Meatstock’s Sydney Barbecue Wars are heating up; we ask four competing teams what to expect

Meatstock is finally here! It’s time for Sydney Showground to be transformed into one large, two-day BBQ with some of the best of the best meat-pros heading out to Olympic Park to showcase, compete, and cook. Starting tomorrow, Saturday 13th February, and continuing through the weekend, Meatstock will be a celebration of meats cooked exactly right, with plenty of food, drink, live music, and general good times around. One of the main features will be the Sydney Barbecue Wars, where teams from around the country will compete in the cook-off to end all cook-offs. We caught up with four reps from four of the competing teams for a quick Q&A about what to expect from the competition, where to find the best BBQ’d meats in Australia, where they see BBQ heading, and more.

Scotch & Smoke

Sydney’s Northern Beaches

First off, who are you and what’s your main involvement with Meatstock?

Nick Cooper, Co-Captain of Scotch&Smoke BBQ. with Scott, Brad and Heidi we are a competition BBQ Team from Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We are at MeatStock to compete in Sydney Barbecue Wars.

What’s your preferred style of BBQ?

Our preferred style is “Low & Slow” on a home built Offset Smoker called Bertha.

A few years ago BBQ was being called a “food trend” in Sydney, but it’s still around as strong as ever, and demand is always high for quality meats. What do you think of Australia’s current BBQ scene?

The current scene is getting bigger and bigger​, from the amount of BBQ comps available to competition sides to the amount of restaurants cooking on wood fired bbqs. Its been around for a very long time and will never go away. Its a style of food that constantly develops. Like many other foods in Australia we adopt styles from around the world like Korean, Japanese, American, Portuguese, South American and more. ​

Where are your favourite places for BBQ’d meats in Australia and why?

Bovine & Swine (Enmore) – The nail Texas BBQ, simply seasoned not drowned in sauce. Just great BBQ!
The Oxford Tavern – Again a great low & Slow menu, kick back for lunch with a few beers =Bliss
Braza – All you can eat is one thing, but its the rotisserie over coals is flavour town!
The Molluso House – Im always welcomed with a smile, great home cooked BBQ.

A two-day festival of meats on Valentine’s Day weekend. What sold you on that concept?

What Day? haha. My wife is part of the team so we will be together. I tell her every day is Valentines Day for her (but I usually get a raised eyebrow) Meat and Music its like a Giant BBQ for 5000 people.

What can we expect from your team during Meatstock, and what is your team expecting going into the festival?

You always hope/pray you have nailed it and get a mention in the category placing’s, I expect no sleep, 100’s of questions, stress, meat sweats, relief its over and a craving to do it again asap.

What are you most looking forward to at the festival aside from your main involvement in Meatstock? What are your top picks on what to do?

The Bands – Especially the Beards – The Vendors – Bovine & Swine and Burgers By Josh

Where do you see Australia’s BBQ scene heading in the future? Are there any new cooking trends on the rise?

Competition will get bigger and bigger with National Rankings and more teams heading to America to go against the best. Never a trend only a style of cooking to master. If there is one on the horizon im sure it will be tasty.

Bad Ass BBQ

Western Sydney

First off, who are you and what’s your main involvement with Meatstock?

My name is Michael Rose, Captain of competition BBQ team – BADASSBBQ. We are 1 of many competition teams who’ll be battling it out at Meatstock

What’s your preferred style of BBQ?

You’ll probably hear this answer from a lot of folk but my preferred style of BBQ is LOW AND SLOW which means barbecuing at a really low temperature for long periods of time. This allows time for the fat and connective tissue to breakdown as well as giving the protein that gentle kiss of smoke. My preferred weapon of choice is either my PROQ bullet smoker or my Silvercreek offset

A few years ago BBQ was being called a “food trend” in Sydney, but it’s still around as strong as ever, and demand is always high for quality meats. What do you think of Australia’s current BBQ scene?

Food trends come and go so quickly in Oz. Usually they have a lifespan of 1-2 years before they become old news. BBQ on the other hand is going from strength to strength and I believe it will continue to do so. I think its because BBQ is, at its core, a very simplistic food. The hardest part to master is the management of the fire. Once you get control of that all you need is some good quality meat and some seasonings. Its not a “chefy” cuisine by any measurement and I think people like that about it.

Where are your favourite places for BBQ’d meats in Australia and why?

My favourite would have to Bovine and Swine in Enmore closely followed by Vics Meat Market and the Oxford Tavern. These places are all using real wood and smoke to cook authentic BBQ and you can really taste the difference.

A two-day festival of meats on Valentine’s Day weekend. What sold you on that concept?

Well, what better way to celebrate? The alternative is to go to some busy restaurant that’s only interested in getting you in and out in 30 minutes. That’s never been my go anyway so being at a meat festival seems like a great idea. My wife will be coming down too so perhaps I’ll make her a beef rosette?

What can we expect from your team during Meatstock, and what is your team expecting going into the festival?

