Australia has its own barbecue tradition—actually, it involves grilling rather than smoking meats—which includes lamb and the intriguing pastime of “sausage sizzles.” But that’s not what’s taking off in Australia right now. No, this summer, Aussies are obsessed with American-style barbecue, which they’ve turned into a competitive sport.
The Daily Telegraph reports American “low and slow” barbecue is all the rage, inspiring Australians to purchase expensive smokers in order to tackle big-ass meats like brisket and pork shoulder. Competitive barbecue is growing fast there, with teams going head-to-head to see who can produce the juiciest and most flavorful barbecue. Hark Smokers Australia tells The Daily Telegraph that sales of smokers have increased 25 percent annually for the last five years, and the Australasian Barbecue Alliance grew from 20 competitive teams in its inaugural 2014 year to a current 300 teams.
“[Australia barbecue] is where the U.S. was 15 years ago, which is a massive accomplishment considering how long the U.S. has had this style of barbecue,” Big Moe Cason—of American reality show BBQ Pitmaster—tells The Daily Telegraph. He also notes that Australians are riffing on American barbecue with their own techniques, like smoking meats over native wood chips made from iron bark. So wait, is anyone still throwing shrimp on the barbie, or have they moved on to brisket?