|Barbecue ribs. Photo: biskuit, Flickr.
Dixon Lambtown USA, Dixon, Calif., Oct. 3: Break out the mint jelly! Attendees can participate in such culinary slugfests as the National Lamb Ribs Eating Contest and Barbecue Cook-Off, not to mention a shearing competition and sheepdog trials. For the kiddies, there's Mutton Bustin' -- a buckin' bronco bruising of the woolly kind.
The Food Network New York City Wine and Food Festival, New York, Oct. 8-11: Hosted by and benefiting the Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength, this festival brings the toque and the home cook together. Everyone from sous chefs to casserole queens can attend wine seminars, recipe-creation panels and cooking demonstrations. For the kiddie cook, check out the Kids Get Cooking! series. Your favorite celebrity TV chefs will be there, en masse, including Ming Tsai, Paula Deen, Rachael Ray and Anthony Bourdain, as well as culinary heavyweights such as Sue Torres, Marcus Samuelsson, Odette Fada, Daniel Boulud and David Chang.
Tennessee State B-B-Q and Fall Festival, Lenoir, Tenn., Oct. 9-10: Accredited by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, this fourth annual affair allows meat masters to show off their chops. Muscle tissue will be celebrated from pork, brisket, chicken and dessert. Dessert?
Maury County Chili Cook-Off, Columbia, Tenn., Oct. 17: What fall would be complete without a steaming bowl of chili to ward off the dropping temps? Enjoy sundry versions of chili at the 24th annual challenge, then visit the booths for baked goods, many decorated with autumnal designs.
Michigan Sustainable Stoup Competition, Grand Ledge, Mich., Oct. 25: Stoup, that marvelous hybrid of stew and stoup. What, you've never heard of it? Trek to this one-day event to slurp for yourself. The finest stews and soups in the Great Lake State -- with a focus on local, sustainably raised fare -- will be eligible for the people's choice prize.
Elberta German Sausage Festival, Elberta, Ala., Oct. 31: At this twice annual celebration, 7,000 pounds of meat-stuffed intestinal linings are usually sold out by 3 p.m. If you miss out on the links, scarf down German-style stuffed cabbage, goulash and potato salad.