BBQ Food Will ‘Get Into Your Heart’ at Dalriada’s Celtic Smoke

Mick Duffy is looking forward to the big BBQ competition, Celtic Smoke, organised in conjunction with Food NI, Northern Ireland’s successful food and drink promotion body at Glenarm Estate on 13-14 July.

Mick leads the three-strong Smokin’ Yankees BBQ team from Belfast and aims to see competitors from the US, Ireland, the Netherlands testing their outdoor culinary skills against each other in the colourful event endorsed by the world renowned Kansas City BBQ Society(KCBS). It’s the first time that KCBS has backed a competition in Northern Ireland.

“We compete regularly in KCBS events in the US and elsewhere in the world,” says Mick, a social worker by profession. “We all love to BBQ. Smoke really does get into your heart. We were delighted then when Food NI agreed to support our plan to hold the all-Ireland competition at Glenarm for the first time,” he adds.

He continues that the event provides another opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland’s standing as the “World’s Best Food Destination’ won by Food NI at the World Travel Trade Awards in London in November.

Food NI’s Christine Cousins explains: “Celtic Smoke is going to be a tremendously colourful event for everyone at what is probably one of best possible locations here particularly during the successful Dalriada Festival. Our hope is that it will become a regular feature of the vibrant food and drink scene here.

“We have been delighted by the support the initiative has already received from the Mid and East Antrim Council, which has a longstanding commitment to the successful development of companies in its Food Network, as well as Meat Merchant and many BBQ equipment suppliers.

“The support we have received and continue to receive from Adrian Morrow and Nigel Campbell at Glenarm Estate for the event is immensely important and will help ensure the event is an outstanding success.

“And it’s great to be working closely with Mick at Smokin’ Yankees and the KCBS team,” adds Christine.

Smokin’ Yankees BBQ has won the title of Irish BBQ Champions and has competed in huge BBQ competitions such as the ‘Jack Daniels World Invitational BBQ’ in Tennessee and the American Royal World Series of BBQ’ in Kansas City as well as winning titles at the QFest in Devon, an event involving KCBS which promotes the activity worldwide.

The Northern Ireland team comprises BBQ enthusiasts Michael Duffy, James Moore and Conor Dawson, all from Belfast and long-term friends who share a passion for cooking over an open fire. The team has also developed its own BBQ sauces and joined forces with Peter Hannan’s Meat Merchant in Moira to create sausages suitable for cooking over fire. The Meat Merchant is also a sponsor of the team and will be backing the competition at Glenarm.

There’s a BBQ competition in most countries around the world. KCBS, for instance, sanctions over 500 barbecue contests worldwide. From volunteering to actual event production, members also offer assistance to civic and charitable organisations who arrange events.

Teams at Glenarm will compete in several categories. Sunday, the main competition day, will focus on cooking chicken, pork ribs, pork shoulder and brisket. Saturday will see the teams cooking steak, lamb and salmon. The ingredients will be Irish and each team will be presented with an identical basket of ingredients to work with. Pre-prepared sauces and ready-made marinades are not allowed, but teams are allowed to bring their own herbs and spices.

Mick continues: “The inclusion of the BBQ will make Dalriada one of the biggest food events in Ireland as a time when preparations are well advanced for the exciting Taste the Island initiative which will highlight the quality and variety of original food and drink to be found across the island to visitors and locals.

“The estate, furthermore, has abundant space for camping, plenty of food-to-go offerings,” he adds. In addition, KCBS will be hosting BBQ cooking courses along with a two- day programme for training future judges by experts.

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