THE alluring aroma of cooked steaks, burgers, sausages and chicken filled the air over Robert and Denmark Street as thousands flocked to the Riverfest barbecue.
The centrepiece of the annual Riverfest festival in Limerick, the Coors Light-sponsored barbecue competition saw more than 40 entrants drawn from charities and businesses across Limerick and further afield.
Nobody travelled further than Karen Glotzbach, who brought her cooking skills all the way over from Kansas in the USA.
She served briskets, pulled pork, chicken wings and spare ribs with a delicious home-cooked barbecue sauce.
But it was a pair of chefs from Corbally who scooped the overall prize of €1,000, and the chance to represent Ireland at the World Barbecue Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden later this year.
Mark Irwin and John Flannery from Sareva Bistro in Corbally served a chicken dish marinated with Jack Daniel’s whisky, and a home-made chilli-sauce.
They also put home-made bread on the barbecue, and cooked swarma-beef.
“We are feeling quite chuffed to be honest,” Mark smiled, “We put a lot of effort into our recipes and it paid off luckily. We are happy out.”
Despite rainy weather, there was a party atmosphere in the old quarter area, with the Pearly Whites big band blasting out tunes from the first floor in Smyth’s Bar.
It was the sometimes torrential rain which made one of the judges Ken Switzer, of LIT, to describe the contestants efforts as “true hard-core barbecuing”.
“Under the conditions, they have been excellent,” he said, confirming the winning team was picked by an “extremely tight” margin.
The event’s organiser Pat O’Sullivan, the president of the World Barbecue Association said: “Even though we have had bad weather, it has been great to see the hundreds and hundreds of people who came out and enjoyed it. I think this is the biggest free food tasting event we have ever held in Limerick.”