Ribfest recipes: What’s the secret to perfection?

ESCANABA – A beautiful day greeted those who came out to enjoy a variety of barbecue ribs in downtown Escanaba on Friday. Ribfest has been taking place the past few years prior to the annual Krusin’ Klassic Fun Run down main street.

Five chefs prepared and served the ribs along Ludington Street. Tickets were sold for customers to try the different recipes from five vendors. At the end of their tastings, customers voted on their favorite barbecue rib.

While serving customers, chefs and grill cooks revealed some of their secrets on what makes their ribs special.

“Our’s is pretty much in the sauce,” said Mark Cowman, a cook from Bobaloon’s. He explained the sauce contains a blackberry stone (pitted) fruit.

“We went a different route and went non-traditional,” Cowman commented. “People seem to enjoy it.”

John Shepich, chef at Applewood Eatery, said his ribs turned out “really good.” He explained to customers the racks were marinated on Tuesday, slow-cooked under applewood Thursday, and served with sauce on Friday.

Crispigna’s Restaurant chef Andy Crispigna said his ribs are special because of the meat used.

“For us, it’s the kind of ribs we buy. They’re one of the most expensive you can buy,” he said. “We roast them low and slow in the oven and finish them on the grill. The key is low and slow.”

Crispigna added the ribs have “a normal spice mixture, a straight up barbecue sauce, nothing crazy.”

Ludington Grill chef Jason Rudden said the key to making good ribs is in the sauce, adding his ribs are topped with a unique sweet sauce.

“Everything’s homemade. It’s a sweet recipe from start to finish,” he explained, revealing a few ingredients including cinnamon and apricot.

Chef Nick Giguere from Hereford and Hops said the recipe for making good ribs is how they’re cooked, saying his ribs are authentically smoked with fruit tree wood.

Results of the customers choice for best ribs were unavailable at press time and will be announced on Monday.

– – –

Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, jlancour@dailypress.net