A few tweaks to the Rib Burnoff and Barbecue Fest means guests will get more variety for their money.
The Kiwanis Club of Hilton Head Island's 15th annual festival of the Lowcountry's best ribs and barbecue will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Coastal Discovery Museum.
Barbecue lovers get in for a flat rate and receive tickets to exchange for samples. This year, guests will be given more tickets on arrival. The move allows patrons to sample more of the 12 local restaurants' and amateur cooks' offerings for the same price as year's past.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO
On a quest to find the best barbecue on Hilton Head? You be the judge Saturday. The event's 12 participants are some of the island's best pros and amateurs. The Smokehouse, One Hot Mama's and Montana's will mix it up with amateurs such as Hogs in Heat. The total number of vendors are down this year, likely because of the ailing economy, co-chairman Dick Wiles said.
Attendees get to vote on their favorite barbecuer in the People's Choice vote in the professional and amateur categories. A panel of judges does the same.
If you're not one to lick your sauce-stained fingers, don't sweat it. Beer, wine, soda, hot dogs and ice cream will also be available for purchase. The Groovetones will play. A supervised kids' zone will give the youngsters something to do while the adults eat.
The change in ticketing was made in response to feedback from participants wanting more variety, Wiles said. Previously, visitors got enough tickets for three hearty helpings. With the chance for more samples, each individual plate of ribs or barbecue will be smaller. If that's not enough, additional tickets are available for purchase.
Organizers also tweaked the judging process. A team of certified judges from the S.C. Barbeque Association will lead the panel that gets to sample each vendor's wares. The association trains its members in the proper ways of judging barbecue. Aside from the formal judges, the panel consists of elected officials, members of the media and Kiwanians.
About 1,000 people are expected to attend the festival, and whether they know it or not, they're not just there for the barbecue. The festival raises about $8,000 for 20 nonprofit organizations, such as The Children's Center, The Deep Well Project, Volunteers in Medicine and Programs for Exceptional People.