Lupinetti named first female to win "best ribs" title


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  • Alyson Lupinetti of Butch's Smack Your Lips BBQ in Mount Laurel, NJ, daughter of legendary pitmaster Butch Lupinetti, became the first female winner for "Best Ribs" in a juried rib cookoff at the 8th annual Rock, Ribs & Ridges festival on Sunday, June 25, 2017 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, NJ.



For Alyson Lupinetti, this win was a little tastier than the others.

The daughter of legendary pitmaster Butch Lupinetti of Mount Laurel, NJ, Alyson became the first female pitmaster in history to win the juried rib cook-off and the coveted title of “Best Ribs” at the 8th annual Rock, Ribs & Ridges festival on Sunday, June 25, 2017 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta.

“It’s amazing,” said Alyson at her Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ stand immediately after being named champion in front of thousands of festival-goers at the annual summer bash which fires up the outdoor concert and grilling season in Northern New Jersey. “You always love going home with some hardware, but this is a great honor to be the first female winner. And tomorrow (Monday) is my birthday!”

Presented by Franklin Sussex Auto Mall, the two-day music and food festival features some of the biggest names in Southern rock with nine bands headed by Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels performing over the weekend and five pitmasters from across the country competing for thousands of dollars in prize money and the coveted titles of “Best Ribs,” “Best Sauce,” and Weis Markets “People’s Choice.”

Alyson won for “Best Ribs” after placing second in 2015 and third in 2016. Her Butch’s Smack Your Lips team placed third for “Best Sauce” after taking second in 2015 and 2016; and was named the “People’s Choice” winner in 2015 and 2016.

“We love Rock, Ribs & Ridges, it’s so nice to be able to compete close to home,” said Alyson, who cooks and works with her husband Matt Meyer at her side. “We compete all over the country but this gives the people who enjoy our food and follow us here locally the chance to do so in our home state.”

Rock, Ribs & Ridges standouts from other competitions in a number of ways. Not only do its thousands of attendees get to vote for their favorite ribber, they get to enjoy their food, too, as Alyson and the other four competitive rib teams also cook for the masses at the annual festival.

Founded by legendary pitmaster Butch Lupinetti, Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ has amassed over 600 awards in gaining national recognition, including Grand Champion for the State of New Jersey; the Jack Daniels Invitational; and the Best in the West Cook-Off in Sparks, Nevada, the super bowl of barbecue events. The Food Network came calling in 2006, where Butch defeated celebrity chef Bobby Flay in a BBQ Throwdown.

Butch passed away in 2010 but Alyson, who grew up helping her father, carries on his traditions including winning numerous competitions on her own. They still cook North Carolina-style smoked roadhouse barbecue with New Jersey hickory — grown on their property as per Butch — and flavored with their own rub recipe.

In the world of competitive barbecue dominated by older men, Alyson Lupinetti stands out in many ways.

“It’s nice to keep the legacy going.”


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