Salmon Lovers Wanted: World's Largest BBQ

Fort Bragg gives it up for one very famous fish. Did we say "one"? Many.

NOT AN ALSO-RAN: We don't think there's a foodie around who'd call salmon an also-ran. It's just a perennially popular fish choice, whether it is smoked on a cedar planked or slathered in teriyaki sauce or chopped up with some mayo for a salmon burger. In fact, test this: Next time you're in a California restaurant that serves classic American cuisine, just check and see if salmon *isn't* on the menu. It probably is, meaning that, yep, it is indeed the king of fish. But up around Mendocino County other seafood favorites can often score the culinary spotlight. There's that whole wine and crab festival each January -- that thing is on the huge side, for sure (not a fancy way to put it, but, nope, we're not writing a brochure here) -- and the Whale Festivals of early March bring chowder tasting aplenty. In short? Crabs and clams get hog (or perhaps quahog?) the love. But salmon has a special place in the region's food scene. Not just a special place, but a capacious place. Look no further than...

THE WORLD'S LARGEST SALMON BARBECUE: That's the name of the happening, indeedy indeedy. We're not just going for hyperbole in describing this thing. Each July a mess of delicious fresh salmon hits the grill in Fort Bragg's Noyo Harbor and happy salmon aficionados line up for the savory, meaty stuff. Yep, we said "meaty"; is there any other fish that's described as meaty as often as the salmon? A ticket is thirty bucks, there are tunes, there's eating at picnic tables, there are ocean breezes, and hobnobbing with nice Fort Bragg people. Oh, and sides, too -- past years have seen corn on the cob and garlic bread. Local microbrews are for sale, too. Tempted? You should be if you a) adore salmon and b) need a summery slice of the Mendo County way of life. That it is all happening on Saturday, July 6, just a few days after the Fourth of July, kind of makes this decision all the simpler.

And, good to know: The Salmon Restoration Association, which keeps a watchful eye on our wild salmon runs, is a beneficiary of the mega cook-out.

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