THREE barbecue chefs from across the region cooked up a storm in Morocco, as they represented Ireland in a major competition.
John Molloy from Shannon, Patrick O’Sullivan from Grange, and Ennis man Diarmaid Murphy travelled to the Moroccan coastal resort of Saidia for the 2013 World Barbecue Championships.
Competing against teams from 32 other countries, the trip did Limerick and Ireland proud by finishing in the top 15 in each of their categories at the World Barbecue Association organised showpiece.
The team was selected by the Irish Barbecue Association to take part in the prestigious competition - and following their fine performance, they now have their eyes on an invitation-only barbecue tournament in the USA.
The team - named the Wild Geese - in reference to the departure of thousands from these shores in the 17th century, finished in 12th place for their chicken.
For their beef brisket, cooked over 14 hours, they finished in 12th position.
And their lamb ribs secured them 13th place.
Grange man Patrick O’Sullivan said they were very happy with their performance.
“We came in the top 15 in all the meat categories, so this was a major achievement,” he explained.
The judges were also left impressed by the team’s dessert - crepes cooked on the barbecue with pineapple and banana.
Patrick admitted that it was a 24-hour operation to keep the barbecue alive, saying that as a team, they were sleeping on coal packets while they were waiting for the beef brisket to cook.
They began cooking at 10pm on a Saturday night, and did not finish until 3pm the following Sunday.
But seeing the sun rise over a resort known as the “Blue Pearl of the Mediterranean” made up for any drudgery.
Pat said the team really bonded on their debut - and now they will try to go to the Jack Daniels Invitational Barbecue in Lynchburg, Tennessee this October, considered the top worldwide barbecue competition.
“We are a fairly new team, and this was a dry run to see how we would go competitively. Now we have a team we know can perform on the World Stage”.