Category Archives: Barbecue

Rip’s Rib Shak food truck adding stationary restaurant


Rip’s Rib Shak, the mobile barbecue trailer that Steven Pittman and his father-in-law Kevin Smith opened last summer, is about to get a brick-and-mortar brother.

The duo plus Pittman’s wife and Smith’s daughter, Alexis Pittman, are opening a stationary version of Rip’s Rib Shak in an old Phillips 66 station at 611 W. Harry. They hope to have it open by mid-June and plan to serve the same menu made popular by the trailer: St. Louis-style spare ribs, pulled pork, hotlinks, burgers and chicken legs cooked on a Himalayan salt block. The small space has some room for seating, and Pittman hopes to eventually add outdoor seating, too.

In the meantime, Pittman is serving from the trailer, which is parked right in front of the future business, starting at 11 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. He keeps serving until he runs out of food, which he said is usually around 5 or 6 p.m.

Pittman, who has worked at several barbecue restaurants over the years, plans to still use the truck for special events and to travel to barbecue competitions.

Keep up with the progress on the Rips Rib Shak Facebook page.

Jet Bar-B-Q’s famous drive-through is closed

Jet Bar-B-Q’s famous drive-through drive through is no more.

John “Jetman” Thien is in the process of trying to sell his Jet Bar-B-Q , which he’s operated for 32 years. In the meantime, he’s not in the mood to be cold.

As of this week, he has closed the  famous drive-through at the restaurant, which runs right through the center of the old 1928 firehouse  building at 1100 E. Third St. where it operates.

“This old man is too old to have snow blowing up his keister,” Thien said.

The restaurant is closed this week while Thien makes changes to shut off the drive-through. He’s redoing the floors and making other repairs and plans to reopen next week for his regular hours, which are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Friday. The restaurant will have dine-in and carry-out options only.

For more information, call 316-262-7299.

Rip’s Rib Shak a new bbq food truck

Rip’s Rib Shak is among the latest additions to the ever-growing food truck fleet in Wichita.

This one is owned by Steven Pittman, who has worked at several barbecue restaurants over the years, and his father-in-law, Kevin Smith. It’s been running since August and for now has a regular parking spot. Pittman opens the truck from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at  at Builder’s Inc. in Parklane Shopping Center at Lincoln and Oliver.

Eventually, Pittman said, the truck might be open more often, move around and participate in food truck gatherings around town.

Pittman serves St. Louis-style spare ribs, pulled pork, hotlinks and more. One of his specialties is chicken legs cooked on a Himalayan salt block.

For more information on the truck, see its Facebook page. 

Derby’s National BBQ Derby is this weekend

The National Bar-B-Que Derby scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Derby will include a barbecue competition, apple and cherry pie baking competitions, a cookie baking contest for kids, a competition for backyard barbecuers and more.

The event, now in its third year, is scheduled for 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.t o 4 p.m. Saturday in Derby’s High Park, 2801 E James St.  It’s a Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned event.

Those who attend can sample competition-quality barbecue for $5, shop for food and craft items and take advantage of kids activities, a charity car show, live music and more.

Friday night’s activities include a classic rock concert by Those Party Bros from 7 to 10:30 p.m. in the High Park amphitheater. Beer and food will be sold.

On Saturday, people can taste the barbecue and vote for a People’s Choice award from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The car show lasts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and a lineup of local bands will perform from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Kids activities from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday include face painting, balloon artists, arts and crafts, magic shows and more. The various baking and barbecue contests will be take place through out the day with an awards ceremony at 4 p.m.

Admission to the event is free, though Saturday’s people’s choice sampling is $5 a person. For cooking contest entry forms and a complete schedule of events, visit

Wichita Ribfest: Report and results

The Wichita Ribfest has yet to get through a Saturday night.

The 2-year-old  event, which was staged over the weekend in a parking lot at 777 E. Waterman, had its final night cut short for the second year in a row because of threatening weather.

About 7 p.m., officials at Intrust Bank Arena, consulting with local weather people, made the call to close the festival at 9 p.m. It was scheduled to close at 11 p.m. after sets by two Mexican bands. Instead, the opening act didn’t play at all, and Kazzadorez performed a shortened set.

Although it didn’t rain after all, there was lightning about 10 p.m., and the festival would have had to have closed early either way. The festival needed about an hour to get the stage torn down and the equipment secured.

In the end, said Christine Pileckas, the arena’s director of sales and marketing, about 10,000 people attended the festival — the same number as last year. The arena has been aiming for about 15,000.

Still, she said, organizers are pleased with the Ribfest and said people responded positively to the extra participatory activities offered this year, including a car show and an interactive sports zone.

“I think over all it went really well,” Pileckas said. “We had two and three quarters of a day of fantastic weather. I would imagine we’ll be regrouping soon to pick the date for next year, and before we know it, we’ll be getting ready to put on the third Wichita Ribfest.”

Several people have asked me which ribbers won the Best in Show, determined by a panel of judges, and the People’s Choice award.

First place in Best in Show went to Chicago’s BBQ, and second place went to Howling Coyote.

The People’s Choice winner was Porky Chick’s.

Yet another food truck — this one with ‘cue

The food truck news. It never stops.

