065 Live @ Brisbane BBQ Festival 2019

Brisbane BBQ Festival 2019

065 Live @ Brisbane
Festival 2019

This is Episode Ten of Season Five. Once again, it’s a local competition for me: the Brisbane BBQ Festival2019. This year marked the fifth year that this festival has run. The first year was my first ever judging experience and you can read about that on the website. I’ve been involved every year since and this year was perhaps the biggest yet. There were two stages running – a live music stage and a BBQ stage. On the BBQ stage we had demonstrations, Q&A sessions, exhibitions and eating competitions running over two whole days. It was a killer weekend and I was really excited to have been a part of 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.

Are you on the look out for some new BBQ merch? At Smoking Hot Confessions, we have some of the best merch out there. From our Hail Mary hoodies and T-Shirts, to our Kettle Cap, Tumbler and collection of stickers, we’ve got you covered!

Check out them out in our shop now!



The Pitmaster Q&A with Josh from Zed’s Que, Chris from Smokin’ Hot Bros & Matt from Smokin’ Sappers BBQ

  • Do people need a huge offset smoker to start with? 
    • Josh – No
      • There’s a learning curve that you can skip if you start on something smaller and easier to manage
      • As long as you’re cooking on charcoal or wood based products you’re fine
    • Matt – No
      • A Weber Kettle is best to start with
      • Find one on the side of the road and get started with that
    • Chris – No
      • Could even start with a pellet grill to remove the difficulty of fire management while you’re learning the basic principles
      • A vertical smoker is a good place to start
  • What about ceramic style smokers?
    • Chris – they’re great
      • Very efficient
      • Very flexible with regard to style of cooking and different cuts
      • So many different accessories available
  • How important are the numbers? 
    • Josh – not very. They are a guideline.
      • Get yourself an instant read thermometer and learn what the temperatures are, and most importantly, what they feel like when you insert the probe into the cuts of meat
    • Matt – if it’s probing well, it’s done
      • If a brisket is chewy, it’s undercooked
      • If it’s overcooked, it will fall apart
      • You need to learn the cuts and also learn your pit. You’ll learn what the meat feels like when it’s done
      • The probe feel is the most important thing
    • Chris – every pit is different
      • Every pit has a sweet spot – a temperature that it’s happy to cook at
      • Do an experimental burn and adjust your cooking times to match where the smoker likes to sit
      • He has two identical pits and they cook comfortably at different temperatures
  • How important is meat selection and your relationship with your butcher?
    • Matt
      • Your selection of meat will come down to your own beliefs and what is available to the butcher
      • He always uses a small business
      • He builds relationships with his butchers so he can ask for what he wants
      • You can’t ask for specialist cuts at a supermarket
      • By building a relationship with the butcher, they’ll start to get in what you want
      • You don’t need a 8+ wagyu brisket and hope that it’s going to come out great
    • Ben
      • Having a good relationship with the butcher makes it more likely that they’ll break down the animals into the specialist low’n’slow cuts over the cuts that have traditionally always sold for them
  • On building a fire in a ceramic to get the best performance:
    • Chris
      • A good solid fuel source is where it starts
      • A good natural lump is a good place to start
      • Chris lights half a chimney and he only lets it get halfway lit
      • He half fills the charcoal basket with unlit coals around the edge and fills the middle with the half-lit half chimney of charcoal
      • The fire will gradually and slowly spread through the unlit charcoal
      • This will give you a stable, long burn and let you do something else
      • Practice during the day where you can monitor it before you try an overnight cook and risk wasting $200 worth of meat
    • Josh
      • Also consider how atmospheric temperature will affect your burn too
      • Air controllers can help you out as well as they will control the temperature for you
    • Matt
      • Take a weekend and a carton of beer and start on a Saturday morning and let it burn all weekend
  • What’s a good couple of cuts of meat for 2-4 people that you’re having over for dinner
    • Josh
      • Depends on price range
      • Look at the bigger cuts – briskets and pork butts. They work out cheaper
    • Matt
      • Some butchers will sell ‘half-cuts’
      • He’ll cook a larger cut, eat what they want for that meal and then vacuum seal the rest – it’s perfect for time-poor families
      • Matt will use a water pan, bring it up to a hot temperature and drop in the bag of meat 
      • Try freezing Jus in ice cube trays for later use
    • Chris
      • He and his partner are steering away from the bigger cuts now
      • They like lamb cutlets, back straps, or nice beef steaks
      • They are looking for what they can cook in 1 – 2 hours
      • He’ll take a rump cap to work every Friday. Put it on in the morning and by lunch it’s ready. He reverse sears it and feeds six tradies on it
  • How important is it that the meat is at room temperature before going on the BBQ? 
    • Matt
      • If you’re doing low’n’slow it doesn’t matter
      • If you’re doing hot’n’fast, it’s going to be an issue
      • Matt cooks at 250F coz that’s where his pit likes to sit
      • 5F swings will make no difference. 40F swings are where you’ll start to get into trouble
    • Chris
      • Bringing meat to room temperature on a hot’n’fast cook means you’ll get a more even and consistent cook
      • He’ll let his steaks get to room temperature, cook them indirect until the meat is rare. He’ll wrap it and let it rest while he’s getting the charcoal good and hot. Then he’ll sear it over the hot coals to get that crunchy outer finish and the charcoal flavour
      • Do the above and it’ll be the best meat you’ve ever eaten
      • Cooking under 225F will see your cook time blow right out. Anything over 225F will significantly shorten the cook time
      • BUT if you’re cooking hotter, the window at which you can pull the meat off the BBQ at the right temperature gets smaller and smaller so you need to be a lot more precise with your technique so you don’t miss that window
      • He starts his competitions briskets at a really low temperature to get smoke penetration for a longer period of time and a nicer colour
      • Later in the morning, when other cuts need higher temperatures, he ups the temperature in the smoker and ads the others
      • Keep it simple when you’re starting out. Don’t worry about injecting etc like the professional competitors. Start with a simple cut, simple spices and build up over time from there
      • Chris had to import his first smoker from England as there were none available in Australia
      • Take a Master Class – it will cut your learning time in half
    • Josh
      • Don’t ever put a frozen piece of meat on a BBQ
      • The starting temperature of the meat can affect how much smoke flavour your end up with on your meat
  • Can too much wood dry out your meat? 
    • Matt
      • No. Overcooking it will dry it out. 
    • Chris
      • Every protein stops accepting smoke flavour after 145F. After that point, the smoke will not affect it. So you can stop adding smoke wood to your fire
      • You’re looking for a thin blue smoke, called a ‘clean smoke’. White smoke is bad and will give your meat a terrible taste
    • Josh
      • Work out the areas in the piece of meat that are drying out fastest and use a spritz to compensate


