Estel’s 12th Annual Rib Extravaganza: Bigger and More Delicious

Yesterday, I woke up, and there was a chill in the air. Hooray! Low 70s, sunny – it’s the perfect day for the 12th Annual Estel’s Dine by the Sea Rib Grilling Cook-off. AND…I’d been asked to help judge.

San Pedro decorated for Carnaval
San Pedro decorated for next weeks Carnaval

See my event calendar for information on Carnaval and upcoming events in town.

Many of you know Estel’s for their killer beachfront location, the toes-in-the-sand dining, the breakfast all day, and the best fry jacks in Belize.

Sign for the 12th ANnual Cook-off

They also are well known for their delicious weekend BBQ by Charles…

This is Charles yesterday.

Charles and a pork chop

Yesterday was the annual rib cook-off, the 12th in fact. I was at the first (and judging!) – back in 2012. It was an impromptu event amongst 4 or 5 buddies…some from Belize, some from the States…all bragging (over beers) about their prowess at the BBQ. (See: A Rib BBQ Cook-Off at Estel’s Dine By the Sea: First Annual? – they were playing for a cash prize!)

Here’s a picture from way back then…2012.

Photo from first competion at Estels

And here’s yesterday’s competition. The original crew was back – like Jim from Kansas City (above)

Jim at the cook-off
Jim, one of the OG (original grillers)

He rolls with a crew!

Guys in matching Tees at the cook-off

Kevin (who I worked with about 15 years ago) – he invited me to the first cook-off. He can find Kevin most days at his great bar and restaurant south of town.

The Island’s Jungle Bar: A Cool Spot For Everyone Charging Very Local Prices

Team Kevin

And then Rick – for the great grilling state of Oregon! 🙂 He may have said something about Fireball Whiskey in his marinade…

Rick grilling

Ali – he was at the first cook-off too!

Estels Cook-off Ally

Did I mention what a gorgeous day it was?

Beach in front of Central Park
The view from Estels
More grilling
Team Tundra straight outta Green Bay, Wisconsion
Team Tundra straight outta Green Bay, Wisconsin

And then from Belize by way of Japan. Toshi who has Japanese restaurants all over this country!

Toshiya displaying his ribs

Back from Kansas City…

Kansas City Griller
More grillers
Remind me to bring a notepad to big events!

Many of the chefs were handing out samples. Samples of ribs were NOT ALLOWED – it would mess up the judging. But I had a chicken wing, a meatball, a piece of spicy sausage…as usual, I am terrible about gauging my food intake when delicious nibbles are around.

Pretty outside Estels
The view of Estels

They have such a fun eclectic mix of stuff inside. Estels is the greatest.

Inside Estels

And then the waterfront seating….

Waterfront seating at Estels

Look back to see who was competing at the 6th Annual Competition in 2017! Or that time that Jeff was a judge when we first started dating – 2015’s competition (there’s a GREAT pic of Coconut Leo in this one). I LOVE looking thru these older pics.

To the judges table! And then the ribs were delivered. 11 pieces. God bless whoever made all these flags for the judges and everyone who was there! The awards were given for: People’s Choice, Judge’s Choice and then Overall Grill Master.

Ribs all eleven

And the view.

View from my table
View from the judges table

This is some serious judging!

My seatmates Mayor Wally and Chef Jennie Staines of Elvi’s Kitchen are taking their jobs verrrrrry seriously.

Also judging: Chef Chris Aycock, former contestant, now judge, a gentleman from Joe’s Meats (provider of all these ribs!) and a lovely lady whose name starts with an L! 🙂

Wally and Chef Jennie

Rib judging is so hard! Some like fruity, some like sweet, some like spicy, some like saucy…and this year, there was no bad rib. 11 delicious ribs!

Mayor Wally liked them all.

Mayor Wally and the ribs

After finishing my judging, I went to see what everyone else was up to. There was live music – lots of it.

Under the tent at the competition
Under the tent
Ribs ribs ribs!
What a great event to be a dog – Lance the former street dog

I had to take off…I was starting to sweat BBQ. But what a FUN event.

I know that Charles of Estel’s won the highest honor but I need to get the complete list…and then match it up to all those letters! What an amazing amount of work and WHAT a fun event. M

See you next year? Lucky 13?

Under the tent

I want to give a huge shout-out to the Greenhouse Market on Middle Street. 1. for all the great stuff they sell but 2. for keeping their “COVID sink” going. Nothing feels better than a good hand wash on a hot day unless it’s a good handwash on a hot day after judging a Ribs Competition. Thank you!

Greenhouse's outdoor sink
The best sink in town – thank you Greenhouse!

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  1. Amy on February 7th, 2024 at 4:23 pm

    Missed it by a day! What a fun event. And what a beautiful day. Can almost taste those ribs! Glad I had time to take a stroll along the beach by Estelle’s before we left. Gorgeous.
    As always, thanks for sharing what you see and do. It helps fill the Belize void in the weeks and months between visits.
    Take care.

    • San Pedro Scoop on February 8th, 2024 at 11:52 am

      I know you will be back! 🙂

  2. David Martin on February 7th, 2024 at 5:13 pm

    Great post Rebecca! The selfless sacrifices you endure to churn out the Scoop are greatly appreciated. Especially to those of us that are currently location challenged – i.e., not living on Ambergris Caye.

    I gotta go find me some ribs now, tenk yu, but I doubt they’ll be as good as the ones you sampled…

    • San Pedro Scoop on February 8th, 2024 at 11:52 am

      I’m glad you recognize my stamina 🙂 I get to do some fun things this week – I’m flying over the Blue Hole this weekend. WOOHOO!

  3. Sharon Adams on February 8th, 2024 at 3:13 am

    Do you know when the event will be next year?

    Sorry I lost the correspondence we shared about a month ago regarding where to stay. Can I get a contact for you please??

    • San Pedro Scoop on February 8th, 2024 at 11:51 am

      Sure. I’m [email protected] and…I don’t. It’s usually the first Tuesday of February but you’d definitely want to check with Estels!

  4. HARPO ZANEIS on February 8th, 2024 at 9:24 am

    Another great post
    I am coming this year
    Keep up the good work

    • San Pedro Scoop on February 8th, 2024 at 11:51 am

      Thank you!

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