001 Adam Roberts – The ABA

001 Adam Roberts -

In this, the first episode of the Smoking Hot Confessions Podcast, I interview Adam Roberts, co-founder of the Australasian Barbecue Alliance. Adam is one third of the team that has brought the Low’n’Slow movement to the forefront of Australian culture.

In this interview Adam reveals not only his own background as a foodie and BBQ enthusiast, but also the history of the ABA, what you need to know as a competitor, how to become a qualified judge and gives us a sneak peak of what’s coming for the ABA in 2017.

Thanks and appreciation go to Coastline Barbeques and Heating for sponsoring the first series of the Smoking Hot Confessions podcast. Check out their website for more!



  • Adam has always been a foodie, previously running an American-themed food truck with a New York street food theme
  • First started out cooking pulled pork in an indoor oven and blew up a few
  • The ABA was founded in 2014 by Adam, Jay Beaumont and Jess Pryles. Adam is the winningest co-founder, competing in Piggy Butt Brain
  • There were 2 events in 2014, 6 in 2015, 18 in 2016. There are 25 on the calendar already for 2017 but Adam is predicting 30 to 35
  • There were 100 BBQ teams in 2015 and 204 in 2016
  • The mission of the ABA is to promote Low and Slow around Australasia and this year is moving to NZ
  • The ABA not just sanctions competitions but also does product reviews and gives tips and advice
  • Starting a sanctioning body for a sport is not easy. You need strategic plans and paperwork to be submitted to sponsors and partners
  • The ABA does not run events, the ABA handles the process and the adjudication of the BBQ competitions as part of the wider event
  • The promoters choose the categories to be competed in at the competition
  • There are three levels of categories
    • Championship Series categories – adding to the leader board
    • Event Grand Championship categories – add up to the Grand Championship prize for an individual event
    • Supplementary categories – unique categories that do not contribute to either Event Grand Championships or the Championship Series
  • All meats are presented to judges in a 9 x 9 inch box, without garnish
  • The judging process:
    • Every judge must do the judges course. New judges will take the course first thing in the morning on competition day
    • The course will be free in 2017
    • The judges course will be published on line so that competitors and the public can see what the judges are being trained to look for
    • Judging is out of 10 on Presentation, Texture and Taste
      • Presentation is weighted to ten points
      • Texture is weighted to 20
      • Taste is weighted to 30
    • The judging system is blind – there is no way for a judge to know who’s box they’ve gotten
    • Any attempts by a team to make their entry identifiable will be dealt with by the Head Judges
    • Cheaters will be banned for life
  • To be a judge at a competition, contact the promoter as soon as you see the event announced
  • Adam prefers rubs and sauces to marinading
  • Sustainability of the ABA has been the main focus of the organisation to ensure that they can keep doing what they’ve been doing well into the future
  • A minimum of 40 – 50 hours is spent working with promoters before an event to make sure that quality is maintained
  • Adam’s Top 3 tips –
    • Just have a go but don’t put too much pressure on yourself
    • Don’t cook what you think judges are looking for. Cook what you’ve been cooking at home
    • Get out there and introduce yourself to everybody. Enjoy to the culture of competition BBQ
  • Can find the Australasian BBQ Alliance at their website, or join the Australasian Barbecue Alliance Facebook Group, currently with 22,000 people in there
  • You can email Adam directly


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