Music and barbecue: That's guitar hero Nugent's favorite menu
by Indy.com Staff
Ted Nugent says he has three reasons to look forward to his appearance at this weekend's Rib America Festival:
*The Michigan native played his first show in Indianapolis in 1967, and refers to the city as "home stomping ground."
*Sunday's performance will be his last show of 2008.
*He looks forward to any event that combines meat and music.
"I love playing anywhere; I love it all," he says during a phone interview. "But you add the word 'rib' to my gig, and my guitar will not gently weep. The boys will play some serious soul music that night, I promise you."
Nugent's career highlights include playing psychedelic rock with the Amboy Dukes in the 1960s, enjoying mainstream solo success with hit single "Cat Scratch Fever" in the 1970s and collaborating with Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades in 1990s supergroup Damn Yankees.
But at age 60, an offstage lifestyle defines the Motor City Madman. When he's not playing guitar, he hunts. Nugent's views on gun rights and killing wild game have reached the masses through his "Spirit of the Wild" television show and "Kill It & Grill It" cookbook.
The controversial activist calls himself the "tip of the culture-war spear."
He also says people who share his views are setting attendance records when he plays food-related events.
"Real barbecue America shows up," Nugent says.
Festival vendors earn the musician's respect because they "diligently scrutinize the source and the quality of the meat, the charcoal and the wood," he says.
Meanwhile, fellow outdoor enthusiasts really fire him up. At a recent performance, a young fan gave Nugent a bag of bluegill jerky.
"I don't think Jerry Garcia was ever brought the gift of smoked flesh at a concert," he says.
For attendees of the four-day Rib America Festival, racks of ribs and pulled-pork sandwiches highlight the dining options.
Nugent says he'll sample pork from Rib America vendors, but he prefers the naturally sweet taste of wild boar. (See sidebar for his recipe.)
"Wild boar is sweet because of white fat from eating nuts and berries and flora and fauna -- even carrion, grubs and worms," he says.
According to Nugent, free-range meals are a celebration.
"Setting fire underneath meat is one of the most beautiful, perfect, primal celebrations known to man," he says.
- By David Lindquist / Indy.com