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The Competitive World of BBQing

The World BBQ Championships take place every year in the county town of Limerick, Ireland, believe it or not.

It happens in October, which doesn’t strike us as the most ‘outdoor cooking time-of-year’, but organiser Patrick Sullivan, who is also the WBQA president, assures us sceptics at Certainly Wood that the weather hasn’t let them down yet.

Prior to the big day, there are WBQA events all over the globe to find the best barbecuers in the world to represent their country in Ireland. What we particularly like about these events is that the rules state you have to cook on wood, wood pellets or charcoal, so none of that namby pamby cooking on gas!


Jack Daniels World Invitational Barbecue Competition – 27th – 28th October


This is the first event in the BBQ calendar, taking place just a couple of weeks after the WBQA Championships in Limerick. Hundreds of top barbecue teams from countries such as Australia, Bahamas, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, South Africa and Switzerland are invited to participate in the hope of winning a share of the $45,000 prize pot on offer.

The categories each team has to compete in are: Pork Ribs, Pork Shoulder/Butts, Beef Brisket, Chicken, Dessert, Cook’s Choice (Home Cookin’ from the Homeland for internationals) and Jack Daniel’s Sauce.

Some 30k spectators visit Jack Daniel’s home town of Lynchburg, Tennessee to enjoy not only the BBQ competition, but also music, clogging, the country dog costume contest, games and butt (as in pork) bowling.


Fire & Feast Butchers Festival, South Africa – May 2018

As we discovered in our round-the-world tour of cooking outdoors, South Africans love their braai or BBQ. The Fire & Feast Butcher’s Festival is much more than a BBQ competition and is a celebration of all-things meaty.

From famous butchers to top chefs, the festival offers a range of attractions including cookery theatres themed to each type of meat imaginable, a beer and braai tent, a gin garden, live entertainment as well as the SA Free Flame Championships. BBQ teams compete across a range of disciplines to earn their place at the WBBQA event in October.


German BBQ Association

The Germans take their barbecuing very seriously, it would seem, as from May onwards, they hold not one, but nine, BBQ championship events across the country to select their six teams for the world event.


National Barbecue Championship – Italy

Whilst the Germans might have the most events, the Italians boast of having the biggest BBQ event. Teams take part in four events between April and September, which are held throughout the country in Turin, Valese, San Marino and culminating in Modena.

The competition categories include the usual ribs, pork shoulder and chicken, but the Italians have also included a challenge that includes making a cake in their categories.


Netherlands BBQ Spektakel – August

Hosted by the Danish BBQA, this year’s event is the first time the Dutch have hosted a championship so they’re also holding a contest to find people to be judges for next year. If you’re interested, get yourselves over to Eindhoven on 24th and 25th August.


The Big Grill Festival, Dublin – August 2017

Who knew the Irish were so keen on BBQing? This massive event attracts BBQ stars from across the pond and features 25 pit-masters and restaurants, over 50 food stalls, 25 craft breweries, eating competitions, a kids’ area, bushcraft skills, DJs and live music, plus a host of other attractions.


Swiss Black Forest Smoke & Wine Festival – July


Only in its second year, the competition is aimed at the hobby BBQer, but the festival itself features all sorts of other attractions, including live music and food stalls.


Cook in Camargue – June

This event takes place in an area of France where they still run bulls through the streets, so you can expect something special. The teams will be asked to cook chicken, pork ribs, pork butt and brisket. There is also an “Anything But” category where teams can show their skills by cooking something not a little different. When it comes to suggestions, the organisers have hinted at duck and veal – how French? Weber seem to have cornered the market at this competition, as all competitors must use one of their BBQs to participate.

 There are other BBQ events around the world over and above these including festivals in South America and Sweden. If you’d like to find out more about the WBQA and their events, why not take a look at