Ribfest Chicago


Fri, June 14, 2024 | 5pm to 10pm
Sat, June 15, 2024 | 12pm to 10pm
Sun, June 16, 2024 | 12pm to 10pm
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click here for the digital guide

One of Chicago’s most iconic events continues to get the attention it deserves!  Returning BACK IN JUNE for its 24th year in Northcenter, Ribfest Chicago is clearly all about one thing – ribs!  But this year’s fest is getting HOG WILD with an indie rock stage in Town Square, expanded kids’ area, VIP section and a daily whiskey/bourbon tasting!

Experience top BBQ vendors who offer racks of their signature ribs and sides, while competing for two Best of Ribfest Chicago titles: the People’s choice award chosen by the crowd; and the top award chosen by a panel of celebrity judges.

6:00pm – Stache!
8:30pm – Dancing Queen: An ABBA Salute

1:30pm – The Black Oil Brothers
3:30pm – Big Shoulders Brass Band
5:30pm – Fletcher Rockwell
8:00pm – Hello Weekend

1:30pm – Sheryl Youngblood Band
3:30pm – Hurricane Gumbo
5:15pm – 7th Heaven Band
7:30pm – Rod Tuffcurls and The Bench Press

5:00pm – Fiddlerock!
7:00pm – XOCHI

3:00pm – People’s Choice Rib Competition
4:30pm – Four Star Brass Band
6:00pm – Furious Frank
7:30pm – The Avondale Ramblers

3:00pm – Recorded Music
4:30pm – Pink Raspberry Cats
6:00pm – Chase Wilkins Band
7:30pm – RAVIV



Session days/times:

  • Friday: 6-8pm
  • Saturday: 1pm to 3pm; 4pm to 6pm
  • Sunday: 1pm to 3pm; 4pm to 6pm


How it works:

  • Choose a day and session
  • Purchase a ticket (starting at $40)
  • Come at the start of your session
  • Sample 16 different whiskeys and bourbons
  • Head out and eat some ribs and dance to the music!

What We’re Sampling:

Beam Suntory – Claremont Steep
Beam Suntory – Maker’s 46
Beam Suntory – Basil Hayden’s
Beam Suntory – Knob Creek
Campari America – Wild Turkey Longbranch
Campari America – Russel’s Reserve
Campari America – Wilderness Trails Bourbon
Campari America – Wilderness Trails Rye
Pernod Ricard – Jameson Irish
Pernod Ricard – Jameson Orange
Pernod Ricard – Jefferson’s Reserve
Pernod Ricard – Jefferson’s Ocean
Proximo Spirits – Bushmills Peaky Blinders
Proximo Spirits – Bushmills 10 Year
Proximo Spirits – TINCUP Colorado Whiskey
Proximo Spirits – Pendleton Reserve
Still Austin Whiskey Co. – Cask Strength Bourbon Whiskey
Still Austin Whiskey Co. – “The Musician” Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Still Austin Whiskey Co. – Cask Strength Rye Whiskey
Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey
Starlight Distillery
Blaum Bros. Distilling Co.
Wolf Point Distilling


Cost: $50 one-day/$75 two-day

What You Get
  • VIP Lounge access with private seating, bathroom, charging stations and swag bag
  • Official Ribfest Chicago 2024 T-Shirt
  • 2 DAILY drink tickets (so if you purchase a 2-day ticket, you’ll get 4 drink tickets)
  • Fast pass line access to Belle Plaine / Middle beer booth
How It Works
  • Decide between one or two-day passes
  • Purchase a VIP ticket
  • Head to the Northcenter Chamber booth (located at 4054 N Lincoln – look for the big orange tent)
  • Grab your drink tickets and wristband
  • ENJOY!

The chamber booth will answer any questions you may have too!

All tickets are rain or shine.  No refunds.

Armadillo’s BBQ
A festival favorite, you’ve probably seen Armadillo’s BBQ around the Chicagoland area (including at this event in the past)!  This year, they’ll be serving BBQ Ribs, Beef Brisket, Pulled Pork, Chicken Breast, Mac & Cheese, Cornbread, and Dinner Sides of Baked Beans and Cole Slaw.  Yum!

Aussom Aussie BBQ
A 25-year veteran of the International BBQ Circuit, Paul “Aussom Aussie” Mackay started competing in BBQ contests in 1988 and after several years he and his father developed their very own traditional Australian fruit-based barbecue sauce. Taking on the best Barbeque chefs he came to North America to prove they had a winning formula. Winning the biggest and best contests in USA and Canada including the Great American Rib Cook-Off, Best in the West and winning 350 awards for best BBQ – Aussom Aussie is at the top of his game.

Austin’s Texas Lightening
Austin’s Texas Lightening has been delivering WINNING results since we opened in 2010. Our goal is to provide both superior BBQ and great customer service for our customers. AUSTIN’S TEXAS LIGHTNING has over 60 years of experience in BBQ business and is passionate about exceeding your expectations.

