Estel’s Rib BBQ Cook-Off Packs the Beach & Names Two Hometown Favorites Champions

Estel’s By The Sea is a San Pedro, Belize institution.  Favorite breakfast spot.  House of kitsch and interesting memorabilia.  Best fry jacks and flour tortillas in Belize.  Breakfast ALL day.  A 6am opening time (except Tuesdays.)


Family joint with a sand floor. awesome chalk menu and dog friendly policy.


Only place that I know of that serves you a dish of deep fried chicken gizzards called “tootch” or Belizean Kriol for gizzard.   (This I have not tried YET.  But only because I just found out about it yesterday from Amy Knox, former chef at Victoria House, currently owner and chef at Wild Mango’s.  Talk about your inside tip!  I bet it’s DELICIOUS.)


Every visitor eats at Estel’s at least once but probably a whole lot more.  Oh!  And I forgot to mention.  The view’s not bad either.


YESTERDAY, Estel’s hosted a BBQ Rib Cook-off of Champions!  Two entries from the States, both regulars who love Ambergris Caye and Estel’s – Rick and Jim.

Here is Jim tenderly slicing his WAY tender ribs.



And Rick…


Two entries from the island.  Charles, the owner of Estel’s, who is famous countrywide for his delicious BBQ.  All weekend, every weekend, he’s got his giant barbecues going packed with pork chops, ribs, chicken and more…


And Kevin.  Originally from Orange Walk, Kevin’s been on the island for years bartending.  Currently, he’s manning the bar at Crazy Canuck’s and BBQing in his spare time.



Kevin is also a favorite with the ladies.  Welcome to the K Zone.


Here’s a line-up of all the guys.  They are in such a good mood (grilling and drinking since 7am) and so happy just to be there…it’s infectious.  This whole event gives you such a warm fuzzy feeling.



As my friend said during the festivities, THIS is the reason Ambergris Caye is th #1 island in the world.  Good food, great music, just laid back fun.

Alex and Parker.



You could buy a ticket, taste all of the ribs and help pick the People’s Choice.  Adam from Casa Picasso was quite pleased with scoring tickets 1 and 2.




Proceeds were generously donated to the Sunshine Foundation.  A relatively new charity that is set up to send kids in San Pedro to school.  To pay the tuition (school is NOT free in Belize) for needy kids that demonstrate solid academic performance and meet attendance standards.




Volunteers were selling tickets for a 50/50 draw to raise as much money as possible.  $10bzd for an arms length of tickets.  Makes things easy…

IMG_0855OH AND THE MUSIC!  SO many musicians in this town (and some visiting) gathered together to just jam.  Maybe 8 or 9 of them?  I couldn’t fit them all in one picture.  But let me try to list…Tull, Keith and crew from Bamboo Chicken, Kent from the Blues Dogs of Colorado, Amaurys on his Cuban guitar…

IMG_0870 IMG_0893 IMG_0896they rocked it.  The crowd agrees!



Colored toothpicks to differentiate.


Most people ate at their tables.  I WAS ASKED TO BE A JUDGE!  Finally all my hard work and dedication to eating and critiquing has paid off!  Or if you ask enough, you wear the organizers down and they just let you in.  Either way…WHO CARES.  THIS is good times.

My fellow judges.  Amy from Wild Mango’s and now famous for her organ meat tips.

The chairs are specially built to help you hunch over your plate of sticky ribs.



Trevor famous bartender (find him at Lola’s Pub) and Tippy, chef/owner of Taste of Thailand.


And Macarena Rose.  Real estate specialist from San Ignacio, Belize and host of a radio program about Belize.  (I was interviewing later…)

IMG_0879We dug in.  Hard hard work.  And messy.  Plenty of napkins were sacrificed.

All were ABSOLUTELY delicious.  And the decision was very tight.  I was torn between Jim’s (I found out later who was who) yellow flagged ribs and Charles’ green.  Blue (Kevin’s) was the most distinctive with a sweet pineapple-y sauce.  Rick’s the most smoked.  As Trevor said “almost like a Christmas ham”.

I made my decision…



And then we went outside to wait for the tallying of the votes.

IMG_0890 The contestants gathered before the crowd, drinks in hand and People’s Choice was announced.

KEVIN!  The Blue Ribs.



And the judges picked Charles of Estel’s…both home town favorites were extremely happy…but mostly just to be there.  I’m telling you – this event just oozes good times.  Hundreds of chairs were set up but we could have used even more.  Tourists were stopping outside in packs to see what all the commotion was about…

IMG_0885 IMG_0898For delicious ribs every weekend AND the judge’s favorites go to Estel’s.  Every weekend.  Charles will be out there tending to them.

IMG_0860And keep your eyes right here on the SanPedroScoop for when the next cook-off might be.  Love this event.

And for more on the places mentioned in this post, see below.

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