UK BBQ Mag Summer 2016 - Page 77


and Germany. KCBS in Europe has exploded since then – there are currently 23 KCBS sanctioned events in Europe planned this year!

In 2014 I was invited to Judge at the Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue in Lynchburg, Tennessee. What a party. Teams from all over the World and the USA plus 25,000 visitors. Epic stuff. Plus an opportunity to try some legendary BBQ joints whilst on the roads.

Although I haven’t judged as many competitions as some of the other judges in the UK and Europe – with some are getting close to qualifying as Master Judges in the KCBS world – having judged at most of the Grillstocks over the last 5 years means I have had the chance to try a lot of BBQ. Ray Lampe’s judging formula is that the judging panel must judge all entries for the 4 main categories for the Grand Champion. Even over 2 days, 25 lots of chicken, ribs, pork butt and brisket can be a challenge. Especially when an ugly one appears!

So how does British BBQ compare to the rest? And how has it evolved over the last 5 years? I remember at one of the early Grillstock’s a team from the Guardian newspaper decided to compete so they could write the inside story. I am not saying it was theirs – it’s all tasted blind and in a box remember – but in every round a box of burnt BBQ, sadly just chucked in a box and tasting of lighter fluid appeared. It was awful. Luckily the quality of BBQ has improved dramatically.

Most teams are now well established and many of the older UK Teams will share their secrets with the new teams and they spend a lot of time practicing and perfecting their cooks. Many teams start out using commercial rubs and sauces, often from the US.

One of the most famous, Blues Hog BBQ Sauce, has become the darling of the competition circuit. With a distinctive look and flavour, it tastes great on a piece of chicken. But when half of the entries have the same sauce its gets difficult to tell them apart and pick a winner. Thankfully the more experienced teams have developed their own.

British teams compete in Europe and are normally at the top of the board, often winning Grand Champion or Reserve Grand Champion. Our own British Bulldog BBQ, Bunch of Swines and Miss Piggy’s often compete and do well at prestigious events in the USA and lets not forget my fellow Grillstock Judge’s Jackie Weight’s remarkable win at the Jack Daniels World Invitational. UK BBQ has clearly come of age!

So if you want to try some of the best BBQ available in the UK at the moment get yourselves to the next Grillstock BBQ Festival Bristol in July. The teams usually give meat to the public just after their turn their entries in.

I would encourage anyone keen to get more involved and some of the teams to go to Europe, take a KCBS class and judge some competitions. Its great fun. This is a great resource for more information on courses and competitions. KCBS Eurpoe Facebook Page

I look forward to meeting you at a competition soon!