Question of the week: Wichita’s best barbecue place?

Wichita just gained Bite Me BBQ at 132 N. St. Francis and just lost Bubba’s Nekkid BBQ at 2428 West 13th Street N.

The barbecue places seem to come and go on a fairly frequent basis. Which one is your favorite? Which one would you miss most if it evaporated like Bubba?

I liked Bubba, but I also have enjoyed many a meal at Pig In! Pig Out! at 1003 East 13th Street N. and When Pig’s Fly at 7011 W. Central.

Submit your barbecue favorites in the comments section below.

Midwest Beerfest: The most fun I’ve had before 4 p.m.

Beerfest was absolutely packed. This photo is courtesy of my co-judge, Sierra Scott.

Saturday’s Midwest Beerfest was… well, it was kind of amazing.

It was packed — so packed with loopy beer lovers that at points, it was sort of hard to move around.The afternoon had a crazy party vibe. Any time someone would drop and shatter a tasting mug (which was more frequently as the afternoon progressed), the whole crowd would stop, raise their mugs and cheer. At one point, Ronnie “The Danceman” Choy played Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” and at the appropriate moment, all the attendees stopped and sang along: “SO GOOD! SO GOOD! SO GOOD!”

Our array of wings. Bubba's was No. 3 -- the one with the lime.

I was there in an official capacity — as one of four official judges for the chicken wing contest that organizers added last year. This year, they had us judge blind so we couldn’t be swayed by which restaurant cooked which wing. But apparently we like what we like. My co-judges (Sierra Scott, her main man Harrison Schenk, and Good Life Guy Bower, chose the same winners this year that we chose last year.)

Our overall favorite was again the cinnamon-infused, meaty wing cooked by Bubba of Bubba’s Nekked BBQ. The most creative award went to chef Ben George of Tallgrass Country Club, who cooked a nice Thai wing coated with sesame seeds and cilantro. (He also submitted a wing so horrifically spicy that several judges and crowd members were seen writhing in pain. When I gave him a good talking to later, George laughed and said, “They weren’t that hot last night.”

Sierra and I, moments before Ben George's spicy wing set our mouths on fire.

The judges: Sierra, Guy Bower and me.

Two-time defending chicken champ Bubba Leffew, owner of Bubba's Nekked BBQ. Look behind Bubba and you can see his grandson, Bubba's little sleepy sous chef.

Second annual Midwest Chickenfest

There was all sorts of wing wildness at last year’s Midwest Chickenfest, a new addition to the Midwest Beerfest that offered samples of chicken wings from several local restaurants.

I was a judge, along with local television personality Sierra Scott and “The Good Life Guy” (and Beerfest founder) Guy Bower. Though there were several worthy, spicy competitors, we awarded the “Best of Show” prize to Bubba’s Nekked BBQ, which presented a wing with layers of flavor, including a hint of cinnamon and a nice kick of spice. The Anchor’s kicked up Thai wing, created by then-chef Ben George, earned the people’s choice award.

The event was such a success that they’re doing it all again at this year’s festival, which is Saturday at Century II. I’ll once again be judging, and this year, even more competitors are joining in. Eight different restaurants, including new competitors Larry Bud’s and Tallgrass Country Club (where defending people’s choice champ George now works), will create 11 different wings. Bubba will be back, too. Beer fest attendees can pay $5 to sample the wings and vote for a favorite.

I found this little video gem from last year, which should help us all get in a chicken wing state of mind. I’ll be writing more about Saturday’s Beerfest in Friday’s Go! section.

A slab of ‘cue news

A plate of grub fro Rock Island BBQ.

A plate of grub from Rock Island BBQ.

Today, I’ve collected two bits of barbecue news you can use.

First: I tried out the new Rock Island BBQ at lunch today, enticed both by the fact that it’s right across the street and that they left a buy-one-get-one-half-price flyer on my car in the Eagle lot yesterday.

It opened last Thursday, and it’s set up very nicely, with a spacious seating area and the barbecue — a whole lot of ribs, pulled pork, sausage links, ‘cue-friendly sides and more — set out on an all-you-can-eat buffet.

It’s open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays only, and the buffet costs $9.99. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ribs, which I had trouble pulling much meat from, but the ham and links and sides (including some tasty stuffing and some very cheesy mac) were pretty good. I’ll give it another try.

In other barbecue news, Bubba’s Nekked BBQ, which opened two and a half years ago at 13th and Meridian, is throwing the grand opening party it never had on Saturday. It’ll take place both inside and outside the restaurant from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will include a live radio broadcast, $1-a-bone ribs and wing eating contest that’ll feature contestants from the Wichita Wild. The schedule is below.

bubba