Harpoon Competitive BBQ - Transformers Style
By: Brendan Burek, Transformer BBQ Champion Published:
Next weekend marks one of our favorite events of the year. The Harpoon Championships of New England Barbecue! Competitive barbecue teams from all over descend upon our Windsor brewery to compete to be crowned New England champ. To get you excited about the event, we talked to a seasoned veteran - Brendan Burek of Transformers BBQ. If his story doesn’t get you pumped for BBQ Weekend, we don’t know what will (other than the fact that you can pair Harpoon beer with some of the world’s best barbecue)!
The 2004 Harpoon Championships of New England Barbeque was our first ever experience witnessing competitive BBQ. We attended as visitors and spent the day walking around trying food and watching the teams. That’s when I caught the BBQ bug and I started breaking out the smoker more often. When we moved back to New England after living in California for a few years, we decided we would sign up for Harpoon’s event to compete. Somehow we were lucky enough to get in! We showed up with all the wrong gear, no real plan, and what we thought was fantastic food. It was an eye opening experience, and after the weekend we finished about 24th overall for BBQ and DEAD LAST in grilling.
At this point, we were hooked on a mission to come back the next year and not repeat that grilling performance. With some better packing, much better recipes, and a lot of practice… we did just that. The following year we moved up in the BBQ contest, and came away as the overall Grand Champions of the grilling event; firmly cementing the Harpoon Championships of New England Barbeque as one of our all-time favorite contests.
Every year it’s a little different; new construction, varied layouts, fresh teams, new team members, different cookers, and unpredictable weather. This year will be our 9th at the event, and we’ve had a great run up in Vermont. The event at Harpoon has always been a highlight of the summer. It’s always nice when you come down that steep driveway every year to see the smoke pouring out, and the smell of BBQ at Harpoon’s Windsor brewery. It’s that knowing feeling that the quiet and social Friday night during set-up will become instantly broken as the massive crowds and noise fill up Saturday. It’s what makes Harpoon our favorite of the year!
The Transformer BBQ team has largely retired; we still cook barbecue but no we longer travel to 20+ events a year. The team does however have one event on the schedule for 2014… see everyone at Harpoon next weekend!
We hope you’ll join us July 26th and 27th at out Windsor brewery!