For the staging of a good ol' outdoor barbecue it's probably still a good few degrees short of the ideal weather across the Bay.

However, it's perfect over there in the state of Kansas at the moment where the latest 10-day forecast shows sunhat-donning temperatures in the high 20s and early 30s.

Just the ticket when it comes to firing up the coals and taking up the cooking tools, which is what legendary Hastings pit master Jimmy Macken of Bareknuckle BBQ in Pakowhai Rd will be doing alongside a small army of other top-of-the-craft barbecue chefs at what will be the biggest barbecue competition in the world.

"It's going to be great — we're going to be rubbing shoulders with some great characters and some great cooks," Macken said as he prepared for the world's greatest barbecue competition event which will fire into life on September 12 at the Kansas Speedway in the United States.


It is the 40th staging of the American Royal World Series of Barbecue and there will be 700 teams of barbecue chefs from all over the world taking part.

Macken had a call from some fellow barbecue specialists in Auckland back in February and was asked to be part of their six-strong team they call Team BBQ War.

He was delighted to accept as the team had won more Kiwi barbecue competitions than any other group and with his previous experience of travelling through the US attending barbecues and taking in ever-evolving techniques and trends is well prepared.

He has not been to Kansas though, so is looking forward to that, plus the fact the great event draws about 100,000 people over four days.

It is quite a challenge, given the huge number of teams involved, but Team BBQ War is good and ready, he said.

"We have been working on our flavour profiles and we are there to compete and do well."

Macken is aware of what they will see from the leading American pit masters as he was in Texas a month ago and spent time with a couple of veteran barbecue cooks who have been honing their craft for 30 to 40 years.

And his skills were right on the mark alongside them.


They were his idols and now he sees them as his peers.

"We will be learning a lot from the other teams and we'll come back with a lot of knowledge."

The four days will be full on as the teams will effectively be cooking non-stop.

Macken said it would be like crewing a yacht, with everyone taking a turn at the helm to keep the grills and hot plates sizzling.

In the words of the organisers: "you will see a cloud of smoke hanging over the party".

Macken has been at the forefront of barbecue cooking for a decade now and is always looking for ways to improve the craft, and the big Kansas event will expand that as he described the American barbecue experts as the "fathers of this kind of cooking".

He said in recent years the world of barbecue cooking had "exploded" in New Zealand, and had been well aided by butchers picking up on and honing the same cuts as those used in America.

His personal barbecue favourite is brisket as it is the hardest cut of any meat to cook well.

"You have to put a lot of time into cooking it right."

Macken said the team had been assisted hugely by main sponsors Fern Ridge Fresh and US pork supply company SPS who had stepped up to sort out the shipping of their unique barbecue set-up which resembles a World War I tank.

The signature Kansas event will include live music as well as a food vendor fair and kids' activities and is one of the biggest, and tastiest, social events staged in the states.

"It's going to be great to be there," Macken said.

"We're ready for it."

Their progress will be followed on the NZ BBQ Pit Masters Facebook site.