Get Sauced

The better a barbecue sauce, the more likely you'll end up with it all over your hands, says a Southern rule of thumb. If it's an extremely good sauce, you'll likely find some smeared around your mouth, giving you that inimitable I-applied-lipstick-while-drunk look. Dirty hands and messy mouths occur because true BBQ is eaten with the fingers, a childlike act that, coupled with excitement over the stimulatingly sweet and hot barbecue spices, is capable of making even the most reticent adults lapse into the passionate but sloppy eating habits of their youth. You may have noticed that at authentic barbecue joints, Wet-Naps are more popular than flatware.

This Friday the American Institute of Wine and Food's (AIWF) South Florida Chapter will host a BBQ Rib Fly-In tasting contest at Johnson & Wales University. The co-sponsor, UPS, will presumably take care of the flying-in part, which involves transporting succulent, wood-smoked ribs from eight premier barbecue joints across the country, including Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q from Decatur, Alabama; Corky's BBQ from Memphis, Tennessee; and Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue from Kansas City, Missouri. Attendees will have the opportunity to pig out on pork and vote for their favorite ribs. The winning chef will be flown in, perhaps also by UPS, to prepare his or her recipe at AIWF's Turnberry Isle Resort and Club SandBake on Memorial Day Weekend.

These barbecued babies promise to be the real deal, accompanied not only by traditional trimmings such as coleslaw and baked beans, but by a toasting of what were voted the top 5 zinfandel wines from the AIWF's recent "101 Zinfandels" tasting at the Morikami Museum. Crown Wine and Spirits will offer a reduced price on these wines, so if you're impressed you can take a few bottles home.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the AIWF's scholarship fund for hospitality students. It's a small price to pay for limitless lip-smacking barbecue and zesty zinfandels. Heck, it's worth paying just to watch members of the esteemed American Institute of Wine and Food trying to look sophisticated with sauce all over their faces.

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Miami New Times' restaurant reviewer for the past decade, and the world's indisputable master of disguise.
Contact: Lee Klein