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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rickard Ridge BBQ, Caryville, Tennessee

One of our favourite events to attend are ribfests.  These are competition events where ribbers compete for the title of best ribber with the public having the opportunity to taste some of the best ribs around.  Many of the ribbers come from across Canada and even as far away as Texas to compete in the ribfests.  It is always a great pleasure to find a competition ribber with their own restaurant to enjoy award winning BBQ. 

Rickard Ridge BBQ
Rickard Ridge BBQ is located inside Cove Lake State Park at 131 Goose Lane in Caryville, Tennessee (I-75, Exit 134).   The restaurant overlooks Cove Lake with a view of the Cumberland Mountains.  Rickard Ridge BBQ is owned and operated BBQ Pitmaster Mark Rickard.  The restaurant is well known for it's BBQ.  Signature dishes are chicken thighs, baby back ribs and pulled pork all slow smoked.  Live Bluegrass music is featured every Monday and Thursday starting around 6:30 pm.  Every Thursday night all you can eat catfish is featured for only $11.99.   The restaurant does not serve alcoholic beverages which helps keep the meal prices quite affordable.  They currently offer catering and wedding packages as well as group take out specials.  The restaurant is planning expanding their service by offering their signature BBQ dishes ordered from their website sent directly to your door.

baby back ribs
My husband ordered a full rack of dry rub baby back ribs slow smoked  Memphis style, a signature dish of Rickard's Ridge BBQ.  The rib rub is a secret blend of spices developed by Mark.  No BBQ sauce is used during the cooking process.  Rather their homemade BBQ sauces are available on the side for dipping if desired.  The meal came with a choice of two sides and a dinner roll.  His sides were baked beans and French fries.  My husband declared the ribs some of the best he has ever had.  I tasted them and oh my gosh, to borrow a phrase from Guy Fieri "that's some good Q!"

pulled pork BBQ
I ordered the pulled pork bbq, another of the restaurant's signature dish.  I chose a baked potato and baked beans as the sides.  The pulled pork is rubbed with a secret blend os spices.  It is hickory smoked, long and slow to perfection.  The tender, melt in your mouth pulled pork had an amazing flavour!

Both meals were served very much competition style containers, something that reminded me of the ribfests we so enjoy attending.  Our total came to $30.55 which was certainly a reasonable price.  We brought the left-over ribs and pulled pork to enjoy the next day.  The meat reheated quite nicely.

small smoker
Mark has been part of an award winning competitive BBQ team for several years.  I asked the waitress if it would be possible to see the smokers.  Mark proudly showed us the smokers and he should be proud of these beauties that are the bones behind the restaurant.  The smaller one (pictured) was happily smoking away filling the chilly night air with a mouth watering aroma.

Even the small smoker is an impressive size.  I know from seeing the ribber competitions that problems can happen with the smokers in the cooler weather.  True to form, like most ribbers Mark has his smokers sheltered from the wind which is important when doing a long, slow smoke where keeping the cooking temperature constant is a must.  Ideally the temperature should be between 225ºF and 250ºF.  The cooking time is about 6 hours for ribs.  When fully cooked the meat will tear from the bone with a little resistance.

large smoker
Mark also has two larger smokers big enough to each hold a whole pig!  They were not in use during our visit but it's the off season with cooler temperatures.  It is quite apparent that he is a very knowledgeable and talented BBQ pitmaster!  We really enjoyed him taking his time to show us his smokers and tell us a bit about them.

The Rickard Ridge BBQ  has made it onto our list of must stops when in the area.  If you are in the Caryville, Tennessee area on I-75 be sure to stop by for some of the best Q you will ever taste!  Do say hi for us and that we will be visiting again soon.  Kudos to Mark Rickard and thanks so much!

4 food lovers commented:

LindaG said...

I'm going to try to remember this if we ever go through Tennessee. :)

Chey can cook! (and more) said...

I will definitely have to venture down there! The husband and I love ribs, and love watching people prepare them on shows like Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, etc!

Garden Gnome said...

I'm sure you will find it enjoyable, Linda :)

Garden Gnome said...

That is an interesting show, isn't it Chey?