Blazin Bronco BBQ
Dennis Carrino has 35 years in the food industry. His experiences include restaurant owner, chef and grill master of the National B.B.Q. Cooking Team Blazin Bronco. After 30 years in national competition, they have gained notoriety and a reputation for excellence. As a result, they are considered visionaries, and are consistently imitated, for their booth designs, marketing concepts, and BBQ food trailers. Blazin Bronco exemplifies the spirit of the National Rib Cook-offs and brings exciting new energy, recipes, and products to each event.

Chicago BBQ Company
Born of the original Giovanni’s in Berwyn, IL, we took our award-winning ribs on the road starting in 1985 and have been racking up the Ribfest and Cookoff wins ever since. We cross the country every summer so come see us when we’re nearby.   Who’s hungry?

Frankies Restaurant and Catering

Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and making their Ribfest Chicago debut, you’d be surprised at how much flavor can come out of their food truck!  One of their specialties is Hawaiian BBQ Ribs – a sweet and savory take on a slab (in case you didn’t know, Hawaiian BBQ sauce is a ketchup base with the addition of pineapple, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and brown sugar).  Their line may be long, but we think it’ll be worth the wait!


Mr.Greens BBQ

Their motto is: Great People, Great Food Creates Great Communities.  And their food shows nothing but love!  From their ribs to their brisket, they’ll have you lining up again and again.  Be sure to check out their array of BBQ sauces too!

Ogre Eats BBQ
Ogre Eats BBQ Owner Edward “EJay” Boyd is a Multi-Faceted BBQ Chef & Grillmaster, Mobile BBQ Caterer, Certified Pitmaster, Gourmet Sausage Maker & Trained Actor Hailing from the Southside of Chicago, IL.  EJay discovered his love for grilling at the age of 14 years old working for his Uncle at Kenny’s Ribs in Chicago. Through his uncle’s mentorship, EJay learned all of the basic elements of Grilling, Smoking, Sausage-Making & Safety while juggling responsibilities as a Student Athlete.

Robinson’s No.1 Ribs
It’s a long way from Lambert, Mississippi to Oak Park, IL, but for Charlie Robinson, the trip was worth it. One of eight children, he learned early about the value of hard work. With a degree from York College in Nebraska and no job prospects, he headed for Chicago. He landed an entry-level job with a national ice cream manufacturer that led to his own distributorship.  But this busy entrepreneur never forgot his southern roots. Some of his favorite recollections were of the neighborhood barbecues of his grandfather who passed on the secret of a sauce that had been relished by 14 generations of Robinsons. Charlie spent long hours in his Oak Park kitchen refining that 200-year-old recipe – cooking, adjusting, substituting, and testing. When Ribfest 1982 came along, Charlie Robinson and his sauce were ready!

Salt Creek BBQ

Out of North Aurora by way of Texas!  The area of Salt Creek, Texas is known for their expansive cattle ranches which made it a great inspiration for the owners of Salt Creek BBQ.  Making their Ribfest Chicago debut, their menu includes ribs (of course) but also pork shoulder, smoked BBQ turkey legs and plenty of sides to complete the meal.  Will they win Best Ribs by you and critics?  Only time will tell!

Be sure to join us at the Town Square stage on Saturday at 3:00pm for the Critics’ Choice Award Ceremony!

A special thanks to our 2024 judges:

Muffy Fishbasket
Muffy Fishbasket is world famous in her mind and the original drag broad. Her performance has been referred to as a mix Madeline Kahn confusion and Mae West Camp…which is good ‘cause she’s done her best to steal both of their acts. She has trained in circus arts at the actors gymnasium and trapeze school New York and performs regularly at Hamburger Mary’s, Carbon Arc, Campit and the House of Blues. Muffy has performed all over the country and sometimes even on a stage in an actual show!

Muffy Fishbasket is also the Chicago director for the nationally recognized story hour with drag queens.

Howard Buckner

Tim Shepardson, local restaurateur, ROCKS Northcenter

Dana Koslov (CBS)
Dana Kozlov is an Emmy-award-winning political investigative reporter for CBS2 Chicago. Prior to joining the station in 2003, she worked at WGN, CNN Chicago and WEEK-TV in Peoria, where she began her journalism career in 1992. Kozlov loves cooking, dance, yoga, music, reading, travel, all exercise and wine. She’s a proud Chicagoan whose family has deep roots in the city. She is also an enthusiastic Chicago sports fan.

Looking to connect with active consumers at this event? For pricing and a customized benefits package, please contact Norine Smyth at 312-799-0354 or Laura Wilke at 773-584-6669.

ncc logo cmyk longThe Northcenter Chamber of Commerce is a business and community development organization committed to making Northcenter a better place for businesses and residents.

What began as a small merchants’ organization has evolved into one of Chicago’s largest and most active neighborhood small business organizations, with more than 420 members and counting!

As the Service Provider for Special Service Area #38, the Chamber works with vendors to provide “clean and green” services including landscaping, litter abatement, sidewalk snow removal and more to promote the cleanliness, safety and sustainability of our beloved neighborhood.

We have teamed up with Eventeny to make your exhibitor registration easier than ever! Please note that you will have to create a new profile and register on this new platform if you haven’t done so yet.

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