Grilling and Chilling in Zanesville

by Emily Baird on September 4, 2010 at 8:56 am

  There’s an unmistakable aroma flowing through the streets of downtown Zanesville.

The Solid Gold Ribfest, which wraps up midnight Sunday, has attracted 17 vendors. Some are from Zanesville and the Columbus area, but others came as far as Florida.

"The warm feeling we get down here in Zanesville. Everybody is so friendly. They just come by and talk to you, come back year after year, and they like ribs, " says vendor Columbus Russell.

But what makes a rib so tasty, and why do people continue to invest in the smoked product?

"Pound for pound, it’s probably one of the most expensive meats there are. Mostly the bone is the weight, but it’s so tender and juicy when it’s cooked right, " says Russell.

"Low and slow. We cook 200 degrees, and we cook it for a while, " says vendor Lionel Cunningham.

Russell and Cunningham say the slow cooking process helps the meat stay tender by locking in all the juices.

Ribfest has a competition each year to determine who has the best ribs. The panel of three judges reached a final decision Saturday night, putting Florida Skin & Bones in third place, Bigg Fam’s in second place, and Family Affair as the winner. It also had the first-ever people’s choice award, which went to Grillin’ and Chillin’.