You can expect 4 very hard working individuals (or maybe 3 out of the 4) who will endeavour to put up the best boxes of Barbecue we can. We don’t have any expectations on how well we will go but we are going to give it a red hot shot. Apart from that you can probably expect that our marquees are the messiest of the lot as they always are.

What are you most looking forward to at the festival aside from your main involvement in Meatstock? What are your top picks on what to do?

Speaking to the vendors and sampling all the products is what I love most about any festival like this plus there is a heap of good food available to eat and some awesome bands to watch too. Also, if I get time I want to checkout the Butcher wars!

Where do you see Australia’s BBQ scene heading in the future? Are there any new cooking trends on the rise?

As Ive said, this low and slow BBQ movement will continue to grow year on year. You will see more openings of restaurants and specialty retailers and slowly but surely you will notice a change at your local butcher and supermarket as demand grows for these lesser known cuts. Away from Low and Slow American style cooking, I think we will see more barbecuing influences from South America in the coming years. Brazilian Churrasco for instance is already really popular in Sydney at the moment and some retailers are selling churrasco BBQ’s already.

The Shank Brothers BBQ

Brisbane

First off, who are you and what’s your main involvement with Meatstock?

My name’s Ralph Barnett and I’m a founding member of The Shank Brothers BBQ team. Our team members are competing, socialising, partying and appearing on the Pitmaster’s panel

What’s your preferred style of BBQ?

Backyard low and slow influenced by various cultures is our passion which gives the ability to always experiment with new cuts of meat, recipes, techniques and BBQ equipment.

A few years ago BBQ was being called a “food trend” in Sydney, but it’s still around as strong as ever, and demand is always high for quality meats. What do you think of Australia’s current BBQ scene?

Australia is in the grip of a BBQ revolution driven by the influence of American low and slow which has opened our eyes to a whole new approach to cooking outdoors. Our thirst for knowledge combined with access to fantastic produce has created the perfect BBQ storm.

Where are your favourite places for BBQ’d meats in Australia and why?

I love to eat at BBQ restaurants who focus on their own unique style and approach rather than copy what’s on trend.

I’ll never forget the lamb and pork at Porteno or the chicken wings at Papi Chulo and more importantly the wonderful and friendly staff whose creativity ensures lasting memories of a great dining experience.

A two-day festival of meats on Valentine’s Day weekend. What sold you on that concept?

I booked tickets knowing so many like minded people would be also there for exactly the same reason. Smoking meat over fire with your mates surrounded by music and beer. It’s the perfect bloke’s bonding weekend away.

What can we expect from your team during Meatstock, and what is your team expecting going into the festival?

The Shank Brothers are there to complete and hopefully do ourselves proud. We are expecting some very tough competition from serious teams however we’re there to have fun, trade knowledge and walk away with full bellies and a sore head.

What are you most looking forward to at the festival aside from your main involvement in Meatstock? What are your top picks on what to do?

Checking out other competitors gear and setup will be high on the agenda followed by BBQ school with Tuffy Stone before seeing The Beards perform on Saturday night.

Where do you see Australia’s BBQ scene heading in the future? Are there any new cooking trends on the rise?

Australia is a melting pot for may different influences so will it may take some time to develop our own identifiable style. Asian influences are snapping at the heels of America with Korean BBQ leading the way.

The rising cost of meat means we’re more determined to turn out great results on our BBQ’s so flipping sausages over a gas grill is being replaced by a thirst for new and interesting alternatives.

Southern Boys Barbecue

Melbourne

First off, who are you and what’s your main involvement with Meatstock?

Southern Boys Barbecue are a competition barbecue team based in Melbourne VIC (we are from Tennessee, Alabama and Missouri). Meatstock was a barbecue competition on the ABA circuit that we really want to get involved in.

What’s your preferred style of BBQ?

Low and Slow American BBQ – Pork Ribs, Pork Shoulders, Lamb, and Beef Brisket

A few years ago BBQ was being called a “food trend” in Sydney, but it’s still around as strong as ever, and demand is always high for quality meats. What do you think of Australia’s current BBQ scene?

The current status seems to be in its infancy as the concept is picking up all over Australia. We can only speak on behalf of what is happening in Melbourne but it seems like there are some pretty good places to get great American style BBQ.

Where are your favourite places for BBQ’d meats in Australia and why?

Le Bon Ton, and Bluebonnet Barbecue

A two-day festival of meats on Valentine’s Day weekend. What sold you on that concept?

Again its part of the ABA competition circuit with a boatload of up and coming teams. Why not continue with our success in Sydney!

What can we expect from your team during Meatstock, and what is your team expecting going into the festival?

We expect a pretty big showing of some great teams serving up some solid barbecue.

What are you most looking forward to at the festival aside from your main involvement in Meatstock? What are your top picks on what to do?

To be honest, we are mainly attending to compete in the barbecue competition but are excited to see what the two day event with music will do for the BBQ scene in Australia.

Where do you see Australia’s BBQ scene heading in the future? Are there any new cooking trends on the rise?

More teams coming in, more competitions throughout the country

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Meatstock runs on Saturday 13th (SOLD OUT) and Sunday 14th February. More information and tickets can be found HERE.