So Sparks Street had the brilliant idea to present another ribfest event. I was pleased, but until they actually set up shop yesterday, I thought might just be a dream. Then they started smoking and they started grilling and it became real.
Mrs. Waffle wasn’t as excited as I was, but she was happy enough to make her way downtown for a lunch date. Our plan was to grab some pork delicacies and find a spot on Carmello’s patio. The weather was great, and the lines at the ribbers between Metcalfe and Bank were quite long, though not as long as they are in June. Still, I had to go west. All the way to the last ribber, which luckily, had no line-up at all, despite the best efforts of the grillmen to attract potential customers by shouting “RIIIIIIBS!” to the top of their lungs. “Directly from Las Vegas, Nevada…. RIIIIIIIIBS!”
Ribs Royale had me convinced. Who doesn’t want to spin the roulette and sample Nevada’s Finest Ribs? (Ignoring for a minute that they actually are based in London, Ontario?)
Their menu is typical of what other ribbers usually offers on Sparks Street:
Ribs, Chicken, Pulled Pork. They offer combos, they offer a Vegetarian nightmare, they offer a Royale Feast. Ribs Royale usually offers Beef Ribs and Brisket, but it didn’t seem to be available – it certainly wasn’t advertised or displayed.
Owner Gus Sakellis started Rib Royale BBQ in 2006. He has been competing at festivals since then, and is serving about 3,000 lbs. of meat every year. As far as I know, it is Ribs Royale’s first visit to Sparks Street.
I was looking at the grillmen in action, finishing the Ribs and the Chickens. The grill was plenty hot, with plenty of charcoal smoke to add another layer of flavour. My mind was set: I would get a full rack of ribs ($22). It is, after all, called RIBtoberfest. Not Chickenoberfest or Pulledporkoberfest. Still, my wife wanted the pulled pork sandwich dinner, extra saucy ($10). That’s just the kind of woman she is.
I ordered our food, made sure they heard I wanted extra sauce. I tipped the grillman, and, appreciative, he picked the biggest rack he had going and smothered it with a fresh layer of BBQ sauce. “Saucy, saucy, saucy!” he sang aloud. “From Las Vegas, Nevada, get your saucy Ribs right here!” Well, then.
After a few minutes, our order was ready. I picked up the compostable boxes, a few sheets of hand towels and made my way to Carmello’s, where Mrs. Waffle and L’il Waffle were awaiting. We ordered a pitcher of Bavarian Lager and opened our box of goodies.
These ribs were excellent, very meaty and moist. They were tender, but not too much – there was some resistance when you pulled the meat from the bones, and it had a good chew. That’s the way ribs should be cooked. There was a nice, pink smoke ring clearly visible on the meat, produced by cherry wood with a hint of hickory.
Mel’s sandwich dinner looked equally delicious.
Loads of perfectly cooked Pulled Pork on a fresh bun, smothered in BBQ sauce. The pork was very good, nice strings of goodness that after trying for the first time, L’il Waffle engulfed by the fist full. The BBQ sauce was excellent, a great tangy-sweet balance with a smoky undertone. You won’t be surprised to know that the secret ingredient is Crown Royal, which helps round out the flavour.
The sides were uneven. The baked beans were simple, a well executed side dish, with a tomato-based sauce that had a nice consistency and texture reminiscent of British beans. But the coleslaw was bland, uninspiring. Neither creamy nor vinegary, barely seasoned. Unfortunate.
Nevertheless, we were quite happy with this new competitor’s products.
Especially when you stick with the main event:
And Ribs Royale’s were royally good.