024 Bronnie – 4670BBQ

024 Bronnie -

For Ep 5 of ‘Living the Dream’ Bronnie from 4670BBQ takes a seat in the Confessional to reveal all the behind-the-scenes goings-on at BBQ competitions. She tells all the stuff we don’t know about how BBQ competitions are put together, executed, and of course how she navigates the political minefields that typically separate competitors from sponsors and vendors. If you’ve ever had the idea of running your own comp, this episode is for you!

Much thanks and appreciation go to this episodes sponsors:

Ministry of Smoke

Harvey’s Kitchen

JAGRD Wood-fired Smoker Ovens

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  • Bronnie wears quite a few hats – competes as Bulldogs, caters as 4670BBQ and is the promoter of the Bundaberg BBQ Battle
  • They do two markets and private cooks per week, as well as once a fortnight in the Wide Bay area
  • They use different names for their ‘competitive’ team and their catering business as Bulldogs would not be a good brand name. They settled on 4670 as it is their post code
  • Bronnie was initially intimidated about competing but she got jealous that she was missing out and started going to comps and found it welcoming and fell in love with it. She’s now the parsley Queen
  • They got into BBQ making rubs and seasoned salts
  • A Texas Ranchero was their first smoker
  • Bronnie has a background in food, hospitality and events
    • Tried to move away from planning weddings etc but has been drawn back into it
  • To make good relationships at comps: You need a good sense of humour, go with the flow, she is a bit of a mother and likes to give drinks and sweet treats to her neighbours
  • Events covered with 4670BBQ
    • Weddings, Parties, Anything
    • Weddings are Bronnie’s favourite events to work at
    • They also love markets and festivals as they love the instant response when people first taste your food
  • Brisket is their most popular – they get complaints if they don’t have brisket to serve
  • Pork Belly Burnt Ends are hot right now – sold 27 serves in 16 minutes. ‘Marshmallow Pig’
  • They do a lot of work with community clubs
    • Food and community go well together
    • When people are eating together, they’re happy
    • They have a goal to start ‘BBQ Rescue’ like in the States
  • They have several relationships with businesses around town whereby the cook the meats and the businesses turn them into other things such as take-home meal packs and pies
    • Took samples around town to help find and cement the relationships
  • The division of labour
    • Bronnie is the ‘front of house’ and Paul is the ‘back of house’
    • Bronnie handles all their Social Media too
  • Not uncommon for them to do three cooks in a weekend
  • On the BBQ scene in regional QLD
    • It’s grown all the way up the coast as far as Cairns
    • They have some of the best cattle in Australia – Brahmans and Droughtmasters
    • They insist on buying only local brands of meat to support their local industries
  • Regional QLD is developing their own flavour profile
    • They prefer things sweet – due to all the sugar cane
    • They also like it hot – AusChilli is just down the road
    • They also like to incorporate mango, especially with chicken and prawn
    • They try to focus on flavours of the season
  • The Bundaberg BBQ Battle is renowned for being the friendliest comp on the circuit
    • They create a friendly atmosphere
    • You can camp for free for a week
    • There are some surprise touches
    • They try to make it as easy a weekend as possible as people have travelled such a long way
    • It’s a family-friendly competition
    • The comp is attached to Agro-Trend – a farming expo
  • What do promoters need to consider?
    • Location, location, location
    • She has great big sites on nice flat ground
    • Make the teams feel at home
    • Accomodate the teams as much as you can
  • How to come up with a good theme for a comp
    • Have a look around and see what’s in your area E.g. they have incorporated sugar cane even onto their trophies
    • Find something you’re passionate about
    • Find a personal connection to individualise the competition
  • Insurances and Legal Obligations
    • They are attached to Agro-Trend which helps get insurances and legalities sorted
    • She recommends partnering with an existing event
    • It allows great cross-promoting opportunities
    • So look for strategic alliances
  • How does liquor licensing affect comps and competitors?
    • Bundy has a licenced area which means that during the day people can only buy from the bar and drink in a certain area
    • After 6pm they can drink in the pit area. Security will stop them from leaving the pit area with their alcohol
    • It’s a minefield – you need to keep the BBQ’ers happy and follow the laws too
    • There would still be a fine even if the licensed area is closed for the night
  • How do you politically navigate the relationships between sponsors and vendors – who gets what sites etc?
    • They have the luxury of space, so there is plenty of space available for everybody
    • They have their comp in a showground
  • They even cook the food for Riding for the Disabled to sell
  • The relationship between the promoter and the Australasian Barbecue Alliance
    • They answer any questions that Bronnie can think to ask
    • They supply the Head Judges
    • They offer advice
    • They calm Bronnie down
    • They supply all the judging tools and course including the foam boxes
    • The promoters don’t have to deal with the administration of the competition E.g. disqualifications etc
  • How do promoters choose what categories they put in their comps?
    • Bronnie puts in things that she wants to try
    • She gets to nibble of some of the boxes once the judges have had what they want to eat
    • They’re thinking about putting in a vegetarian category
    • Chef’s Choice didn’t go down well at their first comp
      • The rule was they had to use a certain rum
      • People just generally weren’t happy
      • They were so unhappy that they dropped Chef’s Choice from the second year
  • Pros and Cons of being a promoter
    • Pro – Bronnie get to talk to lots of people about BBQ, which are two things she loves doing
    • Pro – she gets to meet people she otherwise wouldn’t
    • Cons – when people aren’t happy
    • Cons – sometimes you meet s^&tty people
  • Unseen issues that new promoters might run into
    • This pop up unexpectedly all the time – usually funny little things
    • Always double check things, especially insurances
    • It’s important to always undersell and overdeliver
  • How does Bronnie rate being a promoter?
    • She gives themselves a B+ – always room for improvement
  • Listener Questions
    • How did she overcome her fears before her first comp as a promoter?
      • She crocheted beards for the kids of the people who came to compete at the comp
    • What are the draw cards that get people going to comps in Queensland?
      • The physical locations in QLD are nice, so location is definitely a draw card
      • Prize money is good
      • The lure of the beautiful weather
      • The prize money
    • The biggest and best lesson she’s learnt from putting on her own event
      • Stop and breathe
      • Mistakes happen so accept it
      • You can’t please everyone so don’t tear yourself up inside to make sure that happens
      • Enjoy your own comp
    • What does she enjoy the most out of competing, catering and promoting? And how does she find the time?
      • She loves all 3
      • Comps – mateship, catching up with people’s lives
      • Promoting – she gets to promote not only BBQ but also her area
      • Catering – seeing people’s faces when they eat the food
      • They’re empty-nesters so they don’t have the responsibility of raising children at the moment
    • What’s the hardest thing about putting together a competition?
      • She didn’t believe in herself
      • Once one person signed on to compete she felt more confident
      • Taking the first step is the hardest thing
    • How does she go about managing the comp teams’ environment?
      • 99.9% of the teams are responsible
      • When she does have to step in she’s very professional, clear and precise
      • She has no qualms asking people to leave
    • How does she balance what teams want vs what sponsors want?
      • Everyone wants to be recognised for what they bring to a competition
      • She runs her comp how she would like a comp that she’s attending to be run
      • She makes it clear to both parties that the comp wouldn’t exist without each other
  • Her top three pieces of advice for people looking to put on an event?
    • Have a ‘bible’ – a notepad for all your ideas
    • Go with it – you might have doubts but take that first step – you won’t know where you’ll end up
    • Breathe and enjoy your own comp




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