IN PICTURES: 2ND ANNUAL FLORIDA KEYS BREWBQ WAS A CULINARY MASTERCLASS

‘Barbecue sundaes’ were a hit feature among festival goers. Photos by Sandra Lee Photography, Alex Rickert and Jason Koler

Sweltering summer temperatures could not stop the second annual Florida Keys Brew BQ as it returned to Marathon Community Park on July 16-17. The Keys’ premier celebration of smoked meat did not disappoint, with 24 craft beers available for tasting as attendees devoured more than 7,000 pounds of barbecue over the weekend. This year, the People’s Choice category added a new “flavor” to the amateur competition, which saw 10 pitmasters go head-to-head as they prepared their best briskets on Saturday, followed by a rib competition on Sunday. With more than 1,500 public tasting tickets sold, the Marathon Chamber of Commerce answered the public’s calls for an opportunity to sample some of the finest local barbecue recipes in the Keys – and declare their favorites.

AND THE WINNERS ARE…

Best Brisket: Smoked Q Inc.

Best Ribs: Thin Blue Smoke

People’s Choice: Beer Belly BBQ

Best Overall: Smoked Q Inc.

Photos by Sandra Lee Photography, Alex Rickert and Jason Koler

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Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.