SPARKS -- One of the best barbecue rib recipes in the West evolved in a Carson City back yard.
Carson City BBQ Co., owned by Phil Hyatt and Duane Felker, has gathered trophies from cookoffs in Sparks, Fremont, Calif., Portland, Ore.
Hyatt and Felker put their recipe to the test at Monday's Nugget Rib Cookoff in Sparks, but after winning awards the past four years they came up short.
"We're up against the best people in the world," Felker said, "but it is a surprise since we usually win. Next week we'll head up to Portland and maybe bring something back."
Texas BBQ placed first for ribs; Kinder Custom Meats earned Peoples Choice; and Texas Thunder received the best sauce award. About 300,000 people attended the weekend rib contest.
Whether they add a trophy or not, Hyatt and Felker love sharing their finger-licking, sauce dripping barbecue.
The recipe is a collaborative effort between Hyatt, who was born and raised in Carson City, and Felker, who arrived in town in time for the second grade.
As adults, they discovered a taste, and talent, for barbecue.
"Duane and I used to get together every Sunday evening and cook ribs and make barbecue sauce," said Hyatt from the Carson City BBQ Co. booth at the Best in the Nugget cookoff. "We took all the nice stuff from all the (sauces) we made and made our own recipe."
They aren't the only ones who love their sauce, rubs and ribs.
"We work for sauce," said Patty Patton, from Sun City West, Ariz. She and her husband, Dave, and friends Art and Mary Nelson come up each each year and join other family and friends dishing up the ribs in the Carson City BBQ booth.
"We love doing this," Hyatt said. "It's so much fun."
That's a lot of fun to want to stand next to a stove where it's 110 degrees on 92-degree day.
The stoves get fired up at 5:30 a.m. for the first round of ribs, which cook slowly for four to five hours.
"When it's all said and done, we'll have cooked 7,000 pounds of ribs compared to 6,500 pounds last year. That's 33 pounds a case, 15 racks to a case, or 230 cases.
"This event will equal any two or three other events."
It's the Carson city BBQ catering company's fifth year at the Nugget cookoff where they've previously received, Best Sauce and People's Choice awards as well as placing for their ribs.
"We're here more to promote our catering, which is the foundation of our business."
Carson City BBQ Co. sauces -- regular and hot -- can be found at Butler Meats and Grants Party Supplies. Next year Hyatt and Felker plan to start marketing their rib rub.
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