Cooked to perfection

MANY men like to think they are masters of their domain – the barbecue – but Balaklava’s Todd Robertson, son Cody, and friend Chris Myers, have proven they are!

The trio, whose team name is Swamp Bandits, recently competed in an amateur Up In Smoke barbecue competition, and with the most points accumulated for their various barbecue dishes, was announced grand champion.

“This meant we received a ‘Golden Ticket’ to compete in the national competition in February at Wayville Showgrounds,” Todd said.

Having watched the barbecue competition on television ‘for ages’, and being barbecue lovers themselves, the men attended a barbecue competition in Tanunda to see what actually went on.

The men then decided to have a go themselves, with their first competition in Adelaide, where they cooked steak, wings and burgers, and chocolate mousse for dessert – yes, they even have to barbecue a dessert!

The dessert went down well with the judges (I’m still waiting for a taste test, Todd!) and it received third placing.

The Swamp Bandits then recently competed at Angle Vale and won first place with their steak, and second for wings.

“Everyone is supplied with the same steak cut, and it’s about how you season and cook it –you have to stand out from everyone else,” Todd said.

Todd and the team use 11 different cookers, smokers, reverse smokers, Webers and pellet smokers, all to cook the ‘perfect’ steak and ancillary dishes.

Ancillary dishes include burgers, wings, kebabs and sweets to name a few.

“We have been practicing at home for four months but only competing for a few weeks, and will also be giving a cooking demonstration at the upcoming Hamley Bridge Christmas party,” Todd said.

“And next year, I’d like to run something similar at the Balaklava Show, and get more people involved.

“It’s a really great event, and the camaraderie among the teams is really good – everyone helps each other if they are missing an ingredient or utensil.”

Todd said he loves cooking everything, but his favourites are steak and brisket.

The team will compete in the national final in Adelaide from February 15-16 against 60 teams from around Australia, with competition, not the steak, expected to be tough!

There will be three different competitions in the final, and the team will only know the categories six weeks before the event.

“Other than steak, we could have to cook anything, and have to be well prepared and practiced,” Todd said.

So what’s Todd’s secret to the perfect flavoured steak?

“It’s all about cooking it perfectly and the flavour profile – we make our own rubs and sauces for that unique taste!”