Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Grillstock Manchester 2013

Grillstock. "Meat. Music. Mayhem", apparently. A Bristol-born BBQ festival that'd had the punters coming back for more meaty treats since 2010. Last year Bailey became so fed up of reading about delicious meat that he couldn't get his chops around, that this year's original plan was to travel all the way down to Bristol. Then we heard that this wouldn't be necessary  - the Grillstock team had obviously realised that Manchester is ace, and that therefore it would be a great idea to bring the BBQ up to us lovely northerners.

Bailey had been looking forward to Grillstock since he ordered his tickets on the first day they went on sale back in something silly like February. It sounded like it would be the BBQ event to end all BBQ events with loads going on.

So you may be wondering what qualifies me - a meat-shy pescatarian - to write about a BBQ festival such as Grillstock. Well, before going to the event I too would have wondered the same thing.

I do have to say though that the event, although rather 'meat-heavy', was so well organised, so varied and most importantly so fun that the meatiness of it didn't stop me enjoying it but of course made it downright awesome for the meat-loving public who were there.

Bailey and I went down early doors on the Saturday with our lovely friends Craig amd Francesca. We were lucky that it was one of the most beautiful weekends Manchester had seen all summer and therefore our first port of call was the Brooklyn Brewery bar followed by a brunchtastic snack.

Bailey opted from a pulled pork roll from Red's True Barbecue and I plumped for a deliciously messy and cheesy mushroom burger from Burger Theory.

This would be only the start of the weekend's eating and drinking. On offer were also meaty treats from Grillstock themselves, a second excellent veggie option in the form of chickpea flatbreads which I indulged in twice, amazing tarts from Sweet Tarts and top nosh from local BBQ kings Fire & Salt BBQ Co. who served up the best meat Bailey tasted all weekend. This led us to wonder why more local meat champs hadn't been asked to take part, but I suppose at least Nando's weren't there.

Grillstock Brisket
Apart from having the opportunity to consume and imbibe a load of delicious food and drink, I really enjoyed the other stuff Grillstock had going on - the BBQ demonstrations were a particularly good way to while away the hours, that is, if sitting around drinking with your mates doesn't appeal!

My favourite part of the weekend however was seeing the different food-related competitions - it really is great to see people having fun with food. I love a good competition and judging by the crowds these events attracted, so does every meat lover in Manchester.

The first competition we watched was the Franks Red Hot Chicken Wing Challenge which I was very excited to see Craig take part in.

Having known Craig a fair few years now, I've learnt that this man does not shy away from a challenge. However I really did not expect to see him transformed into a super speedy wing eating machine. I really did think he was going to reign victorious here but he was pipped to the post at the last minute by an unexpected competitor. Still an extremely impressive effort.

The other competition I rocked up for on both days and that I (and the many, many other spectators that also rocked up) found the most intriguing was the Chilli Eating Competition.

This was basically where a load of mentalists came to eat raw chilli after raw chilli which got progressively hotter as the competition went on. One of the mentalists to enter on the Sunday was none other than Bailey himself. This really was an unforgettable experience for him (and me as a worried spectator) and while he was a bit disappointed that he didn't make it to the scotch bonnet, I personally was just relieved when the whole thing didn't end in tears.

So as you may have gathered, I thought Grillstock was bloody excellent. Considering this was an event that I wasn't even particularly bothered about going to, it turned out to be one of my favourite weekends in Manchester this summer! The organisers did a fabulous job of organising everything and there really was something for everyone (even pescatarians...). I really hope they will come back to us next year, you never know I may even take part in the chilli eating myself...


  1. I'll be worried about you if you take part in the chilli eating competition, if your performance at Proof is anything to go by ;)

    1. Haha very true. Wimp. I would require a LOT of training!!!!


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