Monday, September 27, 2010

BBQ on the River

Each year Paducah hosts a 3-day festival of everything BBQ at the end of September - this year was the 16th ever.  In the weeks leading up to BBQ I had been told by coworkers what to expect: lots of food, limited parking, closed down streets, music and waves of people coming to use our bathrooms.  They were right of course, not that I doubted.  My office window looks out onto 2nd street and I watched Monday - Wednesday as the open parking lots downtown started to fill up with tents, smokers, piles of wood on trailer skids and booth fronts for the vendors.  Each booth raises money for a local charity and they raise around $500,000.  About 60 tons of chicken & pork are cooked during the event and it was really hard to work when our lobby started to smell like BBQ & wood smoke due to all the people coming in & out.  mmmmmm....

such a winning combo!
On top of BBQ on the River, we had a workshop running over the weekend and a Saturday event happening at work so there was lots to prepare for and plenty of excitement in store for the end of the week.  Thursday morning as I stepped out to my car ready to head into work, I inhaled and the early morning air carried a hint of wood-fired BBQ as the vendors prepared for the 11am start of the festival.

grilled shrimp
fried Oreos - so tasty!
In order to experience the fullness of the next three days, I headed out to the vendors for both lunch and dinner!  People at work were talking about their favorite places to get bbq and what I should try in my first go-round of BBQ.  I tried a good variety of food items over the 3 days and did a decent job of getting the most out of this delicious festival!

cheesecake on a stick!

Along with the awesome food, each afternoon & evening local bands played on the main stage.  Several that I heard were really good - mostly playing some classics from the 60s & 70s though there were some local/country-esque bands as well.  I explored Thursday night and window shopped along all the vendors - most sold jewelry or kid items.  That was the best plan because Friday & Saturday there were so many people that it was hard to walk and look at the booths without running into someone. By checking it out the first night, I had the chance to locate the booths I wanted to try food from and get a good look at the event.  There were some other entertainments ongoing - tug boat tours and riverfront activities.
Ohio river fish tank on wheels
I tried several BBQ sammiches from different booths of course! I did try one from the 2009 Grand Champs, and the pork was really tender and delicious.  They won again this year - making it 4 years in a row now so I'm proud to say I had a winning sammich!  I also tried the Cajun Corn as I'd been told it was wonderful.  It had just enough kick to it and was really tasty.  I think my favorite was the BBQ nachos.  It probably could have fed at least two people, but I ate it all myself anyways.  An interesting combination of the nacho cheese and BBQ sauce but it worked very well and they were super tasty!  Everything was wonderful and delicious and I certainly enjoyed this Paducah tradition!  :)

BBQ nachos - amazing!

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