Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off
Calling All Rib Lovers!

Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook Off

It’s America’s biggest and best free-entry barbecue festival!

Not to be mistaken for just a Reno rib cook-off, this is the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. In 2016, The Nugget Rib Cook Off was named “Best BBQ Festival” by USA Today Top10 Readers’ Choice. The annual event transforms the Labor Day holiday into a must-attend culinary, music, craft and family end-of-summer affair.

Enjoy the country’s best grilling competition, located at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, just east of Reno. Two dozen of the world’s top barbecue competitors serve up more than 240,000 pounds of ribs for hundreds of thousands of hungry event-goers on Victorian Square. In addition to tasty ribs, enjoy live entertainment throughout the day, and headline entertainment in the evening.

Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook Off Events

The yearly rib cook off takes place during Labor Day Weekend and brings together the best-of-the-best in ribs, sauces, cookers and even world rib-eating champions. Rib cook off teams will compete for first to fifth place, best sauce and of course the people’s choice award. First place Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook Off winners will receive $10,000! So, needless to say, the competition can get pretty fierce.

Rib cookers from all over the world compete for top honors and are judged by a carefully selected panel that works behind-the-scenes to determine which team made the best ribs. The judging is double-blind, so neither the staff setting up the ribs nor the judges know which ribs belong to which chef. The judges of the Nugget rib cook off consist of a variety of different backgrounds—from culinary professionals and food critics, to media personalities that share a passion for down-home BBQ.

The Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook Off is Northern Nevada’s best grilling competition located at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, NV. The event also transforms Victorian Square into a VIP ‘Rib Village.’

A VIP table in the Rib Village means that not only will you enjoy mouthwatering side dishes, desserts and all-you-can-responsibly drink beverages (which includes beer and wine), but you will be right up front for the weekend’s entertainment. The tables sell out quickly, but don’t worry, the event is huge! From live music stages and booths to craft vendors, kids activities and more, the Best in the West Nugget Cook Off is a crowd favorite.

Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook Off Directions and Parking


The Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook Off is a 10-minute drive away from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport and downtown Reno. For the most convenient access to the cook off, book your room at the Nugget Casino Resort. There are plenty of great hotels in the area, too, if rooms begin to fill up. Check out our list of local hotels close to the Reno rib cook-off.

Parking and Shuttles

Getting to the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook Off is a breeze, especially if you take advantage of the Nugget’s free shuttle service! The free rib cook off shuttle offers convenient pick-up and drop-off points at various locations in Reno and Sparks throughout the entirety of the event. Check out the free rib cook off shuttle schedule.

If you’re driving to the Best in the West Nugget Cook Off, free parking is available in the Nugget’s West Parking Lot and at the City Parking Garage, next to Galaxy Theatre. Because the event is so popular, try to get there as early as possible to snag a good spot. It’s possible you may have to walk a little bit, so wear comfy shoes!

It’s time to come hungry and leave satisfied. Your tummy will thank you for the mounds of delicious ribs and we’re sure you’ll be back next year for more!

Learn more about this year’s Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook Off.

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