Anyone can throw a slab of meat onto a hot cooking implement, light up a fire, set a timer, and end up with an edible meal. But it takes real skill to make a championship level barbeque. Part of the trick is using the right wood, and ironbark firewood is one of the preferred options. Other experts have their seasoned lore and know the art of firewood and fruitwood selection – some passed down through generations!
Still, if you’ve ever savoured a well-grilled morsel in your mouth, then you know barbequing is serious business. So serious that there’s an international circuit of barbequing competitions. They feature different barbequing styles from Texan to oriental.
Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival
Most Aussies like to chase their beef with a well-chilled beer, but some prefer their drink a little sharper. This festival focuses on craft beer and grilled meat, inviting meat lovers to sample selected meats and artisan tipple. The festival has a cover charge with entitles you to as much meat and beer as you can consume without falling over.
The festival does contain little contests among the exhibitors and offers a chance for festival goers to learn tips from top chefs. It’s a travelling circuit that graces various American states, usually staying for a day or two.
American Royal World Series
Just like their other world series, this contest is billed as the largest barbeque competition in the world even though it primarily features American talent. Still, it boasts up to 500 entrants and has a cash prize of $300,000, so there’s that. It’s a marathon of a contest based in Kansas City, Missouri, and spanning two and a half months.
In addition to the grilling, spectators are treated to professional rodeo events, horse shows, livestock competitions, and colourful parades. Competitive barbeque categories include Pork Shoulder, Boston Butt, Chicken, and Beef Brisket.
Australian Barbecue Alliance (ABA)
The ABA isn’t an individual competition so much as an aggregation. Every year, the ABA follows contests all over the country and ranks eligible contestants on a national leaderboard. To qualify for annual ABA ranking, you have to take part in a minimum of three barbeque competitions recognised by the ABA.
ABA rankings cover events in New Zealand as well, though teams have to be Australian residents to qualify. Prizes include trophies, photo ops, bragging rights, and $5,000 in various cash prizes. Teams must include a maximum of 4 members who compete in grilling whole hogs, lamb, ribs, brisket, chicken, and seafood.
European BBQ Challenge Cup (EBCC)
Similar to the ABA, the EBCC aggregates the results of barbeque competitions all over Europe. They base their rankings on the top three scores of competing teams, according to the standard barbeque categories. Winners receive merchandise, ribbons, bragging rights, and a travelling trophy, but no cash prizes.
The main classes of EBCC are pork ribs, pork, chicken, and brisket. Sanctioned EBCC contests include the Tallya BBQ Festival in Hungary, the BBQ Society Cook-Off in the Netherlands, the Ruhrpott BBQ in Germany, the Slovenia BBQ Open, and the Kampioenschap v/h Waasland in Belgium.
Started in 2010, Grillstock bills itself as a weekend of meat, music, and mayhem. It attracts teams with delightful names like Apocalypse Cow, Flamin’ Amateurs, Last of the Summer Swine, Smokus Pokus, Wonkey Donkeys, Man Meat Fire, and Braaibery & Querruption.
This Bristol festival includes barbequing showdowns in addition to musical performances, the battle of the bands contest, and a tongue-tingling array of eating competitions whose ranks include hot dogs, chilli peppers, and hot wings.
Accra Grill and BBQ Festival
With the cheeky tag ‘No Vegans Allowed’, the Accra Meat Festival in Ghana features exhibitions from all over Ghana and Nigeria. It’s a follow up to similar festivals in Lagos and Abuja, all organised by The Grind and Golden Apple. The festivals and popular social events, attracting local celebrities as well as meat lovers.
Unlike other barbeque festivals, these feature stands run by up to 40 famous grill joints, giving consumers a chance to try something new, and helping eateries to gain new fans. It’s a family event with food, drinks, entertainment, and of course, lots and lots of meat.
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