Ricki Brideoake has a love for BBQ like few others you are ever likely to meet. FOCUS chatted with Ricki on his recent return from the USA, where he journeyed to learn more about the art form, collect a little award, and even found time to get married! Read on …
Can you tell us a bit about your connection to the local area?
My wife and I originally moved here four years ago for my work, and we fell in love with the area. I’m originally from a smaller inland country town, and I think the thing I like most about this area is that I get the same small country town vibe mixed in with the relaxed beachside feeling. We love it here.
For those who may not be aware, briefly describe what it is that you do?
If I had to describe what I do in one word, it would be BBQ; it’s what my whole business revolves around. I set out to create a business around my passion, and that was BBQing. For the past nine years I have dedicated my life to finding out how to create the best BBQ food, and I have condensed this down into an easy to follow system that enables anyone at home to create killer BBQ food.
We do BBQ competitions in Australia and around the world to keep our skills honed. I also travel around and teach classes to people about how to create simple and delicious BBQ at home.
When we last spoke with you, it was at the beginning of launching this enterprise. How is it going for you?
It’s definitely been a tough but rewarding journey – the start was probably the hardest, as any small business owner will probably tell you. We have been steadily growing over the past year. I’ve learned the key to that is surrounding yourself with a good team and good business coaches. I am even helping out some local people in their businesses now, to help give back all the lessons I have learnt along my journey. I love helping those who are keen to create successful businesses around their passion as well.
You recently travelled to an event in the US;, can you tell us about that experience?
We went over to the USA to compete in the World Championships of BBQ the American Royal. It was an absolute blast, and it was really eye opening to see just how big BBQ is over in America.
It must have been an amazing experience. Describe the size of the event …
The event had over 550 teams competing and over 1,000 individual stalls of all things BBQ. I heard they had more than 30,000 people through the gates over the whole weekend. It was some sort of crazy cross between a huge Country music festival and a BBQ competition. Basically, it was how I would describe heaven.
What are some of the things you saw that you hadn’t seen here in Australia?
The thing that stood out the most were the awesome set ups that the BBQ teams had – extremely nice Winnebagos, huge BBQ smokers. It was like they had all been given one hour with an unlimited budget in a huge camping store. BBQ is more than a hobby in America; it’s a way of life to them.
And to top it off, you had a bit of success as well. Tell us about that …
Yeah, we managed to snag a Grand Champion win in the Celebrity Cook Off over there, which was great. There were eight celebrities, who were each paired with a pitmaster, and we were lucky enough to be invited as one of the Pitmasters. We were pitted against some previous world champion pit masters and were asked to cook steak and pork loin.
We came first in steak and second in pork, which won us Grand Champion overall, so we were very excited about that.
Apart from attending the event, what were the other reasons for travelling to the USA?
Besides the BBQ event, I also had the small matter of attending my wedding with an American girl I met nine years ago. She turned up, the DJ played Daryl Braithwaite, and we had BBQ served the day after at the recovery. So all in all, it went great!
Now you’re back in OZ, what are your plans for summer?
Now we are back, I have a bunch of BBQ Bootcamps planned on the weekends, so I will be very busy cooking and teaching BBQ for anyone who wants to come along and become a BBQ legend.
Where can people find out more?
The best way is to like me on Facebook, Bully BBQs, and Instagram to keep up to date with everything we are up to.
Be sure to pay a visit to my website too; it’s still under construction, but will contain loads of recipes and other BBQ goodies in the next few weeks.
Also, come along to a class for some good food and fun! Information on classes can be found on my Facebook page.