The 6th annual AZ BBQ Festival took over the Salt River Fields in Scottsdale on Saturday, May 2. And with everything from bowls full of bacon to lots of Daisy Dukes, this event reminded us of going to the state fair -- except with fewer crowds and no Ferris Wheel.
Each of the vendors offered $2 samples at the event, but we quickly noticed that not all $2 samples were created equally. For example, the $2 soda "samples" were not exactly what we consider sample sized, while others, like Moonshine Bar and Grill, nailed the portion size with their riblet sample.
JJ's Louisiana BBQ won us over for having both a good attitude and good barbecue. The restaurant's melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork and baby back ribs were both worth the $2 tokens we spent. Both were tender with just a hint of smoke. The meat didn't need any spicy sauce, but we added it anyway and were glad we did.
Near the mechanical bull riding we found The AZ Pork Council's bacon bar. This was probably the best deal for $2 -- plus who doesn't like bacon?
We found the Affogato Truck dishing up some of the best apple pie soft serve we've ever had. The ice cream was rich and creamy with apple cinnamon flavor, making it a perfect way to balance out all of the meat and salt from the other vendors. We also loved the truck's use of the mini red solo cups.
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Our favorite mac and cheese of the day came from Cold Beer and Cheeseburgers; It was a perfectly creamy blend of American, pepper jack, and provolone cheeses, and made us want to go to the restaurant to try the chili mac as well. At the Bootleggers booth we tried a pork belly slider, but after biting into it we wished we'd gone for the taco option. The slider lacked flavor, and really needed some kind of condiment. Fortunately, the pork inside the sandwich was delicious, so we discarded the bread and dug into the meat.
We ended our day at the festival with a snow cone from CJ Snowie . The vendor served a standard snowcone-style cup, but the island of syrup dispensers was the highlight of the experience.
See more photos from the 2015 AZ BBQ Festival on the next page.