Manchester is truly embracing the era of the so-filthy-it’s-fashionable junk food of America, evident from the queue snaking its way daily from the doors of Almost Famous. Along with SoLita’s bacon jam and pulled pork Scotch egg, it would appear that all things carnivorous are going nowhere other than the depths of our stomachs. But beyond the overpriced hotdog, there is an art to this meaty fodder.
Welcome Grillstock Festival, a two-day meat feast taking place June 8th-9th in Albert Square (that place where you were chomping on a Bratwurst and sipping mulled wine at the Christmas markets a few months ago), celebrating the smoky pit of the barbeque.
For the barbeque aficionados amongst you, there is the King of the ‘Q’ competition, which is the heart of the festival and invites contestants to showcase their low ‘n’ slow barbequing magic with chicken, ribs, brisket and pulled pork. Along with a £1000 cash prize, winners are given the opportunity to compete at the American Royal World Series of BBQ in Kansas City. The only downside is the pretty steep entry cost of £150 per team.
For those whose budgets don’t stretch that far, alongside this are smaller contests of a slightly more light-hearted nature. These include a chilli eating competition and, for those who can’t handle such heat, a rib eating competition.
And for those without a competitive bone in their body, demos and live entertainment provide an easier pace to the weekend, allowing you to stuff your face and soak up the atmosphere.
There will be British and American beers on offer with Brewstock, and Brooklyn Brewery will also commandeering the pumps. Along with music from headliners Kitty Daisy & Lewis, the line-up features local favourites, Riot Jazz.
There may well be no guarantee of sunshine, but at least we can revel in the Great British tradition of the barbeque without having to struggle with soggy coals on the patio. Put down the tongs and instead let some real meat lovers do it for you.