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!
By: Merrill Allen, Harpoon Helps Published:
Garlic. Beer. Butter. Yup, I said it. Three little words with so much mouthwatering potential. I’ve put this butter on steak, chicken, and even a vegetable side dish. For one of our summer dinners out on my deck, a friend of mine brought over some fresh jumbo shrimp. I had a special beer I wanted to share with him, so we thought we’d bring the two together.
For this recipe I used Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Citra Victorious, a sessionable pale ale brewed with grapefruit peel and Citra hops. In the spirit of full disclosure, I was on the team of brewers of this beer, which won our 2013 homebrew competition, the Kettle Cup! Myself and my teammates Jessie, Liz, Carolyn and Shannon were so excited when we won the competition last September, and since then I’ve been enjoying every opportunity to drink and cook with Citra Victorious. Check out the video of me and my teammates talking about the competition and the beer!
Anyway, this recipe has become one of my favorites using Citra Victorious. And just like the beer it is made with, it’s easy-going and best enjoyed with friends!
Citra Victorious Shrimp with Garlic Butter
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 stick of butter, softened
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 cup Harpoon Citra Victorious beer
- 12 shrimp
- Salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425. Cut off the top point of the head of garlic, exposing the cloves inside. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning, and wrap tightly in foil. Roast in the 425 degree oven until the cloves are slightly brown and soft, usually about 30 minutes.
- While the garlic is roasting, add the Citra Victorious to a pot on the stove. Cook for about 10 minutes and reduce.
- Once the garlic head has cooled, squeeze all of the cloves out of the papery skin. Put the soft garlic cloves in a food processor and add the butter and the beer. Process until smooth. Drop the butter on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a log, making it easy to cut medallions for future recipes. For this recipe, slice about 3 tbs. of the butter and save the rest in an airtight container.
- Add the 3 tbs. garlic beer butter to a pan and melt over medium high heat. Add shrimp, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté on each side until cooked through. Serve immediately with your favorite seasonal veggies, rice, or over a salad.