Topic: Entertainment

American BBQ smoking hot among Māori

By Talisa Kupenga
  • Auckland

Auckland's first Meatstock barbecue festival is done and dusted but low and slow cooking is here to stay.

Māori were among the many pitmasters and barbecue enthusiasts taking to the grill over the weekend.

Barbecue enthusiast JB Pilkington says “it's in our blood and in our roots to cook low and slow.  Cooking in the earth with wood, fire and meat. I think that's something primal a lot of Māori can identify with."

USA celebrity Pitmaster “Big Moe” Cason agrees that barbecue has indigenous roots.

"Māori have a tradition where they cook in the ground and that's how the African-American slaves back in the day did it but it was called barbacoa,” he says.
"When I come back here next time I actually want to experience that true Māori cooking and technique."

Cason says New Zealand barbecue is on-par tastewise with the USA.  Local enthusiasts now want to better reflect New Zealand flavours in their backyard cooking.

Meatstock attendee Mark Reihana says "We can take the techniques from the American and Argentinian style but make it New Zealand style barbecue, by utilising Māori produce like piripiri and Manuka smoke instead of cedar."

Pilkington says this could work well with brisket.
"Māori love brisket so it's definitely one for me. I love all the fat in there rendering it out, getting it nice and juicy, keeping it moist and getting a lot of smoke in there."

Māori participants also gained top spots in the barbecue, butcher and barber wars competitions held at the two-day event.