They’re just a bunch of neighbors in a trailer park who every year compete at the Eastpoint Rib Cook-off, but don’t ever win.
Except for last Saturday, when the Bayshore Porkers, the crew from the Bayshore Trailer Park, savored their first victory.
The crew, led by Jackie Rex and Ira Kelly, used a slow smoked style on their three slabs of ribs, shunning sauce and instead relying on a homemade dry rub to finish off the flavor.
Rex and Kelly, a part-time resident from Americus, Ga., were all smiles as they took home the trophy on behalf of a cooking team that also featured Jeff and Cheryl Allison, Donna Kelly and Eric Ammons. The team also raised more than $300 for the cause, second among the teams.
Finishing second in the cook-off was Joshua Pruett’s JP Punk team, which also relied on a dry rub, made from Old South rib rub, but added a light glaze of a combination of sauces.
Taking home third place was the Big Top team, whose booth also raised nearly $1,600 by itself to lead all 10 contestants.
Fire Chief George Pruett said Saturday’s 13th annual charity cook-off should gross more than $10,000 for the fire department, which will net several thousand dollars.
“If we can make $6,000 or $7,000 at a rib cook-off, we’re OK,” he said. “Our needs are more simple than most fire departments in our area. We paid off our newest truck a few months ago, and now we’re debt-free.”
While some contestants opted for sauce, many did not, opting like the Florida Seafood Festival’s Team Retsyo did, for the right blend of cayenne pepper or other spices. They took home the Best Rig or Display award.
“Low and slow cooking” was the secret for the Pogy Road Porkers, the team of former undersheriff Joel Norred and his wife Susan, who used a sweet and spicy tomato-based sauce on theirs.
The Kickin’ Ash team, which took home an Honorable Mention, was the handwork of Scott Payne and Sterling Kendrick.
For the Fan-tastic BBQ team of Michelle and Bert Hicks, and Ty Gillikin, “the secret’s in the box,” a decade old mysterious metal case, heated by charcoal and wood.
This was the first year for Team Freeport Florida, directed by Pamela and Terry Raffield, brother to the late Vince Raffield. Terry Raffield, a professional firefighter for 33 years, first with Bay County and now Freeport, seasoned his with Dale’s marinade, and some McCormick steak seasoning.
“We slow cook ‘em and keep ‘em steamed,” he said, taking a moment to thank the local organizers for their hospitality. “Everybody’s just been pleasant over here, sweet as they can be.”
For Loco Catering, the team headed by Lee Edmiston and Roy Ogles, “it’s all in the love of the ribs.” The team doesn’t use a sauce, but dusts theirs with garlic and pepper and “whatever we find in the kitchen at the time,” and cooks its entries three different ways.
“And at the end, we taste ‘em and see which ones we want to submit,” said Edmiston, whose team raised $289 for the fire department, third among the booths.
The Apalachicola Volunteer Fire Department was tight-lipped about their cooking method. “It’s a secret recipe, just something we threw together,” said Ashley Teat. “Slow and easy.”
Six of the eight judges - Paul and Gail Riegelmayer, Jim and Maxine Cobb, Fred Stanley, and Jimmy Lewis - were all Kansas City barbecue certified, and were assisted by Bob Heide and Vito Bell.
With a carnival for the kids, and an expanded silent auction, the entire event “went pretty well,” said chief Pruett. “We sold out of chicken and ribs, 850 pounds of ribs, close to 50 Boston butts and three cases of chicken halves. It went off without a flaw, not one hitch, no glitches. What a blessing.”