Anyone that knows me will also know that I think the world of a local BBQ Team here in Oshawa that is tearing up the Ontario RibFest circuit.
Horn Dawgs Smokin BBQ started working shows in 2009 half way through the season by getting a phone call from the organizers of the Toronto Ribfest one week prior to opening saying that one of the Ribbers had backed out last minute which made an opening for Horn Dawgs. Having only a few days to prepare for a show that sees literately 100,000 people enter the park in a 4 day week-end was an emotional time no doubt but through it all serving over 1000 racks of Ribs, Rob earned the honour of winning 1st place for sauce at the event!
Since then Horn Dawgs Smokin BBQ has gained a reputation of being known for their sauce by winning awards fro their sauce at most of the RibFest shows ever since.
For those of you not familiar with how RibFests work in Canada I will give you a rough idea but compared to BBQ Comps in the States they are vastly different.
A lot of my readers will know about KCBS types of BBQ Competitions where many teams will compete for cash prizes, awards and Grand Championships by cooking in 4 categories…. Ribs, Chicken, Pork and Brisket and the competitors cook in small quantities just for the judges and perhaps at some events also do some vending, most of these BBQ comps start late on a Friday afternoon ending with the judging at around 7pm on Saturday night. A good example of this is the Lakeland, Florida PigFest in Late January which I attended in 2011 and will welcome me again later this month for another visit.
Signage is done a little different in the KCBS style events in the states than at a RibFest in Canada as most teams have a few banners but they are lower to the ground and in Canada the banners are used to really grab the attention of the consumers.
Also pro teams that have sponsors will also fly their colours during their cooks.
But RibFests here in Ontario Canada are quite different. Unlike the comps in the US that are sanctioned by a governing body such as the KCBS (Kansas City BBQ Society) or FBA (Florida BBQ Association) and other similar outfits, most Ribfests are put on by local charitable groups such as The Rotary Club.
Depending on the size of the town and expected crowds the number of Ribbers are limited , any where from 5 Ribbers at the smaller shows and up to 19 teams at Canada’s Largest RibFest which is held in Burlington, Ontario which is accepted as the biggest RibFest in Canada and if you win awards there you are known to be the best in Canada.
Having crowds that can number over 100,000 visitors during a weekend means that the Ribbers are kept very busy vending for the crowds smoking and selling over 1000 racks in the process. not to mention also smoking a couple of hundred Pork Butts for delicious pulled Pork Pork sandwiches along with Chicken as well. Some Ribbers will also vend Beef Ribs and Brisket sandwiches. Sides are normally Beans and Slaw.
While there is judging it is done with a combination of a panel of celebrity judges and also the visitors determine the Peoples Choice Awards.
There are no cash prizes only the trophies and the ability to have bragging rights which is very important as award winners do attract more crowds at the shows following.
As I mentioned earlier Horn Dawgs have been winning all kinds of awards most of which are for their BBQ Sauce which mid season 2011 has begun retail production and here in the Oshawa area has really been flying off the shelves. Rob has had no problem getting Butcher shops and other retail outlets to add the Horn Dawgs BBQ Sauce to their product shelves.
Remember I had told you that the Burlington RibFest was the Best in Canada? well in the 3 years that Horn Dawgs were in the Burlington RibFest with 19 teams competing the Horn Dawgs won a Second Place in Ribs, a Second Place in Sauce and in 2010 they took 1st in Sauce which was the feather in their cap.
The week after Burlington is the last Ribfest of the year for Horn Dawgs in their home town of Oshawa, Ontario and in 2011 They won the RibFest equivalent of a Grand Championship taking 1st place in both Ribs and Sauce.
Also in 2011 there was a pro BBQ team in the South USA that was a middle ranked team that even though they had great BBQ they were not able to break through and win and competitions, so to change it up they contacted Horn Dawgs after hearing how popular their sauce was and Rob sent a gallon of sauce down to that team (I am not divulging the name of the team since it was not made public) But at the teams State Championship they won the GC using Horn Dawgs Smokin BBQ Sauce!
But by now your probably thinking yeah Fred but what do you think about the sauce….
I have been going to RibFests since 2008 and I met the Horn Dawgs in 2010 and ever since I honestly have to say that Horn Dawgs is my personal favourite BBQ Sauce. I have tried all the RibFest Ribbers sauces at one time or another and some are very very good no doubt and I also have tried some sauces from other parts of North America as well but the flavour profile from the Horn Dawgs is perfect for me.
And my friends I must add too, Good friends Bob and Susan Sedlak use it as their go to sauce and even though I visit them and bring with me a new sauce that I am reviewing they always go back to Horn Dawgs, which they buy at Kyle Meats in Bowmanville.
How would I describe the sauce????
Well I would say it is a 50/50 split of a tomato based sauce and a vinegar based sauce that is a nice blend of sweetness but with a bold spice to it, not hot…
Just very flavourful I have had it on Ribs which caramelizes very well on the Grill. and it is wonderful on chicken too, but my personal favourite is when used on Pulled Pork
Whether you get served to you at Ribfest or use it on your own Pulled Pork made at home I love it on a bun sauced up and topped with some home made coleslaw!!!!
A couple of other foods that I tried the Horn Dawgs Smokin BBQ Sauce on, YUM!
A great friend of mine in Florida, Chad Ward who is the Pitmaster for Whiskey Bent BBQ has a informative weekly Internet Radio show and Chad reviewed the Horn Dawgs BBQ Sauce back on September 20th 2011 <<<—— Click to Listen (Horn Dawgs review starts at 72 minute mark)
To follow that up, on December 27th Rob was a guest on the Whiskey Bent BBQ “In the Pit” Radio show on Blog talk radio and he talked about the sauce with Chad Ward and the boys also talked about what Canadian RibFests are like…. great 45 minute interview.
Chad’s show is number one in ratings on Blog Talk Radio in the food category. You can listen to the December 27th show here…
Look for more reviews of Horn Dawgs Smokin BBQ Sauce in the coming weeks as I am bringing a case of sauce with me down south and will be sharing it with my blogging friends that I will be meeting up with. (when they become available I will link them here)