Winter is here – but it’s worth getting out of your ugg boots for this event. The Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival (BBF) is back to smoke out the Adelaide Showground from Friday July 12 to Sunday July 14.
The three-in-one jamboree of beer, barbeque and beats – now in its fifth year – is showing no signs of slowing down. “The whole thing’s grown exponentially, we keep adding and adding and we don’t really take anything away,” says festival director Gareth Lewis.
This year’s thundering food line-up is bigger than ever: compared to last year there’ll be double the dishes, (almost) double the vendors and, says Lewis, “You probably won’t see a dish you’ve seen before.”
“Last year we did a heap of interstate collabs, bringing over interstate chefs and pairing them with chefs from here,” he says. “This year it’s a lot more local ... with a few rock stars from interstate.”
One of them, Newcastle-based chef Mal Meiers, is bringing his Food for Thought concept to the festival. The organisation raises awareness (and funds) to help destigmatise mental-health issues in the hospo industry. “We’ll be using #fuckstigma quite a bit on-site, and there’ll be some on-stage discussions featuring [Meiers] with other chefs and industry folk talking about their challenges,” says Lewis.
The Mal & Mates stall will be split down the middle – Meiers will work the pans on one side (expect charcoal-roasted Goolwa pipis with his take on XO sauce) and there’ll be a local food legend (or two) next door. It kicks off on Friday night with Fino’s Spanish-style barbeque chicken with flatbread, yoghurt and salad. Saturday’s menu is Tasting Australia director Simon Bryant’s wok-tossed char kway teow (stir-fried rice noodles) and Gus Love’s (Pink Moon Saloon) porchetta sando with carrot slaw and harissa mayo. At Sunday’s family-friendly session there’ll be spice-rubbed barbeque goat shoulder and potato-and-chickpea koftas by powerhouses Karena Armstrong (The Salopian Inn, McLaren Vale) and Emma McCaskill Sparkke at the Whitmore.
Conveniently located next to the main stage for a portable, between-sets snack will be “a big, glorified Bunnings sausage sizzle – with a difference”, says Lewis. The snags and sauces, created exclusively for BBF, will be made from all-native ingredients (from outback butcher Something Wild) and served up by the Kings Head team.
Lewis’s other picks for unmissable dishes include Comida’s ‘grammable beer-can chicken (perched on a hoppy amber ale tinnie – a collab between BBF and Pirate Life) and Syrian Mobile Disco’s camel curry (“It’s looking epic”, he says).
Joining the mainly local fold are Melbourne pitmasters Burn City Smokers (with their “Iron Maiden” smoker in tow – try the ribs) and burger experts 8bit.
The crew who started Croydon Park burger joint 127 Days are launching a brand-new concept at BBF – Buk Buk Southern Hot Chicken. There’ll be hot chicken sandos, wings (and a boneless alternative), plus all the extras: slaw, Texas toast and waffle-cut fries.
And there’ll be no shortage of ‘burgs. Asian-fusion pop-up Gang Gang will have one stuffed with slow-cooked beef rendang and another with kimchi chicken – and they’ll all be slider-size for maximum consumption. Elsewhere, Izakaya Kevin, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it project designed specifically for the festival, will churn out flame-licked yakitori and yakimono (grilled dishes) with traditional condiments.
BBF has a reputation for eschewing single-use plastic – punters are issued glass steins on entry. This year, in what Lewis says is a first for the state, the organisers are doing the same for single-use food containers – there’ll be an enamel-plate system where you pay a $5 deposit per plate that can be refunded at a washing station.
Full food line-up:
Boston Bay Smallgoods x The Smokin’ Grillers
Bread & Bone
Buk Buk Southern Hot Chicken
Burn City Smokers (VIC)
Comida Catering Co
Mal & Mates: Food For Thought (NSW)
Something Wild x BBF Presents Deadly Sauce
Staazi & Co – The Greek Vegan Project
Syrian Mobile Disco
The Filipino Project
The Ghetto Smoke Show
Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival is on Friday July 12 to Sunday July 14 at the Brick Dairy Pavilion at the Adelaide Showground. Tickets are available online.