One Hot Mama's and Hog Heaven were crowned best ribs and pulled pork on Hilton Head Saturday at the 19th annual Rib Burnoff and Barbecue Fest at Honey Horn Plantation.
Both cooking teams received People's Choice awards, adding their plaques to stacks of similar accolades on display from past Rib Burnoffs.
"It's such a great event; it's part of our calendar every year, forever," One Hot Mama's owner and chef Orchid Paulmeier said post-win.
Paulmeier had a team of five people working with her to get ribs and pulled pork to an ever-present long line on Saturday.
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Rogers Clifford of Hilton Head said Hog Heaven, a charity team from St. Luke's Church, was just a bunch of non-chefs having fun.
Hog Heaven has participated in the Rib Burnoff for the past 14 years, Clifford said, and usually camps out all night before the event to man the smoker, playing poker into the early morning hours.
"We call it 'smoker poker,'" Clifford said.
The Kiwanis Club of Hilton Head Island holds the Rib Burnoff and Barbecue Fest to raise money for local children's charities.
President Jerry Glass said the club is currently fundraising to build a special-needs playground in Chaplin Park, which would be the first of its kind in the area.
After sampling the various ribs and 'cues, festivalgoers could vote for their favorites.
Kevin Zupancic of Cleveland, Ohio, said he cast his ballot for Hog Heaven for best ribs and Choo Choo BBQ Express for best barbecue.
"The true test of good barbecue, in my mind, is how it tastes before you put any sauce on it," he said. "And both of those places had phenomenal meat without any sauce, even though both of their sauces are very good."
Zupancic and his wife visit Hilton Head every year during this week of May, and the Rib Burnoff is always one of the first things they do, he said.
Carol Billman of Hilton Head voted for Bullies BBQ for best barbecue and One Hot Mama's for ribs, "because, frankly, they're delicious," she said.
"Ditto that for me," said her friend Patti Gilchrist, also of Hilton Head.
Gilchrist added she often will get Bullies BBQ when she has company over.
"I go buy their meat and put it in my crock pot with all their sauces," she said, "and I pretend it's mine."
Follow reporter Erin Shaw at twitter.com/IPBG_ErinShaw.