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Monday, May 12th, 2008

Celina barbecue team winners of first Ribfest will try to smoke the competition again

By Janie Southard
Celina's D&B Smokin' BBQ team of two swept the field in first-place trophies at last year's first Mercer County Ribfest.
David Green and Butch Suchland (the D and the B) will be in the hunt again for the best rack of ribs at the second annual Ribfest on Saturday at the Mercer Count Fairgrounds.
"Last year was the first contest we've ever entered and when we were setting up, we saw these big rigs coming in - the ones that travel the barbecue circuit ... We really felt out of place, but we just cooked the ribs like we always do," Green told the Daily Standard last week at Green's Quality Meat Service.
Green and his brother-in-law (Suchland) went on to win first place in every category and took home some impressive trophies that are now displayed in the butcher shop.
Green, a 1987 Celina High School grad, said he's always enjoyed cooking and has been whipping up barbecue for more than 15 years for family and friends. It was at a family gathering were he and his brother-in-law were barbecuing that they decided to have a go at hiring themselves out. They now cater, along with selling the ribs at the meat market.
"The sauce is everything" as the saying goes and Green agrees. He and Suchland began by "playing around" with various combinations.
"We measure everything in the sauce digitally on USDA-approved scales," he said, adding they use catsup, vinegar, molasses and ... wait a minute, the rest is a secret but fall under the heading "other spices."
"It was a lot of trial and error, but we got it the way we wanted in a few tries. I'll tell you a key ingredient is white pepper. It really brings out the bloom in food," said Green, who confessed barbecue is a passion with him.
Another key is grilling the meat s-l-o-w-l-y over hickory, cherry, apple and maple wood. "That gives the flavor such a difference," he added.
Where does the process begin - with boiling the ribs?
"NO," Green said emphatically with eyebrows raised in shock. "Never boil. No."
D&B Smokin' BBQ duo begin a smoker of ribs or pork for pulled pork at 265 degrees. The time depends on how much product they're cooking, which is usually a full load of 75 slabs of baby back ribs. They prepare the ribs about four times a week and likely turn out a weekly batch of 400 pounds of pulled pork.
The guys have been invited to participate in the J-Big Ribfest in Lima in July (at the Allen County Fairgrounds), which Green considers one of the bigger rib competitions in the area. "Of course, we'll be at the Mercer County Ribfest on Saturday," he said.
So far, they use only one sauce and one rub, but there may well be something new in the near future.
"We're working aggressively to find a couple new sauces - a little different taste with more heat but with a lot of flavor. I don't like anything so hot it ruins the palate," he said.
Local fairground gates open at 11 a.m. Saturday for the second annual Ribfest.

If you go:
What: Ribfest
When: Saturday, 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
Where: Mercer County Fairgrounds, Celina.
Admission: $3 per person, which includes live entertainment and balloting in the rib cook-off contest.
Entertainment: Begins at 2 p.m. with Sand Walker. Other bands playing are Impulse at 4 p.m., Borrowed Time at 6 p.m. and Red Ball Jets at 8 p.m.
Other events: Classic car cruise-in, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; pleasure horse show, 11 a.m.; 5K run, noon; rib eating contest between local fire departments and the greased-pig chase are scheduled between band performances (5:30-8 p.m.) in the grandstand area. A boat show also will be held both Saturday and Sunday.
Other details: No carry-in coolers allowed; there will be a beer stand. Camping available.
For more info: www.mercercountyohiofair.com
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