We got fired up for a weekend of heavy eating, American music and a touch of schadenfreude
Words Millie Milliken Photos Shotaway
I’m not 100% sure, but I think he’s weeping,’ says my plus one, wincing. Indeed, things have taken a turn for the worse for one of Grillstock’s chilli-eating competition participants. In front of a baying crowd, the poor guy starts desperately downing what’s left of his milk ration before heroically finishing his scotch bonnet pepper. Finally, shaking his head, he admits defeat. No doubt about it, Grillstock is living up to its tagline of ‘meat, music and mayhem’.
The two-day barbecue festival has taken over Bristol Harbourside’s Lloyds Amphitheatre on one of the summer’s hottest weekends. There’s no VIP offering as such – the closest you can get is a Pit Crew ticket, which for an extra £15 gives guests access to an exclusive party on the Friday night with DJ BBQ on the decks and the Dallas Fort Worth Rodeo mechanical bull.
By Saturday, local traders are peddling dishes from Korean pork and kimchi to gargantuan pulled pork-topped hot dogs. Negronis are followed up with Orchard Pig ciders in efforts to ‘stay hydrated’, while Jim Beam has set up its own area for those who fancy an authentic Kentucky experience.
The main stage sees a mix of music and meat-based fun. The aforementioned chilli-eating competition keeps those of us partial to a touch of schadenfreude thoroughly entertained, while French’s Mustard’s hot dog-eating marathon sees a line-up of willing participants mainlining wieners slathered in the yellow stuff. Heavy nostalgia comes courtesy of tongue-in-cheek rappers Goldie Lookin’ Chain and rockers The Darkness, who belt out tracks from yesteryear for the Sunday-night crowd.
The highlight for us, however, had to be the hillbilly AC/DC tribute act, Hayseed Dixie. A heady mix of cider, singed meat and Tim Carter’s spellbinding banjo playing? I’m nearly wiping away the tears myself.
Copy this Having a variety of competitions throughout the day really captured the crowd’s attention
Big on food festivals? See what we thought of The BBC Good Food Show Feast here.
This article was first published in SquareMeal Beyond 2017