A special invite to Seghesio’s 8th Annual BBQ was a welcomed excuse to play hooky from work, get buzzed mid-afternoon and not have to explain the shameful amounts of sauce dripping down my fingertips. At one point, I literally was looking down at the barbecue rib remnants on my upper arm. How’d that get there?

For the past eight years, Seghesio has put on this event and I am quilt-ridden for the seven years prior I had missed. This year the Seghesio pit crew was squaring off with two of the best barbecue pitmasters in a battle of ribs. Chris Lilly, who was featured on “Serious Eats“, is a seven time winner of the world’s largest barbecue contest and Ray Green is from the Texas famed North Main BBQ.

I arrived fixed for my jammy red wine, bbq’d hunks of delicate meat and a serious showdown. What did I forget? My bib.

We sauntered into the winery early enough to peruse the flourishing garden beds where eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and herbs were in full swing. I briefly wondered if an eggplant could fit in this tiny handbag of mine. It surely would have made for the perfect nighttime snack of eggplant caponata.

Wine tasting was first on the agenda. Who could rightly judge BBQ without a few glasses of vino under their belt? We sampled about seven, picked our favorites (the Omaggio for me) and filled our glasses before heading out to the ultimate showdown and to get our grub on.

There were four food booths to visit; Chris Lilly’s, Seghesio Pit Crew, Ray Green’s and the rest of the fixins. We leisurely gnawed through all of the ribs, doing a double take when necessary.

It was time to vote for our favorite and the four in my herd unanimously agreed on Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-b-cue. His tender ribs were willingly falling off the bone and slathered in the richest sauce. Turns out we know a few things about food (or just made a lucky guess) because he won this shindig.

After voting, we hit up “the Sides” booth to get our fill on the fixins. The watermelon salad was the perfect accoutrement to the sinful amount of pork we had just ingested. Toss in a grown-ups mac n’ cheese and potato salad and this throwdown is complete.

After four hours of overindulgence we waddled out with one belt loop lossened and a purple tongue. The only thing that would have made the perfect ending to this amazing day would have been complimentary toothpicks at the exit door.

Want more BBQ? See the complete photo album…