Monthly Archives May 2015

DakotaFoodie’s Own “Ribfest”: Dry or Wet? Beef or Pork?

May 28, 2015 BBQ, Grilling, and Smoking meat  No comments

ribfestlogoBy Todd Epp

With Ribest starting today and running through Sunday in Sioux Falls, I’ll leave it to others whether local rib places should be allowed to participate.

OK, yes, I think they should have, but that meat wagon has driven off.

My questions are more basic. What are the better ribs–beef or pork? What’s the better method? Dry rubbed or slathered in sauce?

Having lived in Topeka, Kansas and having made many trips to Kansas City, my personal preference runs to pork and sauce. I find the pork ribs leaner and I love the selection of BBQ sauces from different BBQ joints. My favorite is Gates (“Hi! Can I help you?” they scream at you as you try to make up your mind.) It’s spicy and vinegary and I can put on as much or as little as I like.

I also like Famous Dave’s BBQ sauces and I like th...

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Five Uniquely South Dakota Foods: Do You Know of More?

May 27, 2015 South Dakota Cuisine  2 comments

Photo by George Hodan at

Photo by George Hodan at

By Todd Epp

Is there a uniquely South Dakota cuisine?

I’m not sure there is, but here are five items that I think are uniquely South Dakotan, or at least Upper Midwestern. I’ve only seen them in this region or if I’ve been somewhere else and asked for them, gotten only blank stares. See Tomato Beer.

  1. Tomato Beer—Beer purists don’t think you should put anything in beer. Fruiting the beer can have your man card rescinded in some places. But I’ve only seen tomato beer in South Dakota. Take a cheap beer, add tomato juice and if you’re fancy, green olives, and you have what I consider a nectar of the gods. Just don’t expect most bartenders outside of South Dakota to know what it is or to make it for you.
  2. Indian Fry Bread—...
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Is it really a ‘Sioux Falls Rib Fest’ if they don’t let the locals compete this weekend?

May 27, 2015 Uncategorized  3 comments

I just ran across this article again tonight from March in the Argus Leader. Where a dirty little secret of the local rib event taking place this weekend was exposed to the world – that local talent isn’t welcome:

Mark Lambert found out recently that his bid to add Rowdy Hog Smokin’ BBQ to the lineup at this year’s RibFest was rejected by SMG Management, just as it had in the past.

Lambert was told that the eight slots are full, mostly with the same national competitors that have been there for years.

“You would like to think Sioux Falls would want to support local businesses, but that’s not the case,” Lambert said. “I would like to know why they can’t look at adding a local vendor.”


Managers say the festival isn’t meant to showcase local barbecue.

The festival does offer spots for lo...

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Take a Safari to a Dollar Store’s “Land of Misfit Foods”

May 26, 2015 Uncategorized  2 comments

Photo by George Hodan at

Photo by George Hodan at

By Todd Epp

Please don’t take this as snobbery. I go to dollar stores because, well, everything is a dollar and some things really are a good value, like computer cables.

But I have a secret guilty pleasure about dollar stores: the food aisles.

There are brands there that you’ve heard about—Kraft, Coca Cola, Keebler, etc. But what I find fascinating are the brands I haven’t heard of.

It’s the “Land of Misfit Foods.” It’s like they’re from an episode of a Prairie Home Companion if it were produced in Lithuania.

Things like “Bob’s Pretty Good Tuna” and “Sally’s Mostly Hot Sauce.”

OK, I exaggerate.

But if you look on the labels—I dare you!—you’ll see many of the items from the “Land of Misfit Foods” are fro...

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Time to grill steak? Damn the grill! Get me an oven!

May 25, 2015 BBQ, Grilling, and Smoking meat  2 comments


By Pat Powers

Did the previous article have Todd Epp saying something about grilling this weekend?  I’m not thinking the skies are looking that favorable. Besides. If you’re looking at a choice cut of meat, there is a far better way.

Time to grill steak? Damn the grill! Get me an oven!

In South Dakota, those could be words of a heretic, making you eligible to be burned at the stake. Or at least, put on the spit over an open flame.

But the reality is that many backyard grills have a difficult time achieving and holding the kind of high temperature you’re ideally looking for. My own SNPP does a incredible job of grilling meats, but the large cavernous grill leaves a bit to be desired in maintaining the kind of temperature that high end restaurants use to cook a truly great steak...

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Cooking Out on a Rainy Memorial Day Weekend?

May 24, 2015 BBQ, Grilling, and Smoking meatOutdoor Cooking  No comments

Illustration by Iamnee at

Illustration by Iamnee at

By Todd Epp

Memorial Day Weekend is the “unofficial” start to summer in South Dakota. The kids are out of school, RVs and pop-up campers get their first workouts of the year and then there’s backyard and campground barbecuing.

So, when it’s a rainy weekend like it is this weekend across the Dakotas, what do you do? Do you don a raincoat and BBQ in the rain? Cook indoors? Wait for the weather to clear? Go out to eat?

I braved the on-again-off again rain today in Harrisburg and tended burgers, brats and hotdogs in a misty rain. Cooked meat waits for no one at the Epp household!

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