August 2, 2023

Annual Competition Draws Thousands to Sample, Judge Pork Dishes

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Barbecue fans from across Ohio and beyond gathered on Aug. 1 at the Ohio State Fair to see which top-notch barbecue competitor would come out victorious in the Ohio Pork Council’s annual Pork Rib-Off competition. The participants vied for top honors in categories for ribs, pulled pork, people’s choice, and barbecue sauce. Ale Yeah BBQ, Delaware, Ohio, was awarded Grand Champion Pork Ribs. Bark Brothers BBQ of Cincinnati, Ohio, was awarded Grand Champion Pulled Pork. These winners were two of the nine contestants from across the state to compete in the annual event.

The grand champions and their competitors were scored by a group of four judges, including: Virgil Strickler, Ohio Expo Center & State Fair General Manager; Representative Bob Peterson (R-17); Jeff Reese, Ohio Ag Net; and Gregory J. Lestini, Bricker Graydon.

“This is the only day that I come to the fair because I know there will be amazing barbecue,” said a fairgoer who has come specifically on Rib-Off day for the last eight years “This is something that I look forward to coming to every year for the amazing pork.”

The Pork Rib-Off, which has now reached a milestone of 25 years, is hosted each year by the Ohio Pork Council on the first Tuesday of the Ohio State Fair.

Reserve Champion ribs were awarded to Bark Brothers. JR’s Place, Millersburg, Ohio, won Reserve Champion Pulled Pork. Smoke ‘Em If You’ve Got ‘Em of Middleport, Ohio won Champion BBQ Sauce. The coveted People’s Choice award went to Hickory River BBQ of Tipp City, Ohio.

Find more pictures here.

About The Ohio Pork Council

The Ohio Pork Council was established in 1968, beginning with nearly 800 pig farmers dedicated to the task of promoting their own product. Currently, OPC has approximately 2,500 members. Their mission is to serve and benefit all Ohio pork producers. To learn more about the Ohio Pork Council, visit or call 614- 882-5887.