Don’t be surprised if you see curls of smoke wafting toward the Indian River Inlet Bridge this weekend. It’s time for the third annual Boo-Que, which marries a Halloween-themed family festival with a barbecue competition.
Held on Delaware Seashore State Park’s grounds near the bridge, the event opens on Friday, Oct. 20, at 4 p.m. with a wings competition, trick-or-treating and a costume contest. A 5K walk/run kicks off the schedule on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 11 a.m. There will also be carnival rides, food and beverage vendors, live music and a Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned competition for professionals. Categories include backyard chicken, ribs, pork and brisket.
The cost is $12 for adults. Children under 12 are admitted with free with an adult. The event benefits the Delaware Children in Nature Coalition.
The festival is not the only game in town. Several restaurants offer a signature take on one of Sussex County’s favorite foods. Perhaps the best known is Bethany Blues, which has locations in Bethany Beach and on Route 1 in Lewes.
Before opening, the partners made pilgrimages to towns legendary for their barbecue, including Memphis, Kansas City and Mesquite, Texas. (Interestingly, one of their favorite restaurants was Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Rochester, N.Y.) Their favorite styles appear on the menu.
Bethany Blues is meeting a demand. The Bethany Beach site’s smoker, “Little Reggie,” holds 1,200 pounds of product and runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in summer. Lewes has two Southern Pride smokers that each accommodates 1,400 pounds of product run every day, all day.
If you’re willing to drive inland a few miles, you’ll be rewarded with ribs and fixins at Fat Daddy’s BBQ & Grille in Georgetown. You’ll find all the traditional fare, including ribs, brisket and pulled pork, along with pit beef, burgers and Italian sausages.
Craving barbecue but your significant other wants seafood? No problem. Several restaurants have at least one barbecue dish, including The Pig & The Publican in Lewes, which opened this year. In this beer-centric spot, pulled pork in a mustard-barbecue comes on a roll with sweet pickles and cole slaw.
Bluecoast Seafood Grill + Raw Bar on Route 1 offers a platter of slow-cooked ribs with a “sticky” Old Bay sauce. (Get extra napkins.) It comes with fries and slaw.
The Pond in Rehoboth Beach takes some creative license by piling its pulled pork on grilled Texas toast with macaroni and cheese and slaw. The restaurant’s pho/pulled pork sandwich is topped with a Vietnamese-inspired barbecue sauce on a brioche bun. The orange-and-lemon herb on the pork also ups the Asian flavors.
In Fenwick, Harpoon Hanna’s has ribs as a starter. Those with a big appetite can order a half-rack or full-rack for dinner.
Bookmark this page and refer to it next summer for seasonal BBQ favorites, including Smokin D’z, which opens in May at Indian Point Farm’s location on the corner of Cave Neck Road and Route 1 (formerly Dawn’s Country Market). Come May, you can also head to Charlie K’s BBQ in Ocean View, where the pork and brisket are slow-cooked for 14 hours for a finger-licking treat.