With Macca from What’s Up Down Under

  • He loves cooking outdoors with the smell of campfires etc
  • Different trips allow you to bring different gear – if you’re crossing the Simpson desert, fuel and water storage is more important
    • They will often used ‘Hobo Packets’. They wrap the food in foil and throw them straight on the coals
  • Macca’s favourite outdoor oven / cooker
    • He loves traditional camp ovens
    • The thicker the better
    • Buy the best that you can afford
  • His favourite thing to cook is beef, but he doesn’t discriminate
    • A beef roast in a camp oven is one of his favourites and a steak is a close second
  • Ben cooked up some steaks on an upturned camp oven lid and they were better than the ones we’d bought in a steak house
  • He’s even cooked on the back of a shovel
  • He says that the ambience of where you are cooking and eating is as important as what you’re eating
  • 60% of people keep their sauces in the fridge because the labels say so
    • Macca spends most of his time living in the bush and so his beer goes in the fridge and the sauce in his pantry box
  • He’s just launched a series of rubs
    • Inspired by his journeys because he can’t take a whole pantry of spices with you when you’re out in the bush
    • He uses it for things other than just meat – for example he puts some of them in Spaghetti Bolognese too


With Bretto from the Flamin Mongrels

  • They use Panadol and Mother to get over the hangovers
  • They are having a crack at all four categories of the Steak Cookoff Association competition at BBF
    • They are looking forward to the creativity of the SCA competition
  • Anything on a stick
    • They’re doing a Key Lime Pie on a stick
  • The grill
    • Weber Kettle with an upside Kettle Kone to get it super hot
    • Grill Grates on top to get the steak lines
    • They’ll smoke the steak in the offset and then finish it off in the Weber
    • They use Cherry wood in the offset and Heatbeads in the Weber


With Rod from the Charcoal Project

  • He loves cooking on the Jambo
  • He got 3rd in Burger in the SCA and 8th in Steak
    • The burger was buttermilk chicken and pork belly burger with caramelised onions and cheese
  • He uses a Mega-Joe – a WSM Base with a Kettle Lid, a WGA and a Kettle
    • He likes them because they are easy to use and product a constant heat
    • He uses Heat Beads for his fuel source. He prefers their lump charcoal
  • Rusty is doing Brisket, Lamb and Chicken. Rod is doing the ribs.
    • He prefers St Louis ribs. He has trouble getting them so usually has to cook Baby Backs


With James from Pits’n’Giggles

  • 2019 is the 3rd year they’ve competed. 2017 was their first ever competition.
  • They did really well in the SCA
    • He made a fish and crab burger inside a Chinese Bao Bun
    • Used a Weber Summit Charcoal with the work and steamer
    • Anything on a stick was Jalapeno Poppers
    • They did Buffalo wings 
  • They are Weber all the way with their SCA cooks
  • They use Spinifex Charcoal from Northern NSW. It’s a hardwood lump
  • He’s feeling pretty confident with the ABA hand-ins
    • They’re looking at doing buffalo things
    • For lamb, they’re doing shanks, ribs and cutlets
  • Ben’s BBQ Tools and Toys Demonstrations
    • Grill – PK Grills PK360
    • Fuel – HeatBeads Lump Charcoal
    • Grill Beast gloves
    • Multiple sets of tongs
    • Thermapen Instant Read thermometer
    • Fireboard Wifi thermometer
    • InkBird bluetooth thermometer
    • Multiple cutting boards for different meats
    • Costco foil – much thicker
    • Rubs by Lane’s BBQ Australia
    • Knife roll by Maka Knife Rolls
    • Handmade brisket knife by Cut Throat Knives
    • Steel for sharpening knives by Giesser
    • Boning knife by Giesser
    • Aluminium trays are a godsend
    • Peach Paper for wrapping
    • Vacuum sealer for leftovers


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