Gnarly Head Seeks Best Pork Ribs

Barbecue masters are challenged to cook their best pork rib recipe in the annual Gnarly Head Rippin’ Ribs Recipe Contest run by Gnarly Head winery in Napa, California.

Contestants can choose to compete in the regional BBQ cook-off of their choice (these are held in Memphis, Tennessee; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; and Seattle) for a chance to win the grand prize of $5,000 in cash and a spot on the grill-obsessed Gnarly BBQ Team at the Memphis in May World Championship of Barbecue in 2012.

Amateurs and professionals can enter their recipe at From there, the list of recipes is chiseled down to five semi-finalists for five different cities along the Rippin’ Ribs Tour, where one winner from each city will advance to the final round.

The five finalists from each tour stop will win an all-expense paid trip to the legendary American Royal Barbecue Competition in Kansas City (September 30 through October 1). Here, one 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.

“This is not your father’s BBQ,” says Chris Indelicato, president of Gnarly Head. “There’s nothing wrong with rib eye steak and a cold beer, but the time has come to shake things up, to take a fresh, gnarly perspective on this iconic summer ritual.”

Contestants will be required to prepare their recipe in a live competition using a Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker, a 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? Were 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?

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