The extreme heat was even hotter for those behind the grills of the 2019 Kitchener Ribfest and Craft Beer Show.

A heat warning was in effect for Waterloo Region on Saturday as vendors served up ribs in Kitchener’s Victoria Park.

Will Haase of Silver Bullet BBQ says they were also feeling the heat of the competition.

“Our main competition here would probably be Boss Hogs,” he said. “They seem to have quite a following in Kitchener, but we’d like to change that.”

This is the first year at the festival for the Guelph-based Silver Bullet crew.

“I would say what makes us unique is we individually hand rub each rib with a secret blend of spice,” said Haase. “They go into our southern smoker for about four and a half hours and then they come out to get charcoal grilled over an open flame.”

They say they hope their unique approach is enough to dethrone Boss Hogs, who have been the People’s Choice award winners for the last five years.

Boss Hogs BBQ proprietor Tom Diavolitsis says they’ve been in Kitchener since 2004 and the ribfest was their first event.

“We won all three awards: best sauce, best ribs, and best chicken,” he said. “It’s a bit sentimental to me. I always love coming back here. I really take every award seriously at every event, but this one I put a little extra more in.

“We’re here at six in the morning preparing the judges ribs.”