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BBQ chef takes secret New Zealand ‘rub’ to world champs

BBQ chef takes secret New Zealand ‘rub’ to world champs

Christchurch BBQ maestro Stu Weatherhead heads to the United States tomorrow (Thursday) to compete in the World BBQ Cooking Contest alongside 400 other teams.

Weatherhead has been invited by an American team to look after the lamb section of their entry in this teams event. Each team can have up to eight people overseeing different types of BBQ fare. The contest, in Memphis, runs from May 15-17 with estimated 50,000 people joining into the party atmosphere over three days.

Gas cannot be used to cook, with charcoal, hickory and fruit wood (apple etc) amongst the popular options. Weatherhead expects to be cooking either a shoulder or leg of lamb and has been experimenting with different rubs to give his meat that winning taste.

“I have settled on my own New Zealand flavored rub based around horopito (peppery tasting leaves) with garlic, onion, paprika, sugar, chilli powder and mustard seeds. I plan to take about 1.5 kgs of the rub which has been specially dried and ground,” he said.

All the food will be smoked, to a degree, and most slow cooked.

“I expect the lamb will take between five and six hours to cook. Once finished it will be blind-tasted by the respective judges before a winning team is announced,” he said.

Weatherhead will also judge a BBQ cook off in Long Beach, California, this weekend.

“These BBQ competitions are held in virtually every state and run between nine and 10 months of the year. To be able to enter the World BBQ Cooking Contest you have had to either win a cook off or be invited. In my case it was invitation. In the United States, lamb is considered to be in the exotic section along with venison, raccoon, and rattlesnake.”

While he would like to take New Zealand lamb with him to the competition, he will have to use their home-grown product.

“We just don’t realise how big BBQ competitions are. There is a whole trade fair put around the World BBQ contest. It’s like having something as big as the Christchurch A+P Show, but based solely on BBQs. Corporate hospitality is a major part of the three days with guests being flown in from all around the United States,” he said.

Weatherhead is a director of Moveable Feasts and developed Stu’s Smoking BBQ as a second brand after seeing the style of cooking in the States. With both brands they are now one of Christchurch’s leading location catering and event management companies.


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