UK BBQ Mag Summer 2016 - Page 29

Sitting by the smoker back in 2009, we dreamt up the idea of bringing American Competition BBQ to the UK. The plan was simple: to create something that would gather mates and strangers together to to have a good time and smoke some meat. Nothing fancy or complicated. We wanted to give other people a place to enjoy the good stuff that has always made us happy - good company, good food, good drink and good music.

That was the original Grillstock festival back in 2010, a full-blown weekend of meat, music and mayhem that first introduced US style, low ’n’ slow BBQ and the culture that surrounds it. Back in that first year I remember building the stage from four pallets and a cheap gazebo, bribing my brother and his mates to come and compete to make up team numbers, calling Andy Annat and Dr.BBQ every other day for tips on how a BBQ Competition actually runs underneath the bonnet. I’d seen them in action, but running one was entirely different. That very first Saturday saw Dr.BBQ cooking up huge hunks of pork and sharing secrets of smoking meat and anecdotes with our punters all hungry for knowledge, Andy running rings round the other competitors and Sweetsmoke doing unholy things with a smoked chicken and lots of bourbon all to a (rickety) music stage of bluegrass and banjos.

We accidentally ended up creating the biggest and most rock and roll barbecue experience the UK had seen, bringing everyone together to smoke meat, share tips and tricks and pass a bottle of something or other around the glowing embers at the end of the night. Six years and ten festivals later and around 150,000 people have now attended Grillstock but the blueprint remains the same as the very first year - good company, good food, good drink and good music.

Ben & Jon