Things may get a little messy at this year’s 18th Annual Pork Rib-Off! Teams will be competing for the titles of best ribs, pulled pork and barbecue sauce in the state at the Ohio State Fair tomorrow, Tuesday, July 29 at 11:30 am in Central Park.

Competing restaurants will prepare both ribs and pulled pork, which will be judged by a panel of five for taste, tenderness and appearance. The Ohio Soybean Council will also be presenting a trophy for Best BBQ Sauce containing soybean oil.

The contestants in this year’s Rib-Off include: Hickory River Smokehouse (Tipp City), High on the Hog (Leesburg), Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em BBQ (Middleport), Tony’s Restaurant (Findlay), Team Baney-Q (Columbus), Pizza Mike (Westerville) and Wally’s Great American BBQ (Tiffin).

The star-studded judging panel will feature Joel Riley from 610 WTVN, David White of the Ohio Livestock Coalition (also offering expertise as a Kansas City Barbecue Society Certified Judge), a representative of the Ohio Soybean Council, a representative of the Ohio Pork Council and Ohio State Fair General Manager Virgil Strickler.

Each judge will do a blind judging for taste. They will give each sample a score from one to ten based on the three categories of taste, tenderness and appearance. The taste score will be doubled, and then the scores will be tallied out of a maximum of 40 points. After the celebrity judges have sampled the food, fairgoers will be able to enjoy free samples and cast their vote for People’s Choice Award.

Awards will be given for Grand Champion Ribs, Reserve Ribs, Grand Champion Pulled Pork, Reserve Pulled Pork, People’s Choice Award Winner and Best BBQ Sauce containing soy. Grand Champions in each category will receive $1,000, a trophy and a banner. Reserve Champions in each category will receive $500 and a trophy.

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