Ribfest is back at Tom Hanafan River's Edge Park for the second year. Whether you want it sweet, mild or extra hot, he's got you covered. He's been cooking ribs for over 30 years and he says he's not quitting anytime soon.
For Dan Johnson cooking ribs is in his DNA, it's a tradition passed down by his father. Even though he's been doing it his whole life his real passion for barbecue started while he was a colonel in the military and missed the comfort food of home. "I was in Virginia Beach and they didn't have any barbecue, so I opened a couple of restaurants," said Dan Johnson, owner of Johnson's Bar-B-Que. Featuring his signature Thermo Nuclear Sauce.
To even try this sauce customers must meet certain requirements. “You gotta be 21 years of age, sign a release of liability and be less than 7 months pregnant," said Johnson. So, you could say it's pretty hot. “I can do more for you in 30 seconds than a doctor can in 3 months," said Johnson.
With jars of his signature sauce on hand, Johnson has been traveling and competing at Ribfests for over 25 years and has won Best Sauce in America eight times and Best Ribs in America six times. “Everyone should be able to get some good barbecue once in their life," said Johnson.
But good luck getting him to spill his secret recipe. “You can get a military secret quicker than you can get a barbecue secret, everything we do is top secret," said Johnson. Even at 75 Johnson says he plans on grilling for 50 more years. "I don't plan to ease up, let up, give up, or shut up until I’m taken up and I’m just getting warmed up," said Johnson.
You can catch that barbecue and more at Tom Hanafan River's Edge Park through Sunday. Gates open Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. Gates close Saturday at 11 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Sunday.