CHIDLOW is about as far from Kansas City as you can imagine but on Saturday May 26, Chidlow Tavern will take on a distinctly US flavour as it hosts the first annual Spit In The Hills.
The tavern has teamed up with the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) for the event, which forms a trial for a massive barbeque competition at the Tavern on September 15 and 16, which will feature up to 40 teams cooking for a total prize pool of $10,000.
The KSBC, formed in 1985, is the largest competitive barbeque organisation in the world, with more than 15000 members, and is the official sanctioning body of competitive barbeque.
Chidlow Tavern owners Fran and Norm Brewer said, however, this isn’t the barbeque most Australians are familiar with.
“This is the US style, slow and low cooking, the sort of thing you might see on TV on BBQ Pitmasters, which is also run by the KCBS,” Fran said.
“This isn’t slapping a few sausages on the barbie, this is very specific cuts of meat slow cooked and smoked for up to 16 hours.
“Things like brisket, baby back ribs, port butt, that’s the style mandated by KCBS.”
American-style barbeque has taken off in Australia over recent years, with KCBS sanctioned events happening in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, with Chidlow the latest and by far the most unique location added to that list.
It came about after Fran, who has lived in Australia for 30 years but is originally from the US, ran into KCBS officials at an event in Perth.
“I said we’d love to have something like this in the hills, so we took them up to Chidlow and they were really taken with it,” she said.
“Then I was in the US last year and we started speaking to the KCBS and things kind of rolled on from there.
“It’s amazing that you’ve got all these events at major capital cities in Australia, and now Chidlow, it’s just fantastic that we’re really the only country town in Australia that has this endorsement.”
Spit In The Hills is not a KCBS sanctioned event, where competitors slow cook four specific cuts of meat with two KCBS officials overseeing the competition, gaining internationally recognised ranking points, but it is run the same way with one unique twist.
This is the first time a KCBS event has ever been run with spit-roasting as a focus point.
“At the moment we’ve got twelve teams competing, and we’re capping it at 20 for this event – in September we’ll be looking to double that number.
“The three categories are pork on the spit, so they can cook any cut of pork they like, provided it’s on the spit and there’s no electricity and no gas, it has to be wood or charcoal.
“The second is chicken wings, any way they want, and the third is lamb, any cut or any way they want.”
The event later this month will feature markets and other attractions, with the Tavern putting on pulled-pork sliders.
“The air is going to be filled with that amazing smell, and unfortunately there won’t be tasting for the spectators but we will be running Chidlow’s Choice in September, so they’ll be able to eat the competitor’s barbeque and award them points.”
By Liam Ducey