Brisbane BBQ Festival 2016

Last weekend I was priviledged to be a judge at the second Brisbane BBQ Festival. I am very happy to report that the Brisbane BBQ Festival was incredible on all levels, from the venues, to the vendors, and of course to the competitors. The Brisbane BBQ Festival truly was Bigger, Better and Longer than before! 

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A beautiful winter’s day in Brisvegas!

Learning from History

It’s fair to say that the feedback from the public after last year’s festival was ‘controversial’ to say the least. I was there and whilst I recognised the drawbacks, there were still too many points of excellence to more than balance out the issues that it had. (Read my review of last year’s festival). What I can assure you is that event promoter Dom has clearly personally read every single one of those issues and addressed them individually when planning this year’s event.

The Venue

Firstly, the new venue was incredible. This year, the Brisbane BBQ Festival was held at the hallowed RNA Showgrounds. There was loads of space for the 6,000+ people present at the festival as well as the bands, food trucks, vendors, and competitor teams. Of particular note, I was super excited to see one of my favourite bands The Walters doing their thing up on the stage.

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Bella BBQ – one of the amazing food trucks at the festival…

Most impressive however was the thought that had been put into the logisitics of the event. The whole event was very clearly organised into signposted areas and everything was very easy to find. I particularly liked the inclusion of the undercover area which was so big it could have accomodated the entire crowd in the event of rain. However, there was not a single cloud in sight on the day.

The People

The Pit Yard was sensational, with over 41 teams competing for glory, including TV personalities from Channel 7’s Aussie BBQ Heroes, the Flamin Mongrels, Natural Born Grillers, and the Shank Bros. Not only that, but the host of that same show, Jess Pryles was there to MC the whole event. Much respect to grand champions The Meat Sweats on taking out the big prize for the second year running, succesfully defending their title.

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Winner of the Coolest Team Name Award goes to…

The Rigs

Speaking of the Pit Yard, as a huge BBQ nerd it was great to see all the different rigs that the teams were cooking on. There was everything from massive trailer mounted offsets, to DIY smokers. Some of these had clearly taken some design cues from Mad Max!

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This is what happens when Mad Max designs your smoker…

For the Crowds

There was also plenty for the public to see as well, including demonstrations, Q&As with expert panels and even a butchering class with the fine lads from Meat at Billy’s showing how to prepare some of your favourite cuts of meat. Hillbilly Wes from Bovine and Swine was there giving a whole hog demonstration which was very impressive.

There were BBQ’s on show from atleast a dozen different manufacturers, covering all possible cooking styles, and fuels. If American cars are your thing, there was even a few of those around for the public to admire.

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Like your Caddies? Dom’s got you covered!

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The best sign you’re ever going to see!

The Judging

As stated earlier, I was there to judge the competition, which was sanctioned by the Australasian BBQ Alliance. I, and my stomach, are very pleased to say that Australia’s finest brought their A-Game to the Brisbane BBQ Festival. There were five categories, Chicken, Lamb, Pork Ribs, Pork and Beef.

You might be asking why there are two separate categories for Pork Ribs and Pork. Each promoter gets to pick their own categories. In this case, one category just for Pork Ribs, and another for any other cuts of pork. The hand-ins that I saw included Pulled Pork and ‘Money Muscle’. Due to my bad behaviour at last year’s festival the rules were changed so that judges were not permitted in the Pit Yard until after the hand-ins were over. This meant I couldn’t get any piccies of the amazing food that was being cooked up. It’s a shame, but it make ssense that judges not be allowed in the Pit Yard in case they recognise something. You’ll just have to take my word for it that it was amazing!

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These Radar Hills are just so damn photogenic!

 It was really such an incredible day out. If you didn’t make it there you should take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself some hard questions. The Brisbane BBQ Festival is a world-class BBQ event has earned a permanent place in Australia’s competitive BBQ circuit. I’ve already penciled in the date for next year’s festival. Have you?

My full photo gallery of the event is over here.

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