Kilcoy gets a taste of Bundy's best barbie
WHEN Bundaberg does something well, we don't keep it to ourselves.
Our latest export: juicy, juicy meat.
Tom Espinoza, who previously sizzled sausages as Tom's Chorizos, has rebranded his business as Artisan BBQ and after taking out the Bundaberg Rum BBQ Battle with his pork ribs earlier this year, he took on his biggest challenge yet: serving hundreds of carnivores at the inaugural Kilcoy Beer and BBQ Festival.
"We had 120kg of pork, 70kg of sausages and 15kg of beef, and we were done by about 9pm,” Tom said.
"We sold everything: 400 plates of food, and 300 sausages on rolls.
"It was four times as much as we've ever done before - at Riverfeast we usually do about 100 plates and 100 sausages.
"It was a bit of a gamble,” he said, "and it paid off.”
Tom sources pork from Zac's Meats and beef from Tender Sprouted Meats.
For him, barbecue is about more than just the food.
"It's an extension of our South American culture.
"It's similar to Australia in that barbecue is a big part of bringing family and friends together.”
The Kilcoy festival saw revellers flock to talk meat over craft beer.
"The festival had a great atmosphere. It was really good to talk to those regional people - particularly in good cattle country like that - they know their meat well,” Tom said.
"I took a lot of black sausage down, and it's the first place I've been to where that was so well received - they have a really old school mentality, and they were willing to have a try.”
Artisan BBQ pork ribs are served up in the traditional latin-american way, incorporating more popular modern cuts such as baby back and St Louis styles popular in North America.
Tom hopes he can spread a love of old school cuts far and wide, and change people's minds about meat.
Using more of the animal makes for more sustainable eating, he said.
"A lot of the meat industry now is dominated by modern and lean cuts; whereas our offerings are old school and very flavourful.
"They're something for young people to try for the first time and for older people to go back to - it's something they would have grown up on.
"Butchers appreciate it as well because you're using the cuts they'd otherwise throw into mince.”
After making a good impression at Kilcoy, Artisan BBQ is gearing up for more.
Tom is booked into next year with commitments including Riverfeast, Crush Festival and the Spirit of Bundaberg Festival, and is taking catering bookings.
He's also teaming up with Bargara Brewing Co and Childers-based Off The Wagon Tours to offer a Beer and BBQ degustation menu, pairing five courses of BBQ with matching beers, set to launch on Melbourne Cup Day 2016 at The Brewhouse.
Check out Artisan Barbecue on Facebook.