055 Live @ KV Craft Beer & BBQ Fest 2018

Kangaroo Valley

055 Live @ KV &
BBQ Festival 2018

In this episode I’m back on a plane and this time flying to Sydney then driving out to the luscious Kangaroo Valley Craft Beer and BBQ Festival. This one had been on my list for the last couple of years but I’d never been able to get there, so I was super pumped to have been part of the team for the 2018 competition.

Before we get started, I’d like to let you know that my new ebooks are now available on the website. There is the second edition of my well-loved ‘27 Lessons Learned from Competition BBQ’ and also the deliciously new ‘Bacon Manifesto’. The ‘Bacon Manifesto’ includes what you need to know about making bacon at home and then some incredible recipes to give you an idea of what to do with it.

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.

Finally, however you’re listening to this episode, please subscribe, rate and review the show. It really helps me spread that BBQ love.

So without further ado, grab yourself some sticky pork ribs and an adult beverage, and join me as I fly, drive, eat, walk and talk my way around the 2018 Kangaroo Valley Craft Beer and BBQ Festival.


With Matt from Smoking Coals BBQ

  • He’s been coming to KV since the beginning, but the first year was as a punter
  • He loves that it’s such a family friendly event
  • He’s been cooking in charcoal for as long as he can remember. Moved from a Kettle to an offset and started competing at the start of 2017
  • They finished in the top 20 and got invited to The Invitational
  • The Invitational has 35 of the best teams.
  • To qualify you have to have won a GC or RGC or finished in the Top 20 the previous year
  • SCA = Steak Cookoff Association
    • You can win a Golden Ticket to compete at the Steak cook in the world titles
  • Recently Matt went to the US to compete in an SCA completion in Lockhart, Texas
    • He placed 24th out of 90 teams
  • He cooks on an MGrills M16 grill with B&B Charcoal as fuel
  • They now have a themed vehicle which is an ex-military Land Rover

The Pitmaster Q&A Session: Sinead from Original Sin, Anthony from Doctor Cue & Ryan from Sheen Shangrila

  • Sinead is an Australasian Barbecue Alliance official so usually runs the events
  • The BBQ is judged by taste, texture and appearance
  • Home cooks and competition cooks are completely different – meats are cooked for up to 18 hours
  • The Reverse Sear
    • Start the steak in indirect heat until an internal temp of 130F
    • Sear the steak off at a raging heat to crust and colour the outside
  • How important is the quality of the meat?
    • Good cooking skills are the most important, but if you can start with a higher quality meat, you’ll have a higher quality final product
    • If you’re doing Low’n’Slow, fatty cuts are better as they don’t dry out
  • How important is a good butcher?
    • It made a huge difference to Doctor Cue and saw them immediately jump from middle of the pack using supermarket meat to Reserve Grand Champion in one competition
    • While a local butcher may not have a wide range, but can order them in
    • A good butcher will go out of their way to find the brands that you’re looking for
    • Start a conversation with your local butcher by asking if they’ve heard about low’n’slow
  • For a good steak, try a scotch fillet, two to three fingers thick. Tomahawks are good too
  • SCA uniform steaks are 3cm thick
  • Competition cooking is about turning out food that offends the least number of people, so they need to be careful with pepper and chilli. The food needs to appeal to all pallets
  • For most home cooking, salt & pepper will be good enough

With Trent from the SCA

  • The ancillary categories were dessert and anything on a stick
  • Judged by taste, tenderness, overall impression and doneness
  • SCA – Steak Cookoff Association
  • It’s a quick, hot’n’fast competition
  • Aiming for 20 competitions in Australia in 2019
  • These comps dovetail into the longer low’n’slow comps giving teams something to do on the bump-in days
  • Ancillary categories can be anything and leads to lots of high level creativity

SCA Awards

  • Anything on a Stick
    • 2nd – Rub’n’Grub
    • 1st – Scotch ‘n Smoke
  • Dessert
    • 2nd – Wizards of Q
    • 1st – Shire Smokers
  • Steak
    • 3rd – Wizards of Q
    • 2nd – Blue Dog BBQ
    • 1st – Melbourne BBQ Cartel

With Jeff & Dan from Melbourne BBQ Cartel

  • Very happy with their results
  • They cook and eat a lot of steak
  • They won Creekside SCA last year which got them a ticket to America last year
  • They put a lot of their success down to the PK Grill they got from Hazy Peak Barbecues

With Linda from Fire & Brimstone (Pits Perfect)

  • Linda works at Fire & Brimstone and was representing them at the KV comp
  • Brisket is her favourite

With Sam from Techs Us BBQ

  • They’re having loads of fun at the festival
  • They love the pig racing
  • They mixed up their hand-ins and almost handed in lamb instead of pork ribs
  • They really want to score some points in lamb
  • Looks for when the bone pulls out of the lamb – that’s how you know it’s done

With Keiran from Flaming Coals

  • They revealed their new-to-market gravity fed smoker at KV 2018
  • They cooked the whole comp on the one smoker
  • The charcoal is lit from the bottom and the wood goes in underneath
  • Unit has a water pan for moisture
  • Fully insulated
  • Pulled beef cheeks, beef ribs and brisket burnt ends went into their beef box

With Andrew from Loaded BBQ Low’n’Slow

  • They’re based in Liverpool and his day job is TAFE butchery teacher
  • KV was their 4th comp for the year
  • Having fun is more important than winning to them
  • They use Weber’s, Pit Barrel Cookers, UDS, and a Green Mountain Grill pellet grill
  • Ribs cook best in Pit Barrel, brisket in the UDS and chicken in the GMG

With Stu from Smoke Machine BBQ

  • They drive down from Brisbane before the comp. Took them 15 hours to drive down
  • They are one of the O.G teams
  • They cook on a bright red Smokin’ Jak
  • Very heavy, thick, solid and insulated
  • They’ve tailored their cooking techniques so all their proteins can be done in the one smoker

With Matt from Shire Smokers

  • He’s an OG team, competing since the beginning
  • He got into BBQ as his wife is from Montreal, Canada
  • He started with a Kamado Joe and fell in love with ribs and lamb
  • He used to play rugby internationally and loves the competitive feel of comp BBQ
  • The way competitors help each other out is something he finds really impressive about the scene
  • The Devon Side Comp
    • Started in Wollongong 2017
    • He handed in smoked Devon slices as a Club Sandwich and Devon Burnt Ends
    • Now the interest has grown and it has become a side comp for charity
    • The money goes back to the community
  • He finds that in misty conditions when there’s more moisture in the air, his briskets cook faster
  • Matt has opened a BBQ school and does demonstrations close to homes. He does the classes to raise funds for some competitions and doesn’t actively seek sponsors

ABA Awards Ceremony


GC: Smoking Coals BBQ


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