Sometimes honoring a legacy means blazing a trail. For pitmaster Alyson (Aly) Lupinetti of Mount Laurel-based Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ, said trail scorches straight through the Rock, Ribs & Ridges festival in Augusta. Held annually at the Sussex County Fairgrounds, it pairs mountain views and country jams with a ‘cue competition that draws entrants from as far off as Ohio and Florida.
In 2017, she and her crew landed the coveted honor in the juried competition after two successive runner’s-up honors. Though it’s not a sanctioned event, the jury includes three official Kansas City Barbecue Society judges, who strictly score entrants on taste, texture and appearance. Not only was she the first woman ever to do so over the festival’s eight-year history, she was just a day shy of 25 at the time.