The 11th Annual Hartford Rib Off


June 19 & 20, 2020

Tickets Available Early 2020

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Hartford Rib Off!
Rib Off Overall Winner – Hog Tied Barbeque

Best Ribs Winner – Hog Tied Barbeque
Best Brisket Winner – Little Mark’s Big BBQ
Best Chicken Winner – Justin’ Time for Nick Jones BBQ

People’s Choice Winner – Big Poppa Pat’s Kickin Bar-B-Q


Beginning in 2017 our venue is the Hartford-Brainard Airport. This incredible large space will enable us to grow with the popularity of our event, and provide fun, food, and music to even more people.
Your Rib Off admission price includes music and unlimited food and drink – children 12 and under always enter for free, and we’ll have organized kids activities. The airport will feature some additional static displays and entertainment including a classic car show, hot air balloons, and an exhibit of aircraft. There will also be war bird and helicopter rides available for an additional fee.

Come enjoy all you can eat and drink, while listening to live music. Choose from BBQ ribs, pulled pork, chicken, and various sides.
Beer will be provided by favorite local brewery, Two Roads Brewing Co., and water and soft drinks are always available for children and designated drivers. Check out the Two Roads VW RC cars, and sample some exotic beers they’ll have for tasting. You can also meet the Trantolo & Trantolo girls in their sponsor tent.

Just announced – Paul Jr. of Paul Jr Designs (Paul Jr. Designs) will be at the 8th Annual Hartford Rib Off! His bikes are coming with him and he will be there all day to sign autographs.

The cook teams spend hours preparing 3 meats for the BBQ competition, which is independently evaluated by a panel of judges, some of whom are Kansas City Certified. .

Before the doors to the event open to the public, the BBQ contest takes place, and once the guests arrive they get to eat the delicious BBQ prepared by the cook teams. Be sure to arrive hungry! For the first time this year, we will be awarding a People’s Choice Trophy to the pitmaster YOU judge to have the best pulled pork! Make sure to visit all 14 cook teams for your pulled pork samples, and cast your vote. The winner of the Rib Off is announced during the event.

We encourage you to bring chairs for comfort, as well as a pop up tent for shade. Sunblock and bug spray are also a good idea!



1:00 – 1:20 pm DJ June Bug

1:25 – 2:25 pm Leaf Jumpers

2:30 – 3:00 pm Rib Off Winners Announced, Charity Introductions

3:05 – 4:00 pm Sage King

4:05 – 4:15 – Peoples Choice Winner Announced

4:20 – 5:30 – Professors of Sweet Sweet Music

5:30 – 6:00 pm DJ June Bug

Kids Schedule

1:00 – 2:00 pm Face Painting

2:00 – 3:00 pm Egg & Spoon Race

3:00 – 4:00 pm Pin the Tail / Transport the Balloon

4:00 – 5:00 pm Sack Race

5:00 – 6:00 pm 3 Legged Race

*Please note, there will be a kids grab bag throughout the day



DJ June Bug – .


Professors of Sweet, Sweet Music – The POSSM are Renaissance Men. We are teachers, coaches, entrepreneurs, surfers, students, athletes, family men and sometimes musicians. We are lucky to have great neighbors, fans, friends and collaborators who have helped make our short career a fantastic ride!
We are having an awesome time playing music that we love (everything from Bob Marley and Johnny Cash to Sublime and Mumford and Sons) and feel very fortunate for the opportunities we’ve had. Our ever expanding group of originals feature the ukulele and the guitar and are influenced by Reggae and many versions
of Rock. We have completed our first EP/demo, and were honored and excited to be voted 1st runner up for best local band/musician in the 2016 Hartford Magazines readers poll. **Just voted best local band in the Best of 2017 Hartford Magazine readers poll!**

Leaf Jumpers

Leaf Jumpers – Formed in 1996, Leaf Jumpers have been creating music together for over 20 years. Formed By singer/guitarist Chris Marra (a native of Guilford) and bassist Spike Kingsley, the band released two full length CD’s during their first five years together. During that time they toured the East Coast from Maine to Georgia and opened for such acts as Sister Hazel, NRBQ, The Drifters, Disco Biscuits, Deep Banana Blackout, Max Creek, and many others. The band broke up in 2001 and reformed briefly in 20003.
In 2013 the band reformed and in 2016 released a new full length CD “A Distant Land”. Their current lineup of Marra, Kingsley, drummer James Anderson, guitarist Matt Splain, and singer/keyboard player Marc Apostolides are playing a full schedule of festivals, fairs and clubs in 2017 in support of the new CD. Their covers range from bands such as
Counting Crows, U2, REM, and other modern classic rock bands. 2017 marks their second appearance at The Branford Festival.


