Daniel Westman knows a thing or two about cooking the perfect ribs and he's helping locals vie to master the art at the Battle of the Ribs competition coming to Rotorua next month. Journalist Kelly Makiha finds out the tricks of the trade.
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Next time you're chowing down on a rack of ribs at the pub nodding in agreeance at the superb taste, take a moment to reflect on what has gone before.
Turns out, cooking a good rib is an art, rather than something you whip up half an hour before tucker time.
Those in the know of nailing the perfect ribs, have their chance to shine at the Battle of the Ribs competition in Rotorua on March 29.
Entries opened this week and already the 10 spots for teams are almost full.
Turns out there's a few people in the city who fancy themselves as having a chance of taking out the title - news which is as good as a glassy glaze to rib connoisseur and competition organiser Daniel Westman.
Now here's a man who knows his ribs. Get him talking on the subject and you can sense his excitement.
For Westman, cooking the perfect ribs isn't just something he treats his family to each week. He's made a business out of selling his delicacies, called Blue Smoke, and is the driving force behind the Battle of the Ribs Rotorua competition.
Westman said it was the third time the competition has been held, and each year the numbers have doubled.
Held at the Waikite Rugby Club starting from 8am, Westman predicts the teams of three to four people will start early to get their ribs prepped and into the smoker.
Some cooks choose to smoke them for four hours, others up to six or more.
Then there's the adding of the special glaze, tickling the ribs again in the smoker and then perfecting the resting time before they are popped into a white box nestled on a bed of parsley and handed over to judges.
What you're aiming for is that nice red-looking colour of the glaze and the "smoke ring" appearance on the very inside of the rib.
Get that right and you could win one of the three trophies the judges will dish out on the day.
Westman said he's hoping to inspire a new culture of barbecuers in Rotorua who might eventually want to try their hand among the big guns at Meatstock, a massive barbecue cooking competition held in Auckland that attracts up to 30,000 people.
Already Westman has encouraged a culture of cooks in Rotorua via the Rotorua BBQ Club, which has 300 members and sees members share their successes and tips on their Facebook page.
Hanging out with our new m8 Stretch to day , really enjoying his company , can get a bit lonely cooking and old Stretch ain't a big talker..Posted by Blue Smoke BBQ Rotorua - New Zealand on Thursday, 19 September 2019
Westman, who trained as a chef in Sweden, said he wanted to bring the American-style "low and slow" culture of barbecue cooking to Rotorua and he encouraged anyone to join the Rotorua BBQ Club and go along to the Battle of Ribs free of charge to watch.