OK, so his name isn't actually Uncle Bub. It's Mark Link. But he's the owner of Uncle Bub's Award-Winning BBQ in Westmont, one of 12 ribbers setting up shop at the 27th annual Ribfest from July 3 to 6 in Naperville.
Q. How long have you been selling ribs?
A. 18 years.
Q. How long have you been coming to Ribfest in Naperville?
A. This will be our ninth year.
Q. How many pounds of ribs do you sell in a four-day festival?
A. We usually sell about 5,000 pounds.
Q. You call your BBQ "award-winning." So how many awards have you won?
A. A dear friend built a shelf in our restaurant for all the trophies. We have about 35 to 40 trophies. This year, we've won second place at a rib competition in Arizona; first place in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; first place at a rib fest in Chicago; and second place in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Q. How do you cook your ribs?
A. The first step is we score the membrane on the back. Then we spray the ribs with fresh lemon juice and let it rest. Then we put our rub down and let it rest. Then we put the ribs in the smoker with apple wood and hickory wood for four hours. Low and slow. Every hour, we spray them down with apple juice. We pull them out and glaze them on a hot grill with barbecue sauce, then cut and serve to our guests.
Q. How many festivals is Uncle Bub's attending this year?
A. This summer we'll be at 16 festivals in 12 states.
Q. How big is your crew?
A. We'll have up to 14 employees at the fest at one time.
Q. And for those picky eaters, what do you sell other than ribs?
A. We're doing creamy coleslaw, which is homemade, and baked beans, also homemade. We have pulled pork and beef brisket. And we're doing something a little different this year. We're selling the Mac Daddy and the Mac Mama with our baked mac and cheese, topped with pulled pork for the Mac Mama or beef brisket for the Mac Daddy. We're going to introduce them here at the fest.