007 Rohan Peterson – Teams & Teamwork

007 Rohan Peterson -
Teams &

In Episode Seven of the Comp Ready series of The Smoking Hot Confessions Podcast, I chat with Rohan Peterson from Ro ’N’ Slow BBQ Team, or as I like to call him, the Thunder from Down Down Down Under, as he hails all the way from sunny, warm Tasmania.

The Ro’N’Slow BBQ team competes on the mainland and if I was interested in teasing him, I’d say that that makes him one of Australia’s few International competition BBQ teams. In this Episode, Rohan is here to talk to us about teams and teamwork, quite possibly one of the most important topics in this series.

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!

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  • Competition BBQ is gathering traction in Tasmania at the moment, primarily due to Rohan pushing the sport
  • There’s currently only ONE BBQ joint in Launceston and not much else
  • His team name Ro’n’Slow is a play on words, mashing up his name with the style of cooking low’n’slow
  • His brother helps out from time to time, mostly helping out with the set up and pack up and leaving the BBQ side of things to Rohan
  • Rohan started a regular BBQ ‘popup’ in a friend’s café
    • It lets him practice his flavour profiles on a wide audience
    • He gets honest feedback as paying customers will always be more direct than people getting the food for free
    • This will result in nailing your flavour profiles faster as if you’re just doing it at home, you’re not going to be cooking enough
    • Plus, his wife and kids are vegetarian so he doesn’t get much feedback at home at all
    • He also uses his popup to drive interest in the low’n’slow movement
  • At the time of recording, there is yet to be a sanctioned ABA comp in Tasmania
  • To get to a comp, he has to:
    • Pack his ute and trailer, but he tries to leave the trailer at home
    • Drive to Davenport
    • He has to usually pull his offset smokers apart just to get under the height restrictions
    • The ride is rough and intimidating
    • The trip is very expensive: for a ute and trailer and four people, was $1800 return just for the boat ride
    • He doesn’t think he’s put in any more effort than anybody else as other competitors have driven four days across the Nullabor to compete
  • The furthest he’s travelled was to Port Mac, but he flew and so it was cheap and quick
  • The most expensive trip was when he competed in Canberra. He had to get to the mainland, and then drive to Canberra, blowing a radiator on the way
  • One of the keys to getting good results is having a team that works well together where everyone knows their role and does it well
  • Some smoked vegetarian ideas:
    • Tofu
    • Marrow (the vegetable)
    • Portobello mushrooms, especially with a meat-free lamb marinade
  • Team make-up

    • Recently he’s changed his team format to husband and wife in order to be able to take his family with him as his children miss him too much
    • Having kids around though, is harder than having drunken teammates around
    • The team of four
      • Started as three blokes getting together and having a few beers and cooking whatever they could find
      • The priorities were party first, BBQ second
    • When picking team mates
      • You’ve got to be good friends to start with so you can all take constructive criticism from each other
      • You’ll be staying awake for long periods of time, usually alcohol is involved, and you’ll be stressed
    • If you’re serious and you want to win, there’s no difference to cricket or football so you need to have team members that work well together as a team
    • If you want to have fun, put together a gypsy team and have a crack
    • Gypsy team members often don’t have the same level of commitment as the pit boss
    • Rohan believes all team members should cross-train rather than specialise
      • Specialising leads to putting on blinkers and leads to stifling innovation
    • Teams don’t need to practice under competition conditions, but the team recipes and box preparation and hand-in are important to practice
      • For example, you need to learn what times your meats will cook in, especially pork ribs as most pork ribs in Australia don’t stand up to 3-2-1
      • Work out your recipe times, work backwards from your hand-in times to prepare your competition schedule and make sure you write it down as once you get tired, you’ll forget
    • Re divvying up the storage and transportation of equipment and costs
      • When he had his four-person team, they would split everything down the line
      • If you have a gypsy team, it’s harder to justify asking them to contribute to costs
      • If all members are equally committed, then the financial issue won’t be an issue
    • To get to a competition
      • He spends a day planning
      • A day packing
      • One day driving around picking up team mates
      • One day and night on the boat
      • One day to get to the competition
      • And then with everything home again, it takes him 7 to 8 days for each comp
    • In customs, many things are eligible to be inspected:
      • Axes, hatchets, Cambros
      • This means he has to specifically pack his ute a certain way to make customs inspections easier
      • The customs visits are as rigorous as if it were an overseas trip, meaning that he’s eligible to have his ute stripped down and inspected, only to have to repack it on the wharf
      • Food products can’t be brought in and out of Tasmania so his pits have to be impeccably clean
      • They could technically make him take off his offsets and pressure clean them before bringing them back to Tasmania
  • His favourite comp is Creekside
  • He’d like to see the Australian scene work towards more an Australian style
  • Small beef producers are the best in Australia and they need to be encouraged to get into competition BBQ to compete against the demand overseas
  • He urges BBQers to support local butchers over supermarkets
  • Three pieces of advice:
    • Increase your credit card limit
    • Find a competition close to you and test the waters before you fully commit to it
    • Avoid a Gypsy Team of Ringers and try and get the best team together that you can


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