Thirty-five barbeque teams from all over Australia, more smoked meat than you can imagine, craft brews on tap and $40,000 in prizes – welcome to the inaugural Kingsford Invitational, happening in November.
The two-day Australian Brewery and Australasian Barbecue Alliance (ABA) barbeque competition is the most ambitious of its kind anywhere in the country. “This will be the most prestigious event Australian barbeque has ever seen,” says ABA co-founder Adam Roberts.
For amateur and even professional (Working full-time in the competitive scene is rare but growing) barbeque teams, this is the real deal. Not only is it an opportunity to win cash and an absurdly large trophy, it’s also a chance to compete against Australia’s best and some of America’s finest, too.
The two-day event will be held at the Australian Brewery in Rouse Hill. Twenty teams will be invited based on their ranking (essentially, whoever has won previous competitions) while other previous comp winners will be randomly picked via ballot draw. Most nerve-rackingly for the local competitors, the last five spots will be dedicated to international teams. “We'll hand-pick five teams from either the US, the UK, New Zealand or maybe Brazil to come over and challenge the best Australian teams,” says Roberts.
Competitors will be judged (by an as-yet-unannounced expert panel) on the taste, texture and appearance of their brisket, pork, chicken or lamb. Unfortunately, the attendees won’t be able to taste any of the teams’ final products. “Very few local councils let teams feed the general public,” says Roberts. Instead, the two-day competition will host food trucks and drinks from the local brewery. “We will ensure that trucks will be cooking the same type of food,” Roberts says.
According to Roberts, number-one ranked Suck Knuckle Smokers from Adelaide and Badass BBQ from Sydney are the teams to look out for. “But anybody can win. We've got guys with $4000 barbeques, but last weekend we had a competitor turn up with a few small rig kettles and he ended up with a trophy. You've just got to cook well on the day,” he says.
The Kingsford Invitational will be held on November 25 and 26. For details about what food trucks will be attending, the final list of teams, who will be judging and ticket announcements, check Australian Brewery’s website.