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PHOTOS – WBQA World BBQ Championships heats up Limerick

WBQA World BBQ Championships at the Peoples Park Limerick – Pictured are Ken Switzer, Culinary Lecturer LIT & WBQA Director of Training Ireland, Letitia Wade, Failte Ireland, John Relihan, Patrick O’Sullivan, President WBQA and Brian Kennedy, Limerick City & County Council. Picture: Arthur Ellis

WBQA World BBQ Championships heats up Limerick this weekend!

Whole hogs, smoked ribs dripping with BBQ flavour, melt in the mouth beef brisket, and chargrilled chicken is just some of the meats that will be added to the BBQs in the People’s Park as Limerick will play host to the WBQA World BBQ Championships 2017.

The Biggest International Barbecue Competition in the World is set to heat up the People’s Park Limerick from Friday, 13th to Sunday, 15th October 2017 where temperatures are set to soar beyond 20º.

The event kicks off with a parade through the streets of Limerick on Friday from 5pm when international teams from over 30 countries around the world are lead into the barbecue arena in the People’s Park, Limerick and the competition commences.

The World Barbecue Association (WBQA)’s three-day family friendly festival will see 100 Fire Chef BBQ teams from 30 Countries Worldwide, including 10 Irish Teams, USA, Chile, Europe and an all-girl team from Sweden, compete for the prestigious WBQA World BBQ  Champion 2017 title.  40,000 revellers and barbecuing aficionados are expected to attend and witness the variety, drama, fun and skill involved in transforming a passion for flame and slow cooking into a sport, teamed with an overall prize value of €15,000.

Limerick-native Patrick O’Sullivan, President of the WBQA, has built a three-day family festival around the Championships.  The People’s Park in Pery Square will be transformed into a World BBQ Festival filled with Artisan Food & Craft Stalls, Live Music, Art Corners, Kids Entertainment, Chill out Areas, Craft Beer, Gin and Whiskey Bars and loads of melt in the mouth BBQ!  The WBQA ethos is Fire, Fun, Food & Friendship.  It may be BBQ but it’s Vegetarian and Eco-Friendly too.

John Relihan, the Greatest Fire Chef ever, will be doing BBQ Demonstrations throughout the weekend. Learn five ways to barbecue fish with a Fish Masterclass by BBQ Ben.  There will also be Butchery demos from John Stone Beef and Wild Atlantic Foods and experts flying in to give La Plancha demos (What’s La Plancha? Come and find out) 

WBQA World BBQ Championships

WBQA World BBQ Championships ( WBQA) launch at The peoples Park Limerick with Chef John Relihan. Pic Arthur Ellis

Some of the greatest fire chefs in the world along with talented backyard enthusiasts will be competing to be crowned WBQA World BBQ Champions 2017 and must participate in five mandatory BBQ categories over the weekend; beef brisket, pork shoulder, pork ribs, chicken, and fish. Teams also have the option to compete for three additional categories; vegetarian, dessert and chef’s choice which requires chefs to cook a specialty BBQ dish from their homeland. Spectators will undoubtedly relish the spectacle of the championship, while 150 fully trained WBQA Certified judges, 80 of whom are international judges, will blind judge all the categories, casting their marks based on taste, texture, the appearance of meat and presentation of the dish. With the overall winner receiving €5,000 cash and the coveted World BBQ Champion trophy, they will be fired up to create the top dish!  Category winners will receive a category trophy and medals for their team to bring back to their native country.

This international event is estimated to be worth at least one million euro to the local economy and is supported by Fáilte Ireland and Limerick City and County Council.

Speaking at the launch Brian Kennedy, Limerick City and County Council, said: “Limerick City and County Council is delighted that the World BBQ Association has chosen Limerick to host its world championships. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Limerick as a great place to host and enjoy an international food event.  We are very keen to facilitate the championships and work with the Association in the beautiful People’s Park which is one of our prized assets. We wish Patrick O’Sullivan and his team all the best for the event.”

Fáilte Ireland food champion John Relihan, is an international chef and well known in Ireland for his work with Holy Smoke Cork—a restaurant that is known for cooking with smoke and fire. John is also the World BBQ Association Ambassador for the event and honed his BBQ skills when he worked as head chef in Barbecoa restaurant London. John has worked with severely international chefs all over the world including Jamie Oliver, Chris Cosentino San Francisco and Adam Perry Lang.

Speaking in advance of the festival John said “It’s a huge honour for me to be the Ambassador for the World BBQ Association for this event, it’s a wonderful opportunity for Ireland to showcase its produce and people and it also allows us to share our traditional dishes cooked through the element of fire. Cooking over the fire and with fire is a very sociable experience and brings people together and connects us in a wonderful way through food.”

Patrick O’Sullivan, President of the World BBQ Association has pledged that this year’s festival will surpass expectations and live up to the WBQA ethos of Fire, Food, Friendship & Fun, “What makes us different is that we celebrate the culinary and cultural differences of every country and promote each of their unique styles of BBQ cooking and presentation. We promote BBQ cooking using traditional methods with wood, charcoal etc. We promote friendship throughout the worlds ‘countries through the fabulous sport of BBQ.

The first WBQA World BBQ Championships took place in Ireland over 28 years ago, and while we’ve travelled the world celebrating food, culture and friendship, we can’t wait to have Limerick host the 2017 World BBQ Championships!

The event will continue thought to Sunday with over 40,000 revellers young and old expected to visit. This spectacular event which will attract the culinary enthusiasts and back-yard barbecuers alike and will witness the variety, drama, fun and skill involved in transforming a passion for flame and slow cooking into a sport.

The park will be open to the public on Friday 13th from 4 pm – 10 pm and on Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 10 pm. Friday tickets are extremely reasonably priced at €5, and Saturday and Sunday tickets are available at €10 per person per day, with children under 18 accompanied by a parent FREE. There is also the option to buy a weekend ticket (Friday to Sunday) for only €15. 

For details on the WBQA World BBQ Championships click here

For more on events in Limerick click here

Pictures by Julie McLoughlin/ilovelimerick

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.