By Cynthia Schuster Eakin
The best of Bay’s amateur grillers vied for the title of People’s Choice barbecue at the second annual Rib Rockin’ Raffle to benefit the Bay Village Skate and Bike Park.
The May 28 event at the Bay Lodge drew a hungry crowd of 150 guests eager to try a sample and cast their vote for their favorite barbecued ribs. Competing teams included: Two Men and a Pig, Clete’s Good Neighbor Ribs, Smokin’ Slovaks, Hog Wild West Side Roasters, Sammon Cinco Brothers, East Russell Ribs, BMBC Smokers, Almost Summer, Wawa Ribs, Slab’M Seasoning and Savannah Bar and Grillers. A variety of beers provided by Fat Head’s Brewery and Buckeye Brewing Company were on tap to accompany the barbecue. In addition to the popular vote, the ribs were also judged in a blind competition for appearance, taste and tenderness by a panel consisting of Bay Middle School art teacher Greg Leininger, eighth grade teacher Matt Kralik and West Life food writer Cynthia Schuster Eakin.
The Smokin’ Slovaks won first prize and $500 in this year’s competition. Hog Wild West Side Roasters came in second to win $250, followed by East Side Russell Ribs taking a $100 award.
Everyone who attended was entered into a reverse raffle drawing. Benefit goers also had an opportunity to bid on the silent auction for prizes such as Cleveland Indians tickets, restaurant gift certificates, Minotti’s and Great Lakes Brewing Company gift baskets and a women’s Globe bicycle. Music was provided by the band Hipnotic Dog.
Proceeds from the rib cook-off will be used to maintain the Bay Skate and Bike Park.