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Some like it hot

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  • | 5:00 a.m. February 10, 2010
  • Longboat Key
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In Brazil, Ferdinand Halamud used a recipe with Scottish bonnet pepper to marinate zebra meat he imported from Africa. The rest of his life is a mystery to his descendants, but they know that he brought the recipe with him when he immigrated to the United States at the turn of the century. The recipe was passed down through generations, although, eventually, his descendants began substituting pork ribs for zebra meat. And the recipe made its way out of the family kitchen to the Longboat Key Public Tennis Center Wednesday, Feb. 3, for the center’s inaugural Rib Fest, where Halamud’s great-grandson, Tim Fitzpatrick, entered the recipe in the cook-off.

Fitzpatrick said that the Scottish bonnet peppers made his rib recipe a fierce contender.

“It gives it that little kick,” he said.

But other contestants also had secret ingredients up their sleeves.

Milan Adrian said that he uses a chicken-garlic sauce to create rave-worthy ribs. Walter Hackett said that his technique — sear ’em, slow-cook ’em, sauce ’em (with Kraft Barbecue Original sauce), then seer ’em again — would give his ribs a slightly crunchy taste. Scott Hase said that his recipe evolved over time and included hickory chips and his own rub recipe. Ron Pantello couldn’t attend the competition, but he got an early start, cooking the day before so that his ribs would be ready. And, although Wally Womble said that part of his recipe involved smoking his ribs with buttonwood, his secret ingredient was one that all contestants shared: love.

Head judge Jack Black, who got his start cooking ribs at age 17 in his father’s restaurant, Old Hickory House, in Birmingham, Ala., and fellow judges Gail Sullivan and Eric Hammersand shared plate after plate of that love.

While the judges unanimously voted for Fitzpatrick’s ribs, saying that the slight spice made it a winner, there was another unanimous vote: The judges concurred that all six rib recipes submitted were delicious.
But there were no losers in this competition. The event was a sellout, with 165 people in attendance. The Tennis Center took in enough money to cover the cost of its new yard furniture.

Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected]


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