Brits bubble at barbecue contest

A British team was the top international side at the Jack Daniel's Invitational World Champion Barbecue competition in Tennessee, America.

Butcher and meat consultant Viv Harvey, chef Matthew Shropshall and catering development manager Ben Bartlett beat 19 other international teams and came 23rd out of 80 overall in the American-organised event. A second British team came 75th.

Harvey and his team-mates had to cook pork ribs, chicken, American-style whole pork shoulder and beef brisket over a weekend. They also won a separate grilling competition against five American sides and one Norwegian team. The annual event is likened to the Olympics of barbecue competitions. All cooking is done on non-gas barbecues and judges blind-tasted on appearance, taste and tenderness.

Harvey said: "It's nothing like barbecuing in Britain. The brisket and the pork shoulder were cooked for twelve-and-a-half hours. The meat was smoked first for three hours, slow-cooked throughout the night, rested the next morning for two hours and put back on the barbecue for two hours before judging. The ribs were cooked for up to six hours and the chicken for three hours."

The secret is not to cook the meat directly over coals. Using a barbecue that resembled Stephenson's 'Rocket', Harvey and his team allowed heat from a fire pit at one end to percolate through and vent out over the cooking chamber. The method also prevents fat drip and flames. Sweet maple and hickory wood was used to infuse the meats with flavour.

British Pepper & Spice sponsored the team.

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