Sage King – Sage King is your Artist and is the newest rising star out of Connecticut. Sage King is an aspiring Rock/Pop artist with an original voice and diverse song writing abilities. Born in Connecticut and influenced by some of the greatest rock, pop, and country artists. Sage King has a vast library of original music and covers.

Cook Teams

Charter Smoke
Charter Smoke from Middletown

Although the name Charter Smoke may have officially appeared in 2012, we’ve been cooking competition BBQ, winning the big checks and breaking hearts since 2009.
It all started back in that magical year of 2004 when our founding member and team Captain, J Ball, graduated from a prestigious culinary university and stumbled upon the two loves of his life: his wife and the delicate art of brisket. It was at this time that he decided to dedicate his life to that seductive mistress we call barbecue.
Our four man team consisting of John Ball, Dan Burgos and the brothers Hurlburt (Tyler and Jesse), have a combined total of nearly 20 years of BBQing experience. Every year we take-on more and more contests, go head-to-head with better and better barbeque cooking teams and refine our skills with each and every showing.

We’ve found there is nothing better in life than getting together on a weekend, cooking some great BBQ and enjoying some good beer.

Hog Tied new
Hog Tied from Enfield 2017 Rib Off Winner 2017 Winner, Best Ribs

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Mayor Mike logo
Mayor Mike’s from Hartford

The Mayor Mike’s Foundation for Kids, an organization created in honor of Hartford’s late, great Mayor Mike Peters, has made its mission to serve underprivileged children in Hartford through financial support of educational and recreational programs. The group’s motto is “Go Hartford!,” evoking the enduring spirit of one of Connecticut’s most dedicated and popular politicians. Since the beloved mayor’s passing in 2008, the foundation has donated more than $170,000 to support local Little Leaguers and hoopsters get registered and outfitted for programs they would otherwise be unable to afford. The foundation holds an annual pasta dinner, a golf tournament and a spring Brews & BBQ party at the Hartford Elks Lodge, featuring food by Mayor Mike’s BB Crüe. Launched by Mayor Peters’ son, Christopher, along with daughter Michelle, nephews Timothy and Paul and niece Bethany, the foundation, and the “Go Hartford!” motto embrace the idea that Hartford is, and will continue to be, a thriving city in the 21st century.

Nick Jones
Nick Jones – 2017 Winner, Best Chicken 2016 Rib Off Winner

Nick Jones BBQ started with a $50 smoker, and a desire to have true BBQ. After years of entertaining friends, honing their signature style, Aaron, Nick and Justin decided to enter the Rib Off in 2015 and Just’in Time for Nick Jones BBQ was born. In just two short years, they went from placing 3rd in 2015 as rookies, to taking the 1st place trophy in 2016. Nick Jones BBQ doesn’t take itself too seriously while making world class BBQ, and brings their brand of fun to the competition.

Pig Bark from Canton

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Wile E new logo
Wile E BBQ from Glastonbury

Wile E. BBQ Pitmaster, Kevin Cofiell, first started smoking meats when he received a smoker as a house warming present in 2013 from his parents. His casual backyard hobby quickly grew as friends and family tried his foods. Kevin experimented with additional meats, appetizers and even side dishes. Wile E. BBQ entered its first BBQ competition, the Hartford Rib Off, in June 2016 and came in 3rd out of 11 teams. Kevin realized that his hobby had the potential to be something much greater. In December 2016, Kevin started Wile E. LLC with the hopes to ultimately make a living from his BBQ. In the few short months in business and very limited advertising, he has already secured several paying events. His dreams of life as a full-time BBQ Pitmaster are on their way.

Pit Crew BBQ
Pit Crew BBQ from Hebron

PitCrew BBQ is a BBQ catering company that has been in existence since 1994. We started out as a competition BBQ team in the Houston Texas area, we cooked on the Houston metro circuit for 10 years doing over 26 competitions per year. We have cooked in other competitions all over the country. In the last 12 years we have strictly done catering for private functions and weddings. We are looking forward to this competition to get back to our cooking Roots.

Taino’s Smokehouse from Middletown

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Smokin Cattle Dog
Smokin’ Cattle Dog BBQ

Founded in 2013, Peter A Krawitz is owner & pit master. He has competed in KCBS events. Student at Jack’s Old South Unadilla, Ga April 2014. Cooks with a horizontal off set reverse flow built in Byron Ga. Favorite protein to cook is Brisket.

Big Poppa Pat
Big Poppa Pat’s Kickin Bar-B-Q 2017 Winner, People’s Choice

Big Poppa Pat’s team is dedicated to creating a total experience for the crowd with excellent smoky flavors and lots of fun. With a good ole boy attitude and a southern heart we love to cook and please our fans’ palates leaving them always wanting more. Our enthusiastic team with big hearts consists of our Big Poppa Pat aka Patrick Hart Jr, Michael Hart, Lisa Standing, Scott Sullivan, Justin Dixon and Morgan Kennerson

Little Mark’s Big BBQ 2017 Winner, Best Brisket

The team for Little Mark’s Big BBQ is led by George Giotsas. George has been smoking and cooking BBQ since 1990 when Little Mark’s Big BBQ opened their doors. Little Mark’s Big BBQ is the oldest running BBQ restaurant in Connecticut and has won many awards for their fare. George has traveled the country sampling some of the country’s best BBQ to perfect his art. With the ever-changing landscape of the restaurant business and economy, George has found a way to stay consistent and keep his food quality up and at a high level. He brings along his staff who have been loyal and with him for a long time. All his sauces and rubs are made in house and fresh. This is the reason why Little Mark’s Big BBQ still makes “Mouth Waterin’ Butt Kickin’ BBQ”

The Grill Sargeants

– The Grill Sargeants are a team of veterans and friends that love cooking, partying, and hanging out with friends having fun. We’re really excited to be a part of this wonderful event and look forward to feeding the masses.

Shmokin’ Shmucks

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Congratulations to the Grand Champions of the 9th Annual Hartford Rib Off, a KCBS Backyard Smoke Contest – Dog Star BBQ!

Saturday June 16, 2018 11:30am – 5:30pm

9th Annual Hartford Rib Off presented by 102.9 The Whale

Ticket Info


  • $65 Adult all-inclusive ticket. There are a limited number of pre-sale discounted adult tickets available for $50.
  • $20 Attendees age 12 – 20 all-inclusive* ticket (*no alcoholic beverages included with this ticket)
  • Children under 12 are always admitted free
  • $120 Family Pack (new this year) 2 adult tickets, and 2 under 21 tickets. There are a very limited number of these family packs available.
  • Limited to 2,000 total attendees.



  • The Hartford Rib Off is a 501(c)(3) and 100% of proceeds benefit local charities. Come have fun with us so we can collectively change our world through the money we raise.
  • Your Rib Off admission price includes unlimited food and drink, music, and activities. Choose from delicious BBQ ribs, pulled pork, chicken, and various sides, all prepared by none other than
  • When you enter with your ticket, and are verified as 21 or over, you will receive one official Hartford Rib Off commemorative cup, which entitles you to unlimited beer pours. Beer is provided by favorite local brewery, Two Roads Brewing Co., and water and soft drinks are always available for children and designated drivers. Additionally, Two Roads is serving samples of a selection of their sour beers for tasting.
  • New this year, we are pleased to welcome our friends at Tito’s Handmade Vodka as our partner. All will now get a chance to enjoy a Tito’s Handmade Vodka inspired drink as part of our all-inclusive offerings.
  • The KCBS Rib Off Backyard Smoke Contest takes place during the event. 18 Pit Masters will spend hours preparing 4 meats for this BBQ contest, which is independently evaluated by a panel of judges, most of whom are KCBS Certified.
  • In addition, we will be awarding a People’s Choice Trophy to the pitmaster *you* judge to have the best pulled pork. Make sure to visit all the cook teams for your pulled pork samples, and cast your vote!
  • The winners of the Rib Off are announced during the event and prizes/trophies will be awarded.
  • Don’t forget to visit our vendors. Many local vendors will be displaying their merchandise and offering samples to attendees.
    There will also be additional items available from vendors for purchase.
  • Last but certainly not least, check out the Hartfod Rib Off Car Show, hosted by The 860 Car and Truck Club. Click for more info.
  • We encourage you to bring chairs for comfort, as well as a pop up tent for shade. Sunblock and bug spray are also a good idea!
  • Check out our Silent Auction and Raffle items!  Raffle tickets will be for sale throughout the day, with winners announced at 5pm.  You must be present to collect your prize if you’re announced as the winner.  Silent Auction bidding will close at 4:30pm.
  • Event location:  Riverside Park, 20 Liebert Road, Hartford


Remember, all proceeds go to the charities we have chosen to support this year.



11:30 Music from 102.9 The Whale, People’s Choice contest begins

12:00 start of kids activities (full schedule to follow)

2:00 West End Blend takes the stage

3:30 People’s Choice contest ends.  KCBS Contest winners announced

4:30  Silent Auction bidding closes

5:00 Raffle Winners announced

Kids Schedule

12:00 Treasure Hunt

1245 Potato Race

1:30  Egg and Spoon Race

2:15  Three Legged Race

2:45  Musical Chairs

3:30  Sack Race

4:15  Tug of War



Since their conception, CT-based Funk/Soul band West End Blend has been playing their version of Funk and Soul in venues all over the Northeast. Fronted by vocalist Erica T. Bryan, the band pays homage to classic throwback sounds while adding their own distinct vibe and flair. Behind her, the Blend packs two guitars, a two-piece horn section, bass, keyboards and drums onto stages every night. From humble beginnings in an epic sweaty funky basement dance party, the Blend’s goal has always been to bring that same atmosphere to every show ever since.

Thank you to our friends at for generously setting up a special rate for the Hartford Rib Off!
For instructions on booking a room at the Goodwin Hotel at the Hartford Rib Off exclusive rate, click here.

This event is presented by: 
This event is sponsored by: and more! Click to see all 2018 Sponsors

The Hartford Rib Off is a fully sanctioned Kansas City Barbeque Society Contest


Stay tuned for 2020 info

Friday June 14, 2019 – The Kick Off Party

What you get:

  • Beer Festival with 20 breweries
  • a commemorative glass for beer samples
  • people’s choice BBQ samples from our Pit Masters
  • access to onsite food trucks and vendors (cost of food not included in admission price)
  • Tito’s Handmade Vodka cocktails
  • live music by our friends The Professors of Sweet Sweet Music. And opening for The POSSM, Portrait Party.
  • unlimited water and soft drinks
  • access to our vendors
  • And of course, the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping your community.

Ticket Prices:

$20 Adult advance ticket ($30 at the door)
$10 Adult designated driver ticket
All Kick Off Party attendees must be age 21+

Stay tuned for 2020 info

Saturday June 15, 2019 – The Hartford Rib Off Main Event

What you get:

  • a commemorative event cup for beer from our friends at Miller Lite
  • all you can eat BBQ buffet under our tent
  • people’s choice BBQ samples from our Pit Masters
  • Tito’s Handmade Vodka cocktails
  • live music by Bon Jersey, and opening for Bon Jersey, we welcome Sage King back to the Hartford Rib Off.
  • unlimited water and soft drinks
  • access to our vendors
  • family friendly fun including kids activities
  • ability to bid on raffles and silent auction items
  • And of course, the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping your community.

Ticket Prices:

$50 Adult advance ticket ($65 at the door)
Kids 12 and under always free
$20 Kids age 13 – 20
$100 Family Pack = 2 adults, 2 children up to age 20



What we get:
The continued ability to donate funds to 3 deserving charities. We love BBQ, but we love helping our community even more!

All proceeds go to these charities.  


The Hartford Rib Off is sanctioned by KCBS  and NEBS  Click here to learn more about competing.