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Prairie Pub wins RIBFEST

Mitchell Urrutia, 6, eats a rib from RIBFEST July 15 during Prairie Pioneer Days in Morris. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times.1 / 5
RIBFEST judge Natasha Mortenson bites into a rib July 15 during Prairie Pioneer Days in Morris. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times2 / 5
Brent Staton of the Prairie Pub team from Clontarf serves ribs during RIBFEST July 15 at Prairie Pioneer Days in Morris. The team won first place and the People's Choice Award. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times.3 / 5
The Little Bob's Smoken Ribs and Peppers team prepares ribs for serving July 15 during RIBFEST at Prairie Pioneer Days. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times4 / 5
Tony Kennedy, left, and Scott Staton prepare ribs before cooking July 15 at RIBFEST at Prairie Pioneer Days in Morris. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times5 / 5

The public and the judges agreed. The best ribs at the RIBFEST July 15 during Prairie Pioneer Days were the ribs from the Prairie Pub team from Clontarf. The contest is sponsored by Superior Industries of Morris.

Second place was earned by newcomer Little Bob's Smoken Ribs and Peppers of Wheaton.

Praire Pub has a winning recipe, Tom Staton said the morning of the competition. "We combine a couple of different seasonings," Staton said. "It's won us a couple of first places and a couple of second places. We've done good with it so we will stick with it."

The team cooks its ribs in a wood pellet grill. The grill is trustworthy when it comes to cooking, the team said.

"It's a babysitter," Johnny Schmitz said of the grill.

"You don't have to babysit it," Staton said. The ribs will cook without a need to constantly monitor the cooker.

The team planned to smoke its ribs for about six hours and then, "crank it up," Staton said.

Nearby, the team of Little Bob's was preparing its ribs. Team captain Bob DeHaan said he's never participated in a ribs competition before.

He does, however, have an annual July 4 picnic at his home which features ribs.

DeHaan uses charcoal and wood in his cooker.

When it came to pick a team name, the choice was obvious, Mike LaFrancis said. All members are very slim and trim, LaFrancis said as a joke.

LaFrancis was confident the morning of the competition. "We're the best. And we're humble," he said with a smile.

The teams cooked throughout the day until the ribs were ready for the judges and the public.

The ribs "we're just delicious," said John Dosdall.

"They're excellent," Daron Erickson said.

But only one team could be the winner and that was Prairie Pub.

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