MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On a hot summer day it’s the perfect day to let your grill do the work and slow roast some ribs. Or if you don’t want to be by all that slow, low heat, maybe you want to head to Mystic Lake for their Great Midwest Rib Fest Competition.

This week in DeRusha Eats, Jason hung out with three of the guys hoping to be crowned – King of the Ribs.

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Tom Ferguson owns Chicago BBQ Company and knows a thing or two about winning a rib competition.

“The second contest won $10,000 and title of the best ribs and I got hooked on it,” he said.

Like a lot of us, Tom started smoking and grilling as a hobby. Now he has his own line of sauces.

“People think you should cook with sauce? Never cook with sauce, add at the end. It’s like a condiment really, that’s what it is,” he said.

Damon Holter went from the restaurant business to barbeque contests to an even bigger company in Hudson, Wis.

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“My real job isn’t competing. My real job is making sauces and rubs and other food products,” Holter said.

Croix Valley Foods makes their own stuff. Now Damon makes and packs products for more than 100 other companies.

“Do people know the difference for grilling and barbecue? Most of the time they mean a gas grill in the backyard,” Holter said. “The barbecue is about cooking meats low and slow, coaxing the flavors out of the meat making it extremely tender.”

Joe Alexander is also a competitive barbequer. An Indiana guy who spent years in Jamaica, hence: Rasta Joe BBQ.

“When I was a kid my mom made smoked butt,” Alexander said.

All three of these guys spend their summer traveling the country competing. This weekend they’re at Mystic Lake Casino in Shakopee for the Great Midwest Rib Fest. They sell all their rubs and sauces, but they hope to inspire you to experiment and make your own.

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Jason is one of the judgest at The Great Midwest Rib Fest, but it’s blind judging so he won’t know who’s barbeque he’s tasting. The Great Midwest Rib Fest is at Mystic Lake Casino on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Oak Ridge Boys will also perform at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Jason DeRusha