014 Live @ Clean Heat Rib-Off 2017

014 Live @

Not too long ago I was very privileged to have the opportunity to MC the Clean Heat Charcoal BBQ Rib-Off for Underground BBQ. It was the first competition of its kind in Australia and it was a hell of a great day out. It was essentially a down-and-dirty grudge match to work out who cooks the best pork ribs in Australia once and for all, earning themselves the title of Rib King or Queen. Oh, and a cool $1,000. In cash!

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Abel fr. Clean Heat Charcoal

  • Imports charcoal from Namibia
  • Clears a noxious weed and uses it to make charcoal
  • His products are all 100% natural
  • He employs locals to do all the work, giving them employment, income etc

Adam fr. The Vineyard

  • The Vineyard is a cultural icon in Melbourne
  • It has been a steak house for most of its life
  • The current owners have had it since 1999

Brenton fr. Misty Gully

  • They 25 different species of smoking woods available to the public
  • Woods are either imported from the States or sources within Australia
  • They do logs, chunks, chips and dust
  • Based in Reservoir in the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne. They ship all around Australia
  • Online retail store – smokedandcured.com.au
  • The bigger the form of the wood, the longer it’s going to burn / smoke
  • Soaking chips and chunks – Brenton soaks them for the sake of flavour, using different liquids such as apple juice or apple cider vinegar. Peach chips with Golden Ale is a favourite of his

Linda and Chloe fr. Pits Perfect

  • Likes to avoid ribs that fall off the bone
  • Is cooking her ribs 2.5 hrs unwrapped, 0.5 hrs wrapped and then just see how long it takes to get a good glaze
  • Judges can be taught what they should be looking for but they will always score according to what they do or don’t like
  • Pits Perfect has been cooking on Clean Heat for a while
  • Clean Heat burns really clean with no odd smells and it burns evenly for long periods
  • Their new smoker is a reverse flow trailer smoker from Hog Pit Smokers
  • Try and avoid being too adventurous with flavours if competing in rural areas – they tend to like more traditional style recipes

Lukas and Shane fr. Rollin Smoke BBQ

  • They like to do their ribs hot and fast
  • Lukas has been the Rib King in the past but was not the current Rib King at the time of the competition
  • Lukas prefers Pecan wood for smoking as he likes the smell of it as it’s burning

Jonathon, Al & Booma fr. Full Metal Kettle

  • They were trying a method based on the 3-2-1 method. Alterations need to be made depending on the rack of ribs that you have
  • They are 2016’s #1 team for pork ribs
  • They are a Melbourne based team
  • They do most of their cooking on kettles, but find that there isn’t a big difference between cooking on kettles or offsets – it just comes down to fire management
  • A hotter fire is a cleaner fire, 275F+. A colder fire will generate white smoke which will give your meat a bitter taste

Kyle & Paul fr Rub N Grub

  • Were 2016’s #2 scoring team in Pork Ribs
  • Their secret to success is polishing their flavour profiles
  • They allocate proteins to particular team members
  • Clean Heat is the go-to charcoal for South Australia
  • The rain doesn’t bother the smokers as they are 5mm steel, which retains the heat
  • When preparing a flavour profile for ribs: they like to go heavy with a dry rub and go for sweet with mild heat
  • They like to aim for 3-2-1 when doing ribs, but need to adjust sometimes depending on each individual rack

Saffron fr. Bush Kitchen

  • Known as the Rib Queen since 2012 when she won ribs at the Royale
  • Has now relocated to Seattle
  • Tips for ribs – try not to over think trimming your ribs: just clean up the edges and make it look neat ‘Accept the meat for what it is and try to do your best with it’
  • Saffron likes to use an acidic lather before putting on the spice rub, either mustard or Worcestershire sauce
  • Saffron aims for 3-2-1 but plays it by ear. She will wrap as soon as she has the colour she wants

Craig fr. Suck Knuckle Smokers

  • 2016 #1 team across the board
  • The judging process involves looking for taste, texture and appearance
  • With a level playing field, winning will come down to the individual Pitmasters’ techniques




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