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Jun 27, 2007 11:44 AM

New Englands Best BBQ

I've been reading some of the dissatisfaction people had with the Phantom Gourmet Beach Party so I thought I'd share some info about the best bbq in New England. If you would like to sample bbq from New Englands best BBQ chefs there are two events coming up where you can do that.

The first event is outside of New England this weekend in Lake Placid New York. Several top New England BBQ teams will be participating in a peoples choice rib contest on Saturday June 30th. More info about the event can be found at

The Second event is the Harpoon Championship of New England in Windsor Vermont on July 28th and 29th. All of the top bbq teams in New England will be there vending.

Both of these events have live music and things for the kids to do. Lake Placid did not have beer last year and I'm not sure if they will this year.

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  1. I have been to the Harpoon one the last 3 years . Excellent food, lines are almost non existent . They also have informative cooking demos ( with free samples afterwards ) running all day long and booths with reasonably priced BBQ accessories/sauces/etc.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Msample

      We have attended Harpoon several times. Always good food, and plenty of things for non-beer drinkers too. Lots of free tasties, and the Strongman competition on Saturday is always fun to watch. No drunks, no rowdies either.
      Try the Hawg wings, and Harpoon lets designated drivers get free sodas. Love their cream soda!

    2. Best barbeque in New England? Isn't that kinda like having a contest for the best clam chowder in the Midwest? Seriously -- I'm skeptical, but I'd love to hear more.

      3 Replies
      1. re: tripster

        Two words, Bobby Q's in westport CT. Great Stuff. Everytime I go it's spot on! I typically think most BBQ is sub-par in NE. This is the real deal its got the smoke-ring, and they don't try to drown it in sauce. The sauces are on the table and are meant to be applied sparingly. I don't know if they sell the sauce but I would definately buy it!

        1. re: tripster

          Reply to tripster:
          Not exactly. There aren't any ingredients necessary for BBQ that are not local and native to New England. We have pigs, a variety of smoking woods (maple, oak, hickory, apple, cherry, etc.), and we know how to light a fire. Whatever dry rub spices (garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper, etc.) that one chooses to use are as available here as they are in Memphis or Raleigh. We have the building blocks for good BBQ. But the demand hasn't been too high, and we don't really live in an area where BBQ is a lifestyle. So it hasn't developed the way it has in other parts of the country. To have really good BBQ, you need dozens of restaurants competing for the same audience. Competiton pushes the quality, and the lesser places don't survive. We simply don't have the competiton yet. Maybe we never will. But in theory, things could change. Not so for clam chowder in the midwest. By definition, it can't be made with quoahogs that came out of the ocean a few hours ago. You are going to be starting with canned clams and canned/bottled clam juice. They simply don't have the access to the same ingredients. That will never change, barring extreme global warming that makes Ohio a coastal state.

          1. re: tripster

            Back in 2004, The Kansas City Baron of BBQ Paul Kirk came to Harpoon to compete against 37 other teams. Best he did was 10th in Pork.

          2. The Best BBQ in NE is a misnomer. Many of the BBQ teams are from the south :-)

            3 Replies
            1. re: RudyH

              Ha ha, so true. My new favorite is a little place on Elm St. in Manch. NH - Premier Palette (southern soul place) - couple is from Georgia. :-) They know how to do it all just right!!! You don't go to Texas for a great chowda right???? Our regions have their specialties.

              1. re: lexpatti

                The winner of last year's Lake Placid contest was a team from Fitzwilliam NH. But that won't convince the "they-can't-make-in-in-NE" crowd. But a trip to LJs BBQ might. Maybe not as good as you might get from a road-sice smoker, but pretty darn good.

                1. re: dogloverv2

                  If I understand it right, LJ's recipes are from Arkansas and Virginia (family favorites). I'm not saying us yankees can't do bbq but I don't mind giving credit where credit is due - Southerners know how to bbq.