Restaurant News & Reviews

They’re firing up the grills for the Kentucky State BBQ Festival

The Kentucky State BBQ Festival at Wilderness Trail Distillery in Danville will feature seven pitmasters.
The Kentucky State BBQ Festival at Wilderness Trail Distillery in Danville will feature seven pitmasters. Provided

If you’ve been craving good barbecue, this is your weekend.

The 2017 Kentucky State BBQ Festival is Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Danville. This year’s event was moved to Wilderness Trail Distillery, 4095 Lebanon Road, to give it more room. The festival is 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Sunday.

In addition to barbecue for sale, there will be live music, distillery tours and cooking demos. There’s also a children’s activities area, a Backyard BBQ competition and the Smokin’ Butt Bike Ride. Celebrity pitmasters this year include Carey Bringle of Peg Leg Porker BBQ Team in Nashville; Moe Cason of Ponderosa BBQ Team in Des Moines; Shelly Frisch of Desperados Barbecue in Angola, N.Y.; Craig Kimmel of Firehouse BBQ in DeLand, Fla.; Amy and Mike Mills of 17th Street Barbecue in Murphysboro, Ill.; Brad and Cindy Simmons, and Rod Bennett of Lucky Dog BBQ in Danville; and Garry and Leslie Roark of Ubon’s Yazoo BBQ in Yazoo City, Miss.

▪  To mark Bourbon Heritage Month in September, Donut Days Bakery is offering the Kentucky bourbon ball doughnut, a chocolate-glazed doughnut with bourbon-infused cream filling, finished with pecan halves. The bakery also has iced and sugar cut-out Wildcat cookies and footballs for your Saturday game-day buffet. Call 859-269-8223 to order.

▪  Looking for something special for your tailgate? Happy as a Lark Cakes has a Wildcat mascot dessert, made entirely of cupcakes. Order online at; owner Brandi Romines is sold out for this weekend but will take orders for the Tennessee, Florida and Louisville home games.

▪  The Blue Grass Trust will host a deTour on Sept. 6 at the James Pepper Distillery on Manchester Street. The gathering will begin at 5:30 p.m. on the patio outside Goodfellas Pizzeria, with a welcome and introduction to the site from building co-owner Chris Kelly and distillery owner Amir Peay. Guests will get a free tour of the distillery in groups of 50. The after-hour celebration will be at Goodfellas.

▪  Kentucky Owl of Harrodsburg, the bourbon brand founded in 1879 by C.M. Dedman and revived by master blender Dixon Dedman, his great-great-grandson, is releasing Batch No. 7 in seven select markets. Kentucky Owl will release 2,535 bottles at 118 proof; according to the tasting notes, this version features a crème brûlée nose with a hint of cinnamon and apple, with rich caramel and a hint of ginger. The suggested retail price is $200 a bottle.

Additionally, Kentucky Owl is release its first rye. Kentucky Owl 11-year-old Straight Rye Whiskey, blended to bring out a full-bodied flavor, is 110.6 proof, available in September for a suggested price of $130.

▪  Woodford Reserve Distillery, 7855 McCracken Pike in Versailles, is hosting a Bourbon Heritage Southern Supper fromo 6 to 10 p.m. Sept. 30. There will be distillery tours, an old-fashioned pig roast with Southern sides, a cash bar featuring Woodford Reserve cocktails, and bluegrass music. It’s $65; reservations are required. Go to for your tickets.

The menu includes massaged kale salad with roasted Pink Lady apples, goat cheese, cranberry, candied walnuts and sorghum vinaigrette; and roasted and barrel stave-smoked Stone Cross Farms whole hog served with three house-made barbecue sauces: signature Woodford spice barbecue sauce, made with Ale-8-One ginger soda; South Carolina mustard barbecue sauce; and Alabama white barbecue sauce. Sides include gratin of Happy Jack’s squashes, layered with cream and parmigiano Reggiano; slow-cooked collards, kale and mustard greens; Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese pasta; and fresh pie from Midway Bakery.

▪  The Nicholasville Farmers Market and the Jessamine County Extension Office will host a Farm-to-Fork Dinner 5:30 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Jessamine County Fairgrounds, on Park Drive in Nicholasville, to benefit Bluegrass Greensource and the Nicholasville food pantry.

The event will feature Kentucky Proud food from multiple vendors, drinks and flowers from local farmers, and recipes of chef Shannen Bunton. It’s limited to 150 people; tickets are $35 and are available at the Nicholasville Farmers Market and the Extension office, or call 703-586-7278.

▪  Save the date: The Round Barn Stable of Memories and Bayou Bluegrass Catering will host the Barn Buggy Bash from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 2. There will be barbecue, brews and bourbon at this benefit to help restore some of Lexington’s historical harness buggies. Tickets are $45 or $325 for a table for eight. Email or call 859-509-0092 to reserve seats.

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