Now there’s news of a new barbecue food truck — Big Daddy’s Smoked Shack, owned by barbecue expert John Nielsen.

Back in 2009, Nielsen had a restaurant called  Big Daddy and Lil’ Mama’s Smoke Shack, which operated at 828 W. 11th in Riverside, the spot that now houses Squeezer’s Palace. That restaurant closed, but Nielsen has been dreaming about the food truck ever since.

Get your curly pig tail end over there.

Nielsen has converted a 24-foot RV into a mobile food truck, and he sets up from 4 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at a spot at 4800 W. Central. Soon, he’ll expand his Saturday hours to 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Next Friday, May 24, he’ll also be open for lunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1947 Founder’s Circle, near Via Christi on 21st Street just off K-96. He hopes to add more truck time as the business grows, and he’ll be updating followers as to his whereabouts on his Facebook page.

Big Daddy’s, which also caters, serves brisket, ribs, pulled pork, chicken, turkey and things such as smoked stuffed jalapenos and smoked mushrooms.

For more informaion, call 316-871-1438.

Second annual Midwest Ribfest starts Thursday

One of last year’s ribbers in action

The second annual Wichita Ribfest opens Thursday and will include three days of food from local vendors, music and activities.

The event will be set up just east of Intrust Bank Arena in Lot D, the city-managed parking lot at 777 E. Waterman. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Admission is $4 at the door, then attendees can choose to buy a barbecue meal from one of six national vendors setup inside the gate. Meals generally cost $10 and under and include sides.

All three days will include music by both local and national acts. The festival’s headliners are country acts Keith Anderson, who plays at 9 p.m. on Friday, and Phil Vassar, who performs at 4 p.m. Saturday. In all, 14 bands will perform by the festival’s end.

I was a rib judge last year and will be again this year. I’m currently fasting to prepare for Thursday’s 4:30 judge-a-thon, where I will join a panel choosing the best rib. Visitors also can vote for a “People’s Choice” winner.

There are also kids activities, a Pepsi Sport zone where people can test their athletic skills, and a video game den.

Half-price admission is available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Admission is free all day on Thursday for those with a Wichita River Festival button.

For a complete schedule, visit or www.facebook/wichitaribfest.

Food truck of the week: BJ’s Smokeshack

A look at some of BJ’s sizzling, smoky goodness

It’s raining food trucks.

Today, I heard from another set of truckers preparing to hit the road. Jennifer and Brad Vieux hope to get their BJ’s Smokeshack on the streets by the end of the year. (They already have a Facebook pageup and running.)

Brad is a longtime barbecue hobbyist whose meats are so good, he often sells them to friends and acquaintances. He’s employed as a business development director for a local aviation company and will keep his job. Jennifer will staff the truck with help from her 15-year-old daughter and mother-in-law, who’s about to retire.

The truck will serve items such as pulled pork, brisket, ham, ribs, chicken, and specialty sandwiches plus homemade sides. They’re currently searching for the perfect truck and plan to park it at various places around town. They’ll also set up at area festivals.

The couple recently attended a meeting of the local food truck community, where they were welcomed and encouraged by the owners of The Flying Stove, Cake Face and others, Jennifer said.

“We’ve talked about this forever,” Jennifer said. “And we thought, ‘You know what? This is a perfect time because food trucks are getting so popular.”

I’ll let you know when BJ’s Smokeshack is ready to roll.

Arena’s Ribfest set to return in May

Intrust Bank Arena has scheduled its second annual Ribfest, a big outdoor gathering of professional slab-ists from across the country, for May 16-18 in the same spot it was last year — City Lot D at 777 E. Waterman.

The event will feature six national rib vendors from Texas, Illinois, Virginia and Arkansas — the same ones that were in attendance last year.

Attendees pay $4 to get in the event (it’s free for children 12 and under) then buy their slabs and sides from the vendors. Live music and activities will be staged throughout the area.

The festival will go on from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. May 16-18. Lunch will be half-price on Thursday, May 16, and on that day, attendees can get in free if they have a Wichita River Festival button.

A few additions this year: Arena officials are hoping to have a biker night on Thursday and put on a classic car show on Saturday. They’re also devising a way to get local barbecue vendors involved but are still working on those plans.

About 10,000 people attended the event last year, said Christine Pileckas, marketing manager for the arena. But organizers are hoping for more this year, mainly because they’re hoping that unlike last year, Saturday night won’t be canceled because of high winds and lightning. But it is May in Kansas, so…

To read up on the Ribfest, visit the arena’s website.

Another food truck: Official Bar-B-Q

Kris Maples and his 7-year-old daughter, Mia, in the Offical Bar-B-Q truck. Photo courtesy of Michael Carmody.

Another food truck needs added to the roster.

Official Bar-B-Q operates out of a  stationary trailer owned by Kris Maples, who is a barbecue chef by day and an official for youth sports leagues all over Wichita by night. The truck never moves from 241 S. Hydraulic.

Maples opened the truck in October and serves items such as brisket, links, pulled pork and more. During basketball season, he’s open from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. When basketball season ends and his officiating duties lighten up, Maples operates the truck from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.  I’m hearing lots of good reviews of the food all of a sudden.

To place an advance order, call 316-871-8977.