They are the Lance Armstrongs of Nova Scotia charity rib cookoffs, and they struck again Saturday.

John Smith and Nelson Angel – better known by their grill pseudonym The Ministry of Oink – finished first at the Nuts4Ribs Cajones Cookoff challenge on the Halifax Waterfront.

The win makes them a perfect three-for-three at the event.


“We did not see this one coming. The competition this year was incredible,” Smith said.

“Right across the board it was the best that I’ve seen,” Angel added.

Eight different teams cooked up ribs for the competition, which is part of Nuts4Ribs, an event started in 2007 that draws thousands of people to the waterfront to promote self-examinations to detect testicular cancer

The entries were anonymously presented to a panel of local judges – which included Metro cartoonist Michael DeAdder (and yours truly).

The judges ate plate after plate of delicious ribs, judging them on presentation, texture and flavour.

For the Ministry of Oink the process started a full three days earlier as they began working on the sauce, but their confidence was shaken when they arrived on-site and saw the depth of the competition.

“Over the last couple of years the advantage had been that we have smokers so we smoke them,” Smith said. “But this year everyone was pretty much doing that. We walked in and thought ‘this one’s going to be a tough one.’”

But in the end the Ministry’s use of a zesty lime glaze put them over the top.

It was one of several popular events at Nuts4Ribs, another being people scarfing down two-dozen ribs in seven minutes to a Dueling Banjos score.

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