POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2013:
Festival brings best rib roasters from around the nation
Last month, the city of Tulsa celebrated the masters of the grill with the Oklahoma Championship Steak Cookoff.
Fifty teams from all around came together on a beautiful Saturday and grilled delicious steaks not only for cash prizes and bragging rights over the other grillers, but for a huge crowd as they served the largest dinner in the city.
Downtown Tulsa will be the host of another cooking festival starting Thursday and running through Sunday, but this time it's a different meat they have a hankering for this time around.
All weekend, starting Thursday at 11am, Rib Crib, SMG Events, and the BOK Center will host the Fifth Annual Rock-N-Rib Festival featuring live entertainment, family fun, and the sweet smell and taste of ribs right out front of the BOK Center on E. 3rd Street and S. Denver Avenue.
"We are thrilled to bring back Rock 'n Rib festival this year," said SMG General Manager John Bolton. "This is an event that people get really excited about and we are proud to celebrate five years of bringing this free event to the public."
The four-day food extravaganza will run from 11am to midnight on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with the event finishing off the weekend from 11am-3pm on Sunday, giving everyone a chance to enjoy some ribs while watching some football throughout the day.
The main event will be the ribs, but the other half of the festival, the rock, will be in full effect with numerous live bands and performers throughout the first three days of the festival on the ONEOK outdoor stage.
Tulsa native Rebecca Ungerman kicks things off at 5pm Thursday, leading to a weekend of music from acts as varied as Starr Fisher and Earl Clark Tribute, Stephen Speaks -- Rockwell Ryan Ripperger's project -- Paul Benjamin Band, Adley Stump, and Jay Coop Music, to name but a few. Music starts at 5pm on Thursdays and Friday; 11:30am on Saturday and Sunday.
While the artists will keep the attendees entertained, the ribs and pitmasters will be the reason they made the trip downtown.
Six teams from around the country will showcase their love for cooking ribs, and will certainly give the crowd quite the show with different techniques in cooking the meat and sportsmanship with trophies, banners, and other accolades out for the people to see along with the cooked ribs, beef, and chicken that will be available.
Reigning Rock 'n Rib champions Porky 'n Beans return to defend their title. The Florida natives arrive in their $30,000 custom-built dually and leave bellies full of award-winning barbeque in their wake. Members of the National Award Winning Rib Cookers of America since 1983, they travel between 10,000 and 15,000 miles a year to compete.
Standing in the Beans' way of being back-to-back champions will be Big Boned BBQ (Tennessee), Chicago BBQ Company, Johnson's BBQ (Virginia), Porky Chicks BBQ (Arkansas), and Desparado's BBQ and Rib Co. (Ohio), whose "Lick My Ribs" stickers are donned by thousands of loyal rib fans.
Each team has been featured on television networks such as the Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, and Food Network to promote their works with ribs, secret recipes, and their team's successes in competition work over the years.
They'll be sharing those secrets of their success on the Curtis Culinary Stage, while giving live demonstrations along with local restaurant chefs.
When the sun goes down and people are looking to unwind from a long day at work or just looking to have a good time, the Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort Saloon makes its return to the festival. The 21-and-over party zone will be located on the box office plaza near Frisco Avenue. For those too young or just uninterested in the booze, there are snow cones, grilled corn, funnel cake, popcorn, cotton candy, corn dogs, smoothies, fresh squeezed lemonade, and much more or sale at the numerous concessions.
Festival organizers are always looking to increase the shindig's appeal, so this year, they've added the Rib Run 5k and Fun Run, as well as Chalkfest, wherein sidewalk chalk artists will spend the day Saturday bringing colorful art and designs to the streets and sidewalks of the Deco District.
So, you know, you can walk off some of those calories by strolling over to E. 5th Street and S. Boston and that area to see some sweet chalk art and hang out for a bit. Then, what the hell, head back for more meat.
The Rib Run 5k and Fun Run starts at 7pm on Friday, and will be followed by a fireworks show. Because Tulsa loves it some fireworks. Really. Have you noticed?
The event is free to the public and has a bit of everything for the 40,000-plus expected attendees. And don't worry about the possibility of missing a big game this weekend as they will have a GoVision Jumbotron to showcase the weekend's best in college or professional football.
September is packed with festivals -- music festivals, food festivals, cultural festivals, throwing-heavy-things festivals -- but the Fifth Annual Rock-N-Rib Festival will probably be the most delicious one. So head downtown for one or four days of meat.
I mean, a guy's got to eat.
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