Yak Ales Melbourne Barbecue Festival is a cooking competition, as well as a chance to sample smoked meats by some of Australia and America’s best pitmasters.

The cook-off contest is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society and sees more than 45 teams put pork ribs, pork shoulder, beef brisket and chicken in front of a panel of judges for the chance to compete at the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue Contest in Lynchburg, Tennessee.

The 2017 festival returns for the third time with two very special guests: Memphis Barbecue Co.’s John David Wheeler and Ubons Barbeque’s Leslie Roark Scott. It will mark the first time Wheeler and Scott have served their famous Midwest and Southern-style barbeque in Australia.

“In the past, our international guests have only taken part in special dinners, workshops and classes and not actually served their food during the festival,” says Matt Vitale, one of the festival’s founders. “This year will bring styles and tastes that we haven’t seen in Australia before with John and Leslie working the pits.”

Wheeler will be serving up his trademark, award-winning whole hog and pork ribs. Third-generation pitmaster Kevin Bludso of San Antone by Bludsos BBQ at Crown Melbourne, who specialises in Texan-style barbeque, will also be here for the two-day meat fest. Melbourne locals Fancy Hank’s, Bluebonnet Barbecue, Burn City Smokers, Southside Smokers and more round up the lineup.

There will be live entertainment over the two days, plus masterclasses, a barbeque banquet with a feast prepared by some of the festival’s biggest names, and a street party at Queen Victoria Market.

The Yak Ales Melbourne Barbecue Festival will run from February 4–5, 2017 at The Nursery, Flemington Racecourse.