Last updated: August 24. 2013 12:50AM - 36 Views

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LIMA — A little rain didn’t make the people stay away.

A damp, dreary start did little to dampen the mood at the second day of the 19th annual Rays Rib Cook-Off. By late afternoon and into the early evening, the midway at the Allen County Fairgrounds was abuzz with activity as attendees sought out this year’s best ribs.

“It has to be tender. The meat has to have good flavor and the sauce does too,” Mitch Stratton, of Lima, said. “They’re all good. I wouldn’t refuse to eat any of them.”

Stratton and his wife, Dawn, had their favorite — Red Pig Inn, of Ottawa and Findlay.

The local company fared well according to the judges, too. The Red Pig Inn placed second, behind only Sgt. Oink’s Pit Barbeque, of Tiffin, for best ribs.

“It’s a really neat atmosphere. People who don’t come out here are missing a really neat event,” said Dick Schnipke, owner of the Red Pig Inn. “You get to see old friends, and we become friends with the other vendors. The camaraderie is just a great thing. It’s a good time.”

The Red Pig Inn travels to a little more than a half dozen similar events each summer. The key to heading out and trying to bring home another trophy is all in the recipe, Schnipke said.

“It’s definitely slow-cooking. They’ve got to be tender and falling off the bone,” Schnipke said. “You have to have a great sauce. You need just a hint of smoke in them and a sweet, tangy sauce that seems to be a winner.”

Fair manager and event coordinator Jay Begg said attendance was down for this year’s event. Despite free parking and admission, the event is like a night out and is something some are cutting back on, he said.

“We can’t seem to catch two good days of weather. This evening’s nice,” Begg said. “I guess all things considered, weather and economy, we’re doing OK.”

The weather had been a concern for Schnipke. Cook-off attendees, however, went through 300 to 400 pounds of ribs despite the conditions early in the day.



Best ribs

Sgt. Oink’s Pit Barbecue, Tiffin

Red Pig Inn, Ottawa and Findlay

Jr.’s Wood Fired BBQ, Findlay


Best sauce

1.   Red Pig Inn, Ottawa and Findlay


People’s choice

1. Red Pig Inn, Ottawa and Findlay

“We’ll probably run out before the day’s over,” he said. “It’s better than the alternative.”

Rain fails to spoil annual rib cook-off

Rain fails to spoil annual rib cook-off

Rain fails to spoil annual rib cook-off
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