Ottawa ribfest

Interview with a Chef: Ottawa Ribfest’s Matt Smith of Gator BBQ

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Nick Smith, left, and his father Matt, of Gator BBQ.
Photo credit: MORGAN MODJESKI / THE STARPHOENIX

 

For over 30 years, Gator BBQ has been delivering mouth-watering chicken, pulled pork and ribs to the hungry crowds of Rib Fests all across North America. Touring Canada and the Northern United States, the Smith family of Port Dover continue to win countless awards and events with their signature southern BBQ cuisine. On the eve of Ottawa Ribfest, I caught up with Matt Smith to discuss his humble BBQ beginnings, his secret for achieving great tasting barbecue and if he ever gets tired of being around so much BBQ!

How did you get involved in the BBQ business?
By accident mostly. I used to be part of the carnival circuit for Conklin Shows and eventually crossed paths with a fella who ran these Ribfests. I started my own team and its grown from there—must be 20 years at least. We were there at the very start!

Tell me about the BBQ process. Boil or bake? Smoker? Hardwood or gas?
Always smoked. Ribs, pork and chicken are done in our smoker (Southern Pride) for various times depending on the meat. Although the fuel is propane, there’s a wood oven that heats the smoker and pumps the heated smoke throughout. (more…)

Event: Ottawa Ribfest

Ottawa Ribfest is back in town. While your there check out Camp 31. Camp 31 BBQ was established by Larry Murphy in Alabama in 1986. They offer Southern style Bar-B-Que and their meat is slow cooked over hickory logs.

There are 17 ‘Ribbers’ to choose from along Sparks Street. Ribfest runs from 11 am-10 pm Friday and Saturday, and 11 am to 7 pm Sunday. Admission is free.

Camp 31 chicken and ribs

Camp 31 chicken and ribs

Camp 31 chicken and ribs

Camp 31 chicken and ribs