IBQN Pit Masters Accumulator

Here in the UK we have a small but rapidly growing BBQ competition circuit. There are several grilling competitions held each year including The Field to Fork Festival and the Ready Steady Q series of events but what I’m going to talk about are the Low and Slow Pit Master style BBQ competitions.

Typically held over 2 days, cooking 4 categories of chicken, ribs, pork and brisket, this is a style of competition influenced massively by the hugely popular BBQ circuits in the US. If you want to take part in this type of completion in the UK there is the Grillstock festival in Bristol or there are a series of competitions sanctioned by the International BBQ Network across the Summer.

Grillstock is held in July and is a small music festival combined with a BBQ/outdoor living tradeshow and BBQ competition. Categories are the expected main 4 and there are further rounds throughout the day. In the past judging has not been blind and there has been no site access overnight for cooking. This year there is overnight access but it is unclear exactly how judging will work as far as I can see.

The International BBQ Network (IBQN)IBQN offer several competitions per year, usually as part of larger events with wider scope. For example there will be an IBQN competition at Cartmel Racecourse this year as part of their racing weekend schedule in July. IBQN competitions, are a fixed format, 4 main categories (plus optional sides, dessert and sauce), blind judging and fixed turn in times. Judges are trained and certified and there is a guaranteed ratio of judges to entrants. These events are run very much as US events would be.

My favourite competition of the year is IBQN’s Mayhem in May. It’s the first competition in the British season and is held behind closed doors. It’s a very laid back affair with most teams arriving on Friday night for a pre-competition party. What I love about this event is it’s one for the people who love to cook, without the ebb and flow of Joe public visiting the pitches there’s plenty of time to bounce ideas around with other pit masters and also for those of us with experience to give the new teams some serious one-on-one time and help them get up to speed with all aspects of the competition. Experienced competitors will typically make themselves available to teach trimming, prep, and cooking at MiM. It’s one of the best weekends of the year for me!

A list of low n slow BBQ competitions happening in 2012 can be found below:

  • 26/27 May – IBQN Mayhem in May, Tongham, Surrey.
  • 23 June – IBQN European Championships @ The Big BBQ, Canvey Island Essex
  • 30 June / 1st July – Grillstock, Bristol
  • 7/8 July – IBQN Pit Masters Accumulator @ Paddle Round the Pier, Brighton
  • 21-14 – IBQN Pit Masters National Final @ Cartmel Race Weekend, The Lake District

For info on IBQN events, please see http://www.ibqn.com
For info on Grillstock, please see http://www.grillstock.co.uk

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