took me west of Bank Street to visit HaWGs Gone Wild. The line-up was suitably long, although whether that was based on quality or ISED and Bank of Canada employees that didn't want to cross the street, I don't know.

I ordered the two meat combo -- ribs and sausage -- and apologies to my ribologist friend, but I was disappointed. Let me dispatch the sausage first -- a dried out husk with no discernible flavour that should not have been served to anyone. The ribs were a bit chewy, and the sauce had an element I couldn't quite place -- maybe citrusy? -- that I wasn't a fan of.

Silver Bullet - Friday

I went back to my own side of Bank Street Friday to Silver Bullet, of which I had positive memories from past years, and ordered a half rack with slaw -- some veggies called for as I felt I was becoming half-rib. It was a lot of slaw for $4 -- I could have used half as much for $2 and they could have maintained their margins.

The ribs were good. Meaty, cooked well, with a sauce with a hint of pepper, which I liked. Could have used a stronger hint, but still, a tasty sauce and meal.

A day of rest - Saturday

Sleeping it off.

Billy Bones - Sunday

For the first time, I made a weekend visit to Ribfest when a friend and his daughter who hadn't been able to get some ribs during the week invited me to walk down. I had good memories of Billy Bones from past years, so I decided to go there for a half rack and slaw.

Here the slaw was only $2 for maybe half of what I got at Silver Bullet, so good deal there. The ribs were cooked fine, and served saucier off the grill than other places, but I again found the sauce to be rather bland. No discernible unique flavour or elements. They were a bit more fall off the bone than other places I had this week though.

My verdict:

The silver bullet may be shitty beer (I'm told; I don't drink beer myself) but Silver Bullet BBQ is my choice for their peppery sauce.

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