Australia’s acclaimed barbecue festival, Meatstock, hits Melbourne this weekend with a smoking lineup of low-and-slow legends, meats and music. Heading up the bill is international barbecue veteran, Moe Cason, who joins a member of the "Texas BBQ Royal Family" Wayne Mueller for the festival. The Meatstock team has called in some heavyweights on the music front, too, with Aussie legends Jebediah taking a harpoon straight to your nostalgic feels. Jazzy trio, Cookin’ On Three Burners are also slinging some tunes across the weekend—no bonus points for anyone picking up on the theme there.
While Meatstock pretty much does what it says on the packet, the festival also exists to shine a light on how diverse barbecuing is not just as a cooking technique, but as a community, too. Flying that flag is Laura Romeo, Australia’s first Weber Specialist, who has created over 200 barbecue recipes since joining the team that caters to the herbivores and carnivores alike.
Speaking with the grill-master ahead of her appearance at the festival, it’s clear that she’s not the only one who believes barbecuing is an all-inclusive affair, and that’s clearly going to be the case at this year’s Meatstock.
“I truly believe that barbecuing is for everyone. It’s not just a man’s job. If you love food and if you have a passion for cooking, you need to get into barbecuing because it is the best way to cook. And at Meatstock, it’s really just a great time for people to come together.”
There are at least several opportunities to take note of Romeo’s expertise at Meatstock. First, in a live coaching session on how to cook a steak, a Pitmasters Q&A panel and then her live cooking demo which is set to highlight the simplicity and diversity of barbecue cooking.
“Barbecues aren’t just for meat and that’s one of the things that I love to teach people. On the barbecue, you can cook pizzas, or roast veggies or even make curries; I have a lot of fun cooking with curries. Even baking is amazing in a barbecue,” says Romeo.
There’s certainly no denying that Meatstock will be rich in a myriad of meats, and while Romeo would no doubt cook a medium-rare porterhouse to perfection, she’s keen to share her knowledge on barbecue’s versatility and accessibility to all diet-types at this year’s event and beyond.
“Veganism is huge an people are looking for meat-free alternatives more and more. Vegetables are amazing on the barbecue and if you’re a vegan, you need to be barbecuing because it’s the best way to cook any food and bring out flavour.”
For those who’re hankering for your classic low-and-slow beef brisket, 12-hour pulled porks, and smokey, salty barbecue rubs, don’t despair because Meatstock is bringing in a host of traditionalists, too. Try your luck on the grill at the Sausage Sizzle Throwdown, taste the goods and check out renowned barbecue teams going head to head at Culley’s BBQ Wars or sample your way through fare from some of Melbourne’s finest smokers.
Catch Laura Romeo alongside other barbecue royalty at Meatstock this Saturday and Sunday.
Where: Melbourne Showgrounds, Epsom Road, Flemington
When: Saturday 14 March and Sunday 15 March
For more information, click here.
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Image credit: supplied.