Kevin's BBQ Joints

Kevin's BBQ Joints Blog

Gnarly Head Rippin’ Ribs Tour 2011

When most people think of what they want to wash their BBQ down with you’ll hear beer or tea (sweet tea for the south) or possibly Cheerwine, but wine, that’s not the cliche go to beverage. If Gnarly Head Wines has it’s way you’ll soon learn that pairing your brisket with a nice Cabernet or your pulled pork with a crisp Chardonnay is really a match made in consumption heaven.

To promote their great selection of wines and their fondness for the BBQ community they created the Gnarly Head Rippin’ Ribs Tour (this is the 3rd year of the tour). Here are the details:

Gnarly Head is on a cross-country mission to find out. ‘Cue Masters from Seattle to Memphis are challenged to perfect their best pork rib recipe and showcase their smoking skills in the annual Gnarly Head Rippin’ Ribs Recipe Contest. Contestants can choose to compete in the regional BBQ cook-off of their choice (see schedule below), for a chance to win the ultimate grand prize of $5,000 in cash and a spot on the Gnarly BBQ Team at the Memphis in May World Championship of Barbecue in 2012.

Here’s how it works. Anyone who claims to have a ribs recipe worthy of praise—from home chef to self-proclaimed pitmaster—is encouraged to enter at From there, the list of recipes is chiseled down to Five (5) Semi-Finalists for Five (5) different cities along the Rippin’ Ribs Tour, where one winner from each city will advance to the final round.

The Five (5) Finalists from each tour stop will win an all-expense paid trip to the legendary American Royal Barbecue Competition in Kansas City (9/30/11 – 10/1/11). From this bastion of BBQ, one ultimate winner will be chosen to join the Gnarly BBQ Team and strut his/her BBQ stuff in the world’s most prestigious BBQ competition, Memphis in May, in 2012.

Contestants will be required to prepare their recipe in a live competition using a Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker, charcoal wood smoker. Each Semi-Finalist’s prepared recipe will be judged by a panel of qualified independent judges selected by Gnarly Head based on the following criteria:

ORIGINALITY (25%): Is the rib recipe one of a kind? Is there an artistic, creative or imaginative thought demonstrated in the recipe, cooking method and/or preparation?
TASTE APPEAL (25%): Are the ribs delicious with interesting and special flavor combinations? Were the ribs cooked with precision and to perfection following the recipe? Did the plating and presentation add to the appeal of the recipe? Was the recipe prepared and the ribs cooked with precision?
WINE PAIRING (25%): Does the wine complement the ribs? Does the wine enhance the ribs? Is the pairing creative or imaginative?
SIMPLICITY (25%): Were the ribs completed in the allotted time? Was there an excessive amount of “secret”, rare or hard to find ingredients? Could the ribs be easily replicated by following the recipe? Does it require complex techniques?

Here’s the tour schedule:
Memphis in May, Memphis TN
Contest timeframe: 3/1/11 – 4/10/11
Event: 5/13/11

Food Lion Speedstreet, Charlotte NC
Contest timeframe: 3/1/11 – 4/25/11
Event: 5/28/11

Ribfest, Chicago IL
Contest timeframe: 3/15/11 – 5/15/11
Event: 6/11/11

Safeway BBQ Battle – Washington DC
Contest timeframe: 4/1/11 – 5/30/11
Event: 6/25/11

Bite of Seattle, Seattle WA
Contest timeframe: 4/15/11 – 6/15/11
Event: 7/16/11

Sounds like a ton of fun and since most of you out there have amazing ribs recipes, you should definitely enter here. I’ll be helping Gnarly Head keep everyone updated as the Tour moves forward and check back here for some cool meet (meat) and greets where I pair Gnarly Head with some of the best BBQ Los Angeles has to offer.

Here’s some additional information about Gnarly Head:

Gnarly Head is crafted by DFV Wines, a family-owned winery with 87 years of experience in California winemaking and winegrowing. Gnarly Head was launched in 2005 and takes its name from the free standing “head trained” vines found in older California vineyards that provide grapes for the flagship Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel. These 35 – 80 year old vines have twisted trunks and branches that spread out in all directions sprouting leaves like unruly umbrellas – truly gnarly heads. The Gnarly Head portfolio includes Old Vine Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir.

Visit Gnarly Head here
See them on facebook here
Follow them on twitter here
See the official contest rules here

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