Jackson and Paige Roberts compete at kids barbecue competition

Barbecue king and queen: Pitmasters Jackson and Paige Roberts with their trophies and medals. Photo: Matt Attard
Barbecue king and queen: Pitmasters Jackson and Paige Roberts with their trophies and medals. Photo: Matt Attard

LOCAL barbecue whizz kids, Jackson and Paige Roberts, competed in an Australian first on October 15 and 16.

The Smokin The Valley Brisket Challenge at Wingham was the first ABA sanctioned kids barbecue competition in Australia.

There were 11 juniors aged from six to 14 who competed in the junior BBQ challenge with locals Paige and Jackson finishing third and fifth respectively. 

Paige said she felt 'excited’ to be the first Junior girl to win a trophy in a low and slow barbecue competition.

“I was even happier to beat my brother,” she said. “I was feeling a bit scared to compete but after giving it a go, I’m keen to compete again very soon.”

Jackson said he will ‘definitely’ beat Paige next time.

Promoter Grant Coleman wanted to encourage a strong family friendly environment as part of the Round 28 Barbeques Galore Australian Barbecue Championship series event sanctioned by the Australasian Barbecue Alliance. 

With the barbecue scene growing in leaps and bounds in the country, with Port Macquarie recently holding a massive competition that saw teams from all over Australia and New Zealand competing.

Proud dad Adam Roberts, co-founder of the ABA, had mentored his kids for the last couple of years, teaching them basic fire management, meat preparation, cooking techniques and presentation plating. 

“We had a busy month or so before the challenge practicing cooking up a whole range of meats on the barbecue smokers to get the kids ready,” he said.

While Jackson was determined to beat his sister, there was some light-hearted trash-talking going on at home.

“He was trying to psyche her out. Paige ended up finishing third overall and the first junior girl,” Mr Roberts said.

There were trophies, prizes and even cash up for grabs at the junior event, which was won by young gun Flynn Hogston whose dad, Joel, regularly competes in the National Championship Series with Central Coast based Weber Kettle Club.

Runner Up at the event was Cooper Tuner from Wingham whose Dad, Ashley, is also a top-ranked competition barbecue competitor. 

The juniors were assisted on the day with knife handling and fire-management by a number of competition expert pitmasters who acted as 'mentors'.

The ABA hopes to include more of these junior challenges in 2018 across Australia.