CINCINNATI -- Apologies, vegans, but Cincy Meat Week is back. This third annual celebration of all things carnivorous rolls into town Sunday with an eight-day tour of the Queen City's finest barbecue establishments.
“The Cincinnati barbecue scene continues to grow and flourish. Several past Meat Week stops have relocated or opened second locations. We have also seen the opening of several new establishments,” said 2017 Meat Week Captain Matt Schneider. “I am taking over the reins from our illustrious leader Justin Tabas, who heads to Chicago Sunday shortly after the ‘Passing of the Rib Bone’ at our now traditional first stop Pontiac BBQ.”
2017 Cincy Meat Week Schedule:
Sunday, Jan. 29: noon - Pontiac BBQ – 1403 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine
Monday Jan. 30: 7 p.m. - Montgomery Inn-Ribs King – 9440 Montgomery Rd., Montgomery
Tuesday Jan. 31: 6:30 p.m. - Just Q’in – 975 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills
Wednesday Feb. 1: 7 p.m. - Big Art’s BBQ - 2796 Struble Rd., Colerain Township
Thursday Feb. 2: 7 p.m. - Velvet Smoke BBQ – 10515 New Haven Rd., Harrison
Friday Feb. 3: 7:30 p.m. - Rivertown Brewery/BarrelHouse BBQ - 607 Shepherd Dr., Lockland
Saturday Feb. 4: noon - Butt Shack BBQ & Grill – 500 Wessel Dr., Fairfield
Sunday Feb. 5: noon - Eli’s BBQ-Findlay Market – 133 W. Elder St., Over-the-Rhine
At its core, the organizers say this holiday is about togetherness.
"Gathering over BBQ harkens back to our family’s traditions. It’s not a prim and proper meal, it’s a down-home hang-out. Everyone can let their hair down and be themselves at a BBQ restaurant. We revel in the fact that so many people have latched on to this holiday and made it their own," they wrote.
Meat Week claims to be the only national weeklong holiday devoted to the celebration of barbecued meats. Started in 2005 in Tallahassee, Florida, Meat Week has spread across the country with as many as 15 to 20 cities celebrating. Starting the last Sunday in January, friends and strangers alike gather to eat BBQ for eight nights straight.
The “captain” of each city creates a schedule including eight different BBQ restaurants to visit for the week. Many people attend all eight nights of Meat Week, but no one other than the captain and/or first mate are expected to. There are also plenty of vegetarians in attendance, including a few vegetarian captains. Most of them come for the camaraderie but stay for the sides.
There are no “rules” to Meat Week, but there are plenty of traditions that have evolved over the years. One of the original traditions is that of “meatography.” Everyone who attends Meat Week gets a photo with his or her meat each night. They also take a group photo underneath the restaurant’s sign.