2017 Australasian Barbecue Wars and Blues Festival | photos, video

IF you thought Port Macquarie couldn’t possibly sizzle any more, then you were wrong.

The 2017 Buffalo Trace Australian Barbecue War is now officially the biggest barbecue competition in the world attracting more than 100 entrants from across the country to roast it low and slow for the top titles in the pork, lamb, beef and chicken categories.

Grand Champions Barbecue Mafia took out the fourth-annual event in a well-deserved win with Smoking Coals Barbecue taking out the Reserve Grand Championship.

Natural Born Grillers snouted their way into top prize in the pork rib section while Weber kettle Club claimed gold for their pork.

Southern Boys Barbecue had the most sensational sausages while smoking Coals Barbecue took out the most succulent lamb title.

Smoking Hot Smartfires nailed the chicken category with the big boys brisket award going to Scotch and Smoke.

The Australasian Barbecue Wars is now touted as the premier barbecue event in the southern hemisphere and also served as a round of the Australian Barbecue Championships.

Australian Barbecue Alliance judge Demi Lollback said Port Macquarie is now home of barbecue and has given the worldwide movement its own unique Aussie flavour.

More than 100 judges each sampled 36 perfectly cooked proteins, many of which had been slow cooking for more than 12 hours at Breakwall Tourist Park’s barbecue central.

“There are some things that make this competition uniquely Australian You have lamb as a category – that is not included in the US,” Demi explained.

“Australia dishes up very regional flavours so we encourage creativity.”

Eric Gephart has travelled the world firing up the hot coals.

Gephart calls North Carolina home but said Port Macquarie, its location and people make this event one of the world’s best.

He added the ‘war’ was more than just a competition. The smoke, heat and delicious flavours bring people together in barbecue camaraderie.

“It’s that primal urge to surround yourself with fire,” Gephart said.

“Light one and people will come together.”

Town Green came alive with the soulful sounds of a stellar blues line up to conclude the three day event.

Headlining the Blues Festival were Mar Haze, The Sweet Jelly Rolls and Dusty Boots.