Chefs ready to share best rib recipes with Sydney
‘Every single one here is the best ribbers Canada has to offer’
The spirit of competition is expected to be as thick as the sauce that sticks to every rib on a rack at the inaugural Rotary Ribfest.
Competition will be cooking Friday through Sunday at the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion featuring five renowned chefs who have put decades of effort into recipes that are sure to make mouths water.
“The barbecue sauce is my recipe and I created it in 1999 and contains Jack Daniel’s and a Greek oregano and some more important ingredients from Europe,” said George Kefalidis, owner of Crabby’s BBQ Shack.
“I’m not going to tell you any other ingredients. It’s a secret.”
Kefalidis is a former restauranteur who created many sauces in his spare time before finally getting a sauce with “stick on it.” It’s now the only one he uses in competition.
“It seems like people love it. You can’t change the winning stuff.”
The other chefs in competition at the festival will bring recipes from places like Florida and Alabama along with their preferred method of preparation.
“Everybody else smokes their ribs,” said Kefalidis. “We do it on the old-fashioned Canadian barbecue.”
His method includes 24 hours of marinading and then slow cooking for six hours before the ribs reach the grill.
“That’s an old-fashioned technique and I’m the only one that uses it in North America but its a technique that has given us over 400 awards the last 16 years and we stay very strong in the competition.”
While the chefs very much want to be the people’s choice this weekend, Kefalidis said they often travel together and enjoy each other’s company.
“Everybody is very good and friends but as soon as it comes to the competition everybody takes it seriously. You are not going to find any bad ribs here.”
He said all “ribbers” in Sydney like their work and are comfortable giving customers the chance to vote for the best ribs.
“It’s up to the customer’s taste,” he said.
“Some sauces are hot, some are sweet, some more garlic and some more smoky. It’s up to the customer to decide but every single one here is the best ribbers Canada has to offer right here in Sydney.”
Besides ribs, the food festival will also feature chicken, brisket, corn bread, beans, icecream cakes and other items.
Live music, family activities and vendors are also part of the weekend.
All net proceeds from Ribfest will be donated to the Hospice Palliative Care Society of Cape Breton County.
“I’m looking forward to something called the vegetarian’s nightmare,” said Kevin Armstrong, a Rotarian and co-chair of Ribfest, about a combination of chicken and ribs and other dishes.
“I’ll be there all weekend. I expect I’ll try something from each ribber.”
In the midst of sampling southern barbecue, Armstrong will be among the 100 Rotarians from across Cape Breton, joined by Kinsmen and a host of volunteers working to make the inaugural event a success.
“We saw an opportunity that all four Rotary clubs in Cape Breton could participate in because hospice touches everybody,” he said. “It’s not something in Sydney, North Sydney, New Waterford or Glace Bay. It touches everybody.”
Activities begin Friday at 11 a.m. and conclude with awards on Sunday at 7 p.m.
Visit sydneyribfest.ca for more information.
George Kefalidis and Fredericky Kefalidis from Crabby’s BBQ Shack will be among the North American rib specialists sharing their creations at the inaugural Rotary Ribfest. The event opens Friday and continues through Sunday at the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion.