The Hartford Rib Off


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Welcome to the Hartford Rib Off, a two-day charity event, including SCA and KCBS sanctioned
BBQ contests in the state of Connecticut in 2020.

**Out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of everyone during this trying time, we have rescheduled the Hartford Rib Off**



Friday is an SCA Contest, being held at the Hartford Rib Off Kick Off Party, October 23, 2020.
Saturday is a KCBS Master Series Contest, being held at the 11th Annual Hartford Rib Off Main Event, October 24, 2020.
Cook teams have the option of competing in either just the SCA Contest, just the KCBS contest, or both the KCBS and SCA contests.

  • The Hartford Rib Off will follow SCA rules for Friday and KCBS rules for Saturday. You may compete in SCA Friday, October 23 only, in KCBS Saturday, October 24 only; or in both contests, SCA Friday, October 23, and KCBS Saturday, October 24.
  • There will be SCA and KBCS Representatives at the Hartford Rib Off. They will be available to answer questions and will also be making certain that everyone – organizers, cook teams, and judges – follows the SCA rules and KCBS  rules.
  • Friday night is an SCA Contest with 2 judged meats (steak and chicken wings) and 1 people’s choice selection (chicken wings). Your SCA Contest steaks will be provided to you by the event organizers. Pit Masters/Cook Teams are responsible for supplying the remaining proteins they will be judged on in the contest.
  • Saturday is a KCBS Master Series Contest with 4 judged meats (ribs, chicken, brisket, and pork) and 2 people’s choice selection (ribs, pulled pork). Pit Masters/Cook Teams are responsible for supplying the proteins they will be judged on for the KCBS contest.
  • People’s Choice Contest: Teams choosing to participate in the People’s Choice contest must participate on both Friday and Saturday. The people’s choice contest will be capped at 15 teams, first come first served. Those 15 teams will receive a 25% discount on their entry fee and will receive a bump up of 1 space size. All people’s choice competitors will be grouped in the same general area. The people’s choice contest will take place on Friday night for 1 hour only [time TBD] and on Saturday for 2 one-hour blocks only [times TBD], not throughout the entire event. Voting for each day will be completely separate via token, and winners will be announced at the same time as the contest winners. The people’s choice contest is an integral part of our event, and we encourage teams to participate. The event will provide the protein for the people’s choice contest. The prize for the people’s choice first place winner on Friday is $400, with additional prizes for placers. The prize for the first place people’s choice winners on Saturday is $400, with additional prizes for placers.
  • Details about the permitted contest meats are located in the Cook Team packet and the KCBS rules.
  • Your competition meat will be inspected prior to any preparation for entry into the contest. The inspection will be performed by the SCA and KCBS Reps. Meat inspection guidelines can be reviewed here.
  • The grand prize is a cash purse TBD.  Many winners, regardless of place, will also receive a trophy.
  • The SCA and KCBS reps will hold a cooks meeting at the venue.
  • With the exception of spaces for teams only participating in the SCA Contest, each standard team space will be 20′ x 30′ and will be marked, abutting one another. You may request a larger space, either 20′ x 40′ or 20′ x 50′, for an additional cost. These costs are detailed on the Cook Team Application. Teams only participating in the SCA Contest will be 10’ x 10’.
  • We will send out our Cook Team information packet via email, as well as being available here (coming soon). All detailed rules and regulations will be included, as well as general contest and event information.  Friday Night SCA Steak Rules   Friday Night Chicken Wings Rules  Saturday KCBS Rules
  • Every cook team participating in the people’s choice contest must complete a temporary food vendor permit for the City of Hartford. This will be emailed to you, but you can also access it here: Temporary Food Vendor Application
  • Each team will receive up to 6 access-only passes for the event.  This grants access to the venue, but does not entitle bearer to food or drink.  Up to 4 event passes will be made available for purchase to each team, at a 50% discount, and must be purchased in advance.  No team event passes will be sold on the day of the event.  Please contact us to purchase.

Check out who’s competing in The Hartford Rib Off in 2020!


Wile E new logo
Wile E. BBQ
2019 – 3rd Place Steak
2019 – 4th Place Ribs
2019 – 5th Place Pork
2018 – KCBS 5th Place Overall
2018 – People’s Choice Pulled Pork

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.

Charter Smoke Barbecue

2019 – NEBS Reserve Champion
2019 – 1st Place Wings (Maximum Score)

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 Barbecue
2019 – Winner People’s Choice Wings
2019 – Winner People’s Choice Pulled Pork
2019 – 3rd Place Wings
2018 – Rib Off 4th Place Overall
2018 – 2nd Place Pork
2018 – 3rd Place Ribs
2017 – Rib Off Grand Champion
2017 – Best Ribs
2016 – Best Ribs
2015 – Best Chicken
2014 – Best Brisket

Hog Tied BBQ started as a name for a custom BBQ trailer  built in 2003 for Pitmaster Frank Balsamo’s 30th Birthday. It was from there on that the name stuck with him and BBQ was in his blood. As the years went on he honed in on his craft and he became involved in the Hartford Rib Off. With the help of his teammates Mike, Steve, Richie and Timmy by his side they are a force to be reckoned with year after year placing very well. All this while have a great time at what they do and benefiting the community. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram at Hog Tied BBQ .

Titans Of BBQ
2019 – 4th Place Wings
2019 – 5th Place Ribs
2018 – People’s Choice Winner BBQ Sauce

The members of Titans of BBQ became friends through their daughters’ love of fast pitch softball where the girls play together for the CT Titans softball club. Our pit masters quickly discovered a shared passion for BBQ which turned into showcases of great BBQ at team functions. Fast forward three years and BBQ team leaders Brian Oatway, Sam Johnson and Jason Breault are excited to make the 2018 Hartford Rib Off our first competition. We look forward to a great time and making new friends. Keep your eyes out for our softball girls volunteering at the event!

Holland Family Tennessee Smoke
“you ain’t had hog, til you had Tennessee hog”
2018 – 5th Place Chicken
2018 – 5th Place Ribs

The Holland Family Tennessee Smoke from Broad Brook CT is just as the name says “family”. Inspired by the Holland sisters of east Tennessee, our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and their Smoky Mountains BBQ/Smoking recipes. Every year the Holland cousins gather in Gatlinburg in the Great Smoky Mountains recreating the great tastes passed down for generations and now we bring these unique tastes and flavors to the Hartford Rib Off. You may have heard the mountains get their name from the Cherokee Indians, who called them “shaconage”, meaning, “place of the blue smoke” Actually the smoke was from the Holland clan doing up chicken, ribs, pork and beef briskets. That same smoke now lingers over Broad Brook. In 2018 we were the “newbee’s” to competition and our ribs and chicken both had respectable 5th place finishes. In 2019 technical difficulties kept us out of the running. With that said and 2 years of preparation and practice, we know that HFTS will be a serious contender this year. The team is led “Pitmaster” Michael Johnson, Doreen Johnson, Michelle Johnson, Heidi Januszewski, Sam Hilliman and Linda Wise, all of the Broad Brook clan.

Team Pig Bark
2018 3rd Place Grill Off Overall

What started as a fun backyard competition between friends, Hartford Riboff founder Guy Neumann and co-founder Jonathan Sablon, quickly morphed into a highly successful annual charity event. In 2009, chef and team captain Jonathan Sablon formed Team Pig Bark based out of Canton, CT. Jonathan hand-picked a team of friends that shared his love and passion for BBQ, experimenting with various cooking techniques, great beer, fun, family, and philanthropy. They’ve not looked back since! This talented team, which also includes members Paul Frazer, Mike Frazer, Paul Gallant and Bill Wendent, built a one-of-a-kind, custom smoker from a repurposed 275 gallon oil tank. Boasting a 55 gallon offset smokebox made with a wood stove conversion kit, this beauty uses only 100% natural wood- no propane or electric here! If you’ve been to the last several Rib Offs you’ve seen this magnificent beast. After several years of test runs and experimenting with techniques to perfect the cooking system, not to mention Jonathan’s mouth-watering dry rubs and sauces, the flavors that come out of this will make you cry tears of joy. Team Pig Bark is proud to participate in this fun event that supports some very worthy charities.

Twinning BBQ

2019 – NEBS 4th Place Overall
2019 – 2nd Place Steak
2019 – 5th Place Chicken
2019 – 3rd Place Brisket
2018 – Grill Off Grand Champion
2018 – KCBS 3rd Place Overall
2018 – 1st Place Steak
2018 – 1st Place Ribs
2018 – 1st Place Brisket
2018 – 3rd Place Chicken

Twinning BBQ was started in 2017 by myself (Andrew Marcelliano) and my twin brother, Pete, hence the name Twinning BBQ! We have cooked at home for years, but, in 2017 we decided to test what we had and decided to compete in 4 competitions. Our first competition we finished middle of the pack and boy did we learn a lot. However, cooking in KCBS events we were not discouraged and placed decently throughout most of the season. In our final competition we finished first place chicken and reserve grand champion! We were pumped. It’s amazing what you can learn in a year when you really put some time into your cooks. We were also blown away at how competitive BBQ is compared to good ol’ backyard cooking for friends and family. We cook on very simple equipment and love our Green Mountain Grills and Pit Barrel Cookers. Our goal for this year is to update our equipment and pick up a Meadow Creek BX50 or Backwoods Competitor. So, even though we are very new to competitive BBQ game, we are no strangers to cooking BBQ. Just throughout the past year, we have enjoyed learning and creating our own brand and hope to one day make a career out of cooking delicious smoked meats for all.
Dog Star BBQ
2019 – NEBS 5th Place Overall
2018 – KCBS Grand Champion
2018 – 1st Place Chicken
2018 – 2nd Place Ribs
2018 – 2nd Place Brisket
2015 – Rib Off Grand Champion

Proud to have been a part of the Rib Off since 2011 (then known as Maple Leaf BBQ), the cook team led by Pitmaster Eric Michaud, Dan McCabe, Angelo Casagrande and Lou Zarchen share not only a passion for mouth-watering BBQ, but for rescuing dogs and finding each of them life-long homes. This unbeatable combination of BBQ know-how and pure heart has earned them the 2015 Grand Championship at the Hartford Rib off, along with a sponsorship to the New England BBQ Championship! This year the team is proud to welcome new team member, Mike Murak!

Sticks & Stones BBQ

The Sticks & Stones BBQ Team was created by Scott MacDonald in 2018. A lifelong BBQ enthusiast, Scott started in the competition arena as a member and student of local BBQ royalty Steven Stark of Burnt Offerings BBQ Co. While still fully committed to his position with Burnt Offerings, Scott decided to create his own “offering” to the local BBQ scene as a secondary project in order to compete locally when scheduling permits. Scott and his team are excited and honored to be competing along side some of Connecticut’s most regarded BBQ’er’s at the 2019 Hartford Rib Off and look forward to meeting any and all who stop by the tent!

Heavenly Smoke BBQ

It all started with appeasing my wife, she’s from Texas. She always complained she couldn’t get a good smoked brisket up here in New England. So I set out to the backyard and built a smoker, and started my quest to make the best brisket this side of the Mason Dixon line. There were many ups and downs to this, but finally came up with a winner. One thing lead to another and my friends and family started having me barbecue for them. These events propelled me to launch a business and have a mobile smoker catering trailer made. Heavenly Smoke BBQ was founded by Jeff Matthews January of 2019. Heavenly Smoke BBQ is a five man team, of friends that enjoy barbecue. We’re based out of Bristol, CT and are new to the competition BBQ scene.

2019 – NEBS 3rd Place Overall
2019 – 1st Place Steak

HokiePokieQ also has a Kids-Q arm with HokiePokieQ NextGen. We have focused on NEBS BBQ/Grilling competitions earning 2nd and 1st place in Ken Dakai+Tailgate / KidsQ TOY respectively in 2018. We have recently been extending our presence also in KCBS events and hope for future good results.

Big Poppa Pat’s BBQ Rubs and Sauces
2018 – 3rd Place Shrimp
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

T-Bone BBQ
2019 – 4th Place Chicken

T-Bone BBQ is a Massachusetts based BBQ team made up of a husband and wife duo. Kathy the organizational GURU of T-Bone BBQ. From start to finish Kathy orchestrates the prep to finishing touches to all their turn-ins. Kathy has been featured for her media work in Huffington Post, NBC, NECN, and many local affiliate markets. Kathy likes to compete in BBQ competitions that give back. Her favorite events support Fire Departments, Veterans Organizations, and Non-Profits that support children in need. With her husband Tom by her side, they compete as T-Bone BBQ. Tom is a managing software developer. He spends his free time cleaning the pits, middle of the night BBQ wake ups and being Kathy’s second set of eyes. Tom also is always on the lookout for American Made BBQ accessories and rubs for Kathy to review. Tom enjoys having the time to BBQ to relax from his crazy day time schedule. He fuels American Made Smokers and fills it with endless flavorful recipes and tasty tidbits about BBQ.