The global ‘low & slow’ BBQ scene is seriously heating up, with Australian hospitality competing amongst the world’s best.

Next week the coveted Jack Daniel’s invitational international BBQ competition takes place in Tennessee, where 100 teams will compete for the glory of being named global champion.

There are just 30 teams coming from outside the USA, including just one from Australia – BadAss BBQ – comprised of renowned pub chef Mitchell Davis and marketing professional Michael Willcocks.

badass-trophy_adj_crpsq_lrThe BadAss boys have won a string of accolades in Australia’s burgeoning BBQ scene, and earned the right to compete in the US in The Jack, which takes place every October.

Davis has steered the kitchens at some of Australia’s most prominent pub groups, including Feros Hotels and Lantern Group. He has recently launched his consulting business, Fork & Schooner, advising hotels on improvements to kitchen efficiency, and their menu’s appeal and bottom line.

Willcocks is part of the Men At Work team, but also enjoys some barbeque heritage, being the grandson of one of the original BBQs Galore franchises, back in 1983.

BadAss note the booming popularity of the American-style barbeque, with its theatre, wafting smoke and aromas, and anticipation-building wait for perfection.

“There is a rapidly growing interest in the ‘Low & Slow’ movement, bolstered by successful barbecue shows on television, massive and more frequent competitions here in Australia, and the foodie trend toward turning mealtime into ‘an event’,” Willcocks told PubTIC.

“For the past few years Australia’s BBQ competitions have grown exponentially in size, from carefree cook-offs to high-intensity arenas of fire and smoke.”

‘Low & Slow’ is based in the use of wood-fired smokers, where aromatic wood is burned to produce hot smoke that gently roasts often large quantities of meat. Expanding upon the ancient appeal of cooking over fire, the method allows cuts of meat that can otherwise be considered tough, such as brisket or lamb shoulder, to be slow-cooked to a mouth-watering level of tenderness.

Davis and Willcocks have been working at their method for several years now, and set out to compete in as many competitions as they could this year, in the hope of getting into a serious American competition. Reaching The Jack – considered the ‘Superbowl’ of BBQ comps – is a major moment, and one they are seriously looking forward to enjoying.

“At barbecue competitions there is the sweet smells of slow cooked meat everywhere you walk,” cajoles Willcocks.

“We’ll be shooting a 5-part digital series that will tell the story of us heading over and competing … unfortunately it will be sight and sound only, without the smell of beautifully cooked meat.”

BadAss are headed to the US this weekend, with help from sponsors: Abbott’s Hotel, Barbeques Galore, Yak Ales and Andrews Meats.

Michael Willcocks and Mitch Davis
Michael Willcocks and Mitch Davis


  1. All the best at The Jack Mitch and Mike.
    Have a few kgs of your favorite smoking wood packed and ready for the Jack.
    Safe travels

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