Friday, September 28, 2012

With Coats of BBQ Sauce, Coats of Arms

There's my fake newspaper headline for a story someone should write about the metastasizing signage that adorns vendors' tents at the country's barbecue competitions. I encountered these signs at the Heinz Field Rib Fest in Pittsburgh in late August, before a preseason Steelers game. I'd love to know who started this trend, though it seems like the banners simply grew to accommodate the veteran companies' proliferating awards ("'Best Rib in America' - Jamestown Rib Fest"). To compete for eyeballs, less accomplished pit masters were forced to pad their plumage with more generalized accolades ("Bone Lickin' Good") and solicitations ("Get Your Bone On").

When I googled this competition later I learned the results. In the category of Best Ribs, first place went to Big Boned BBQ Co., second went to Old Carolina, and Texas Pit came in third. Big Boned also won in the category of Best Sauce. I'm disappointed I couldn't try them all.

Click on any of these images to view them in their larger sizes on Flickr.

1265-big-boned

1275-rib-king

1226-texas-pit

1223-bad-wolf

1288-chicago-bbq

1279-king-of-ribs

1237-rib-bins

1235-cowboys

1230-smoking-joes

1218-smoke-shack

1214-armadillos

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Omaha

Here are a few pictures from my 24-hour visit to Omaha, the third city on my cross-country train trip. I'll double back and post a few from Pittsburgh and Chicago at a later date.

train-trip1953-lores

train-trip11052-lores

train-trip1881-lores