Army veteran raising funds for his local Smokey Bear’s BBQ business

3 weeks ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Inside the Aroostook Centre Mall located next to Crafters Creations Thomas Peers served up his tasty pulled pork sandwiches and assorted barbecue sauces on Veterans Day.

Peers is the owner and pitmaster of Smokey Bear’s BBQ, which he started in 2020. Prior to that he served in the U.S. Army stateside as a chemical operations specialist in a field artillery unit doing chemical reconnaissance for radiological, nuclear, and explosives from 2003 to 2010.

He currently works at Easton’s elementary and junior/senior high schools as the head chef.

Peers estimates he made between $800 and $900 between the food and the sauces he sold on Nov. 11. Peers plans to try out the location in Aroostook Centre Mall and he is also looking at opening a location in Easton tentatively in the spring of 2024.

“We are the 2023 champions for the BBQ cook-off for pulled pork, so that’s why I went with that [for today],” Peers said.

Suggested donations of around $13 for a pulled pork sandwich with chips and a drink are going to be used toward opening his restaurant in the Easton Center — the same location of the previous Amish Bakery, according to Peers.

The 5th anniversary of Fort Fairfield’s barbecue competition, called the Chamber’s Smokin’ BBQ Cook-Off Competition, was held in Fort Fairfield in the summer. Peers won awards for pork, chicken, ribs, and the chef choice category for his barbecue sauces.

“We’ve got enough food and supplies for at least a good two to three hundred people,” Peers said.

Throughout Veterans Day between 60 and 70 veterans were served Peers’ barbecue recipes, he said.

Peers also offered sample tastings of his eight sauces in the mall, which were also available for purchase inside the store for hobbyists. 

The flavors range from seasonal sauces like pumpkin spice, Alabama white, smokey bacon and molasses, and his original barbecue sauce called “That Sauce.”

Peers got the idea for Smokey Bear’s BBQ in 2018 and also enrolled in the Fort Fairfield barbecue competition during the same year.