Do the words “slow cooked marinated ribs” make your mouth water? When you hear “great range of unique craft beers” does it make the beer snob inside you crave a delicious IPA? Do the words “danger – hottest sauce” simply make you scoff due to your ability to down 17 hot wings without so much as breaking a sweat? Then, mate. Have we found the right festival for you?
On the weekend of the 17/18th of March, Gcmag was lucky enough to enter the Melbourne showgrounds for ‘Meatstock’ – arguably Australia and New Zealand’s most delicious food, beer and live music festival.
It was an incredibly windy weekend in Melbourne, but that only assisted in drifting the smell of marinated slow-cooked meats to your nose even before entering the showgrounds. Once inside the festival, we were overwhelmed by the possibilities. Countless options for food vans offering up plates of freshly smoked meats and sides.
‘Fancy Hanks’ were serving up real wood-fired BBQ, and they pride themselves on being “all smoke and no mirrors”. ‘Black Barrel Barbeque’ who delivered juicy brisket and pulled pork sandwiches, expertly smoked for 14 hours. Their locally-sourced produce had onlookers in awe as the meats were cooked fresh in wood-fired, beautifully crafted black barrel barbecues as their name suggests. Another warm mention goes out to the food van that the 90s kids inside all of us would enjoy – the cleverly named ‘Limp Brisket’. These guys offered up ‘melt in your mouth’ Tasmanian Grass-fed beef, Victorian free-range pork and hand reared free-range lamb from a small local Victorian farmer.
The cost of plates ranged from $10 to $30, with some vans having share plate options available for those who have FOMO of not eating every single variety of meat. All of these delicious meaty portions were washed down smoothly with Metastock’s cold craft beer selections.
While walking around the festival, one began to wonder what else there is in life? Could it be that good beer and meat is the meaning of life itself? But then it hit us, live music under the blue skies and sunshine of the Melbourne Showgrounds. Live acts were served up to the crowd by a long list of talented bands and musicians, including Sydney’s Tex Perkins and Melbourne’s Henry Wagons.
On top of all of this, butchering competitions saw some of Australia’s most talented butchers take to the stage to be timed and filmed deboning carcasses like some bizarre but impressive variation of ‘My Kitchen Rules’.
All the while, festival-goers sampled the merchandise from stands offering everything a good BBQ fanatic would require to dish up a mouth-watering meal.
Some notable merchants included:
• ‘The Whiskey Sauce Co’ – combining whiskey with sauce is pure genius.
• ‘aromawood’ flavoured firewood for all your meat smoking needs.
• ‘Maka Leather Knife Rolls’ who offer custom designs to hold your precious carving knives, handmade in Tasmania.
• And finally ‘Biltong.com.au’ who had the most delicious range of dry meats to snack on while you are waiting for that 14-hour smoking to finish.
Weary from a day of pure happiness, we stumbled across what resembled an adults playground of a mechanical bull and probably the most fun festival prize-winning game, by the name of ‘Bury the Hatchet’.
Set out in about ten protected, separated areas similar to batting cages, the competitor is given a small axe aka ‘hatchet’ that he or she must throw towards their wall which has been spray painted with a large target. You are given ten throws, and you don’t win a prize until you dig the hatchet into the very centre of the target at least 4 out of the ten times. This is harder than it sounds as the hatchet needs to be thrown correctly to even have the sharp end hit the wall.
Happily, our correspondent walked away with a stubbie cooler for his efforts, getting 6/10 hatchet throws in the bulls-eye of the target.
Meatstock has gone for this year. But if you would like to know more and be kept in the loop for next year, visit meatstock.com.au and get your gravy i mean groove on.