BBQ, barbers, butchery and bands: music and meat festival Meatstock is on 13 & 14 Feb at Sydney Showgrounds. Xavier Fennell gets into the thick of it.
First thing's first: food. There is more than enough to go around, with the only difficulty being the choice between elusive Sydney burger master Burgers By Josh, The Smoking Brothers with their Aussie-tinged Southern American styled barbecue, Sydney's first "low 'n' slow" BBQ caterer Rangers Texas BBQ and every other saliva-inducing food vendor that will be there (like, heaps). Plus, there'll be cold beer and American bourbon galore.
Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter
Meatstock is the kind of celebration that leaves you with a full stomach pretty darn quick. So if you're unable to stuff anymore of that slow-smoked BBQ pork into your already full mouth (or are giving yourself a breather to digest until you can stomach more), you can find a bunch of stuff that is more on the watching-and-listening side of things.
Feel free to watch the Barber Wars take place, pitching 15 barbers against each other on stage in an all-out snipping and fading battle of the ages. We all wish the battle could take place in a Hunger Games-styled arena with each Barber using only his trade tools to survive… but that's just not gonna happen. This is, however, an opportunity to check out some sweet beard/hair combos straight from the razors of the best barbers in Sydney and surrounds.
It wouldn't be a Meatstock with a BBQ War: the festival is bringing together BBQ and smokehouse teams from all over to do what they do best. Will Southern Boys BBQ take the glory or will Violent Smoko be crowned the best barbecue (aka BBBQ?). With at least 20 teams bringing the heat, literally, this smoky hoedown is worth getting down for. If you don't do it for the meat, do it for the potentially punny team names.
Watch 59 butchers break down half a saddle of pork and half a lamb in a set amount of time while judges look on. We're not sure how exactly you judge the winners (perfect cuts? Neatest? Prettiest?) but that's why we're curious.
Among all the meaty debauchery it's easy to fall under the spell of the meatmother, leaving one with an uncontrollable desire to take all the fun home with you. Fortunately, there's a sweet expo featuring products from some excellent companies. Check out Melbourne's own Fancy Hank's homemade BBQ sauces, among plentiful other dry rubs, spices, meats, and even clothing. Or perhaps you're in the market for a sweet new barbecue, smoker or grill, in which case Weber, Radar Hill or ProQ have your back.
What good is a festival without music? Meatstock boasts what will be one of the last ever performances of the hairiest groups in Aussie rock, The Beards. Furthermore, the festival features a solid selection of country, rock and folk acts from all over set to bring the weekend together nicely.