Foodies from across the state are set to make the trip to the small town of Urana for its barbecue food festival, Flame N’ Feast.
Grills will be firing from 4 pm on Saturday (3 February) and will feature a smorgasbord of cuisines and dishes. There’ll also be classes led by award-winning barbecue pitmaster, author and “BBQ Personality of the Year” Grant Neal.
Mr Neal has long been considered the country’s king of barbecue and has the resume to back it up.
The award-winning pitmaster has travelled the world with his team The Smoking Joint, including to the United States, Europe and Asia where he has won countless awards all while learning to perfect the art of barbecue.
Grant is a bestselling co-author with his SkinnyEntertaining Cookbook and was also named the Australasian Barbecue Alliance 2022 BBQ Personality of the Year.
Grant began cooking barbecue following a year-long stint living in the United States.
“I was living in the southern states of the US and I found myself drawn to their food,” he said.
“I remember trying a lot of the local barbecue and everything tasted incredible and I was shocked that they had nothing like it in Australia.”
“Once I arrived back in Australia, I tried replicating what I learnt. My family enjoyed it but didn’t love it,” he said.
“I thought I clearly must have done something wrong because normally the food is delicious. I started experimenting and trying new things and made some substitutes.”
Grant began experimenting with lamb barbecue recipes, something that is uncommon elsewhere in the world and has since built a global reputation for his food.
Despite now living in South Australia, Grant also has connections to the Riverina through training at the Kapooka Army Base. Due to his history with the region, Grant said he couldn’t wait to showcase and pass on his knowledge to the people of the Riverina.
“When the opportunity to participate in the Urana Flame N’ Feast came up, I was really excited,” Grant said.
“Although I was based there for a brief period several years ago, I haven’t spent a lot of time there since. For me, the Riverina just seems like the perfect place to enjoy different barbecue.”
Grant said he enjoyed teaching others the tricks of cooking barbecue and doing so at events like the Flam N’ Feast festival was the perfect way to draw tourists to towns like Urana.
“The festival is kind of the brainchild of the local (Lockhart Shire) council and the state government,” Grant said.
“The organisers asked me to be involved and for me, being able to travel to towns I’ve never visited and make food for people to enjoy, that’s the dream!”
The Urana Flame N’ Feast Festival will be held at the Urana Aquatic and Leisure Centre on Federation Way, Urana, on Saturday, 3 February, from 4 pm to 8 pm. Entry is free.