051 Live @ Bangalow 2018

Bangalow BBQ & Bluegrass Festival 2018

051 Live @ Bangalow BBQ & Festival

This is episode six of season four of the Smoking Hot Confessions Podcast. In this season, I’ve been flying, driving, walking, eating and talking my way around Australia, going to BBQ festivals all over this wide brown land and having some fascinating conversations with some of the biggest names in the game, and some up-and-comers too. In this episode I get to stay pretty close to home, heading down to the Bangalow BBQ & Bluegrass Festival. It’s a competition and festival whose sole purpose is to raise money for local schools, so I always make sure I’m there, doing what I can to help out.

I do have a couple of announcements. For some time now, I’ve had my ebook ‘27 Lessons Learned from Competition BBQ’ available for free on the website. I’ve recently put together a second edition of that book, working with a professional graphic designer and I’ll be releasing that soon. Which means that the free, 1st edition is only going to be available for another two weeks. After that, the second edition will be available for purchase, and there is even going to be a second book available, but I’m keeping the details under wraps for now.

I’d also like to invite you to join us at the Smoking Hot Confessions Community on Facebook. If you’re looking for a BBQ group full of open-minded people who just love to help each other out, the Smoking Hot Confessions Community is a great place to continue the conversation.

So without further ado, grab yourself a Kettle-Koned Buffalo Wing and something cold and bubbly to wash it down, and join me at the always incredible Bangalow BBQ & Bluegrass Festival.


With Matthew from Where There’s Smoke There’s Dinner

  • His smoker started as a Yoder Witchita
    • Started with lifting lugs so he could crane it onto the ute
    • A water tank under the grill plate, fillable from outside
    • All modifications done Steampunk Style – 18th Century Victorian era
    • It has a desktop lamp with LED that’s been steampunked
    • There’s a warming tray made of copper tubing
    • Laser cut wheel trims custom made
    • Needed an additional shelf
    • Stainless steel water tank – gets to boiling and sits there
    • Has a deflector plate on the outside for insulation and keeping people safe
    • There’s an artillery shell that’s been converted into a tool kit
    • Has locking vents
    • Has a grill top on it for bacon and eggs in the morning
    • Has a cold smoking adaptor
    • There’s a choke in the chimney
    • There’s a clock on the front
    • And of course, a bottle opener
    • A 1942 fire extinguisher off a Blitz army truck


With Matt from Ham Dunk BBQ

  • It’s Fletcher’s last year at the Bangalow festival
  • The atmosphere is great, it’s on grass and has an amazing atmosphere
  • They have a new smoker:
    • 24 inch, 5 foot long trailer smoker
    • Built by Wild West Smokers
    • Single door
    • Two racks
    • Bangalow is only their second comp using the trailer
    • Holds temp really well
  • Thinks their chicken and beef are going to be their strongest hand-ins


With Johan, first time judge

  • The standards were a lot higher than he was expecting
  • What did he have to do before judging?
    • A course to learn what to do as a judge and how to score the BBQ
  • He judged pork ribs, chicken, pork and beef
    • His favourite was beef – 10’s all round
    • Texture was fantastic with a finishing sauce over the top of the brisket
  • He got into judging from a friend who was already in the scene and suggested he have a go

With Simon from 50 Shades of Pork

  • 2018 was their fourth year in a row competing at Bangalow
    • The atmosphere brings them back every year
    • It’s very relaxing and enjoyable
  • Chicken
    • Jerked chicken style on wingettes
  • Ribs
    • Took all their ribs out of one rack for the sake of appearance
  • Pulled Pork
    • Had great money muscle
    • Also put pulled in their too
  • Brisket
    • Flat and burnt ends
  • Ribs were the favourite
  • They cook on some homemade drum smokers
  • Simon has a Texas Ranchero which he’s modified:
    • Insulation
    • Temperature controller
    • Lights
    • Humidity detection inside the smoker
    • Alarms and timers
    • Bluetooth for speakers
  • Simon is an electronic engineer by trade
  • It took him a year of planning before he could start building it
  • There are more gadgets coming
    • Automatic water top ups
    • Do humidity control


With Lukas from Rollin’ Smoke

  • The comp has been a bit hit and miss
  • Hit: chicken and ribs
  • Miss: brisket
  • 2018 is the 3rd year that they’ve been to Bangalow coz Fletch runs a great comp
  • Lukas and Dan White from Country Boys teamed up and used the Meatstock Auckland win to get entry to Sunny’s Invitational Comp in Orlando, Florida
  • They hired a 40ft RV to cruise around in
  • They drove around Florida and south Georgia
    • Some of the BBQ in Georgia was really good and some was really bad
    • Surprisingly the newer hipster BBQ joints were better than the older Mom’n’Pop joints
  • Chad Ward and Carl Griffin fixed them up with a Traeger Trailer
  • The Sunny’s comp is over – it’s not happening again
  • They will look for a competition a bit lower key than comps like the Royal or Memphis in May


With Rob from Smokin’ Hot’n’Saucy

  • They always do all categories including whole hog
  • ‘The Lot’ in Newcastle
    • They bought a food truck while up at Burleigh BBQ competition
    • The first 18 months were really rocky mechanically
    • They decided to build an American style roadside BBQ eatery in the style of Valentinas
    • The guy that did the Austin-style graffiti work is now the brisket cutter, having become a part of the family
  • He came from the coal mining industry, having worked in Canada and the USA before settling in the Hunter Valley
  • Rob and his wife put on the Smoke in Broke competition
    • They modelled it on the Half-Moon Holiday comp in the States
    • They wanted to put something on for the community
    • They budgeted on 2,000 people coming and they ended up with 6,500 people, with only 300 people in the town
    • The council is keen to go again for a second year
    • They’re aiming for 60 ABA teams, $20,000+ in cash prizes
    • Expecting 10,000 – 15,000 people over two days
    • They want it to be more like a country fair rather than a trade show
    • There will be free camping
    • It’ll be on the long weekend in June
    • $10 ticket for the weekend event

The Awards Ceremony


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