Brian Harbaugh is just as surprised as everyone else that a small barbecue cook-out he started with friends seven years ago would evolve into an all-day competition with hundreds of guests. "Did I ever expect the event to grow like it has? Absolutely not. It was just me and like 20 friends talking smack back and forth about barbecue. But it's huge now ... last year we had 400 people and we're prepared to handle more this year."
All this for an event Harbaugh has never advertised or sought any publicity for. Har-B-Q has grown organically through word of mouth and this Saturday, several hundred friends, neighbors and strangers will likely descend into Harbaugh's yard. Yes, the event takes place at his house on a cul-de-sac in Olathe (17148 S. Bradley Drive).
The goal is that by the end of the day there will be no strangers. "I know how you can go to the American Royal and you have to pay a cover, and then pay for food and they're not allowed to hand out samples. We're not like that ... we're all about having fun and handing out samples ... this is the friendliest barbecue event you'll ever go to."
While the event lasts all day -- most teams will be out prepping by 6 a.m. -- the true party gets started around 1 p.m. That's when Harbaugh expects the crowd to start arriving. (Though people are welcome whenever.) Around 7, barbecue awards get handed out in six categories including beef, pork and the most creative team booth. Each team has a theme; Harbaugh's is Grilligan's Island. Another team calls itself Pirates of the Grillibean.
After the awards is when most of the samples are handed out and the party really starts. It goes "until whenever it ends ... last year we stopped at midnight and there was still 200 or so people around."
No reservation needed for Har-B-Q. Just show with a hungry stomach, a mind open to meeting new people and preferably your own booze if you feel like drinking.
Image via Flickr: Shainelee