Unsurprisingly, I’m a BBQ fan. We’re spoilt for choice here in Dublin, with delicious offering from the likes of Pitt Bros, My Meat Wagon and my personal favourite, Bison. We’ve been even more spoilt for the last few years with the arrival of The Big Grill Festival in Herbert Park. I selflessly dragged myself there and this is how I got on.
That’s what it’s all about really, isn’t it? I started well with the pork belly from Asador. Tender chunks of pork were coated with a deliciously sweet apple wood smoked BBQ sauce. This was topped with the crunchiest crackling. Because I’m not a monster, I chose to add some beef dripping bread. My husband started with a pulled pork sandwich from The Pigs Tale. Pulled pork can sometimes be bland, but these juicy strips were well seasoned without overpowering the pork. The structural integrity of the bun didn’t fare so well though! It was a messy job!
Stuffed after round one, we bravely persevered. Next up was Fowl Play. €7 got us a massive portion of juicy smoked chicken breast and wing. The crispy, buttery skin was a highlight. This was served with a couple of generous pieces of sweet potato and a charred corn on the cob. I usually stay away from chicken when I visit BBQ joints, mainly because I’m a ribs girl, but also because it can sometimes be bland and boring. Fowl Play managed to instantly change my mind. We shared this, because it was more than enough for two, and followed it up with a shared half rack of ribs from Smokin’ Bones. Because of my Bison obsession, we rarely go anywhere else for BBQ, but I think that may change. While I still prefer Bison’s sweet, tangy sauce, Smokin’ Bones served up some seriously tender ribs. There was an ‘oh no, we don’t have a knife’ moment, but that quickly passed as we tore the sweet pork apart with our hands.
I can’t help having a massive sweet tooth, and after the savoury BBQ feast I was dying for dessert. We passed up doughnuts and cookies in favour of Oreo Cookie Pie from Smokin’ Bones. An Oreo crumb base was topped with a light Oreo mousse. It was fine. It wasn’t too sweet or rich so it was the perfect way to end our day of gluttony.
While I was expecting a massive choice of craft beer to be on offer, I was pleased to see that wine, spirits and cocktails were also available. My Cedarwood (vodka, cranberry, lime and ginger ale) from Dingle Distillery was fruity and went down easy. The perfect BBQ drink.
The atmosphere was relaxed and laid-back. The Big Grill Festival is family friendly, so there were plenty of kids around, but they were cute and well-behaved. One of them initiated a balloon sword fight with my husband. It was an unfair fight though. My husband had left his balloon sword at home.
There are demos throughout the weekend, where you can learn things like bushcraft, as well as eating competitions and the opportunity to watch the Pitmaster competition entrants at work. (BBQ kit porn!)
Tickets aren’t necessarily cheap (€18 each for the Sunday) but early birds could avail of Buy One Get One Free tickets, and the food is incredibly good value with large portions of delicious food on offer.
Sign up for The Big Grill Fest’s mailing list here and stick it on your to-do list for next year!