The Big Grill is coming back to Herbert Park in August for its fifth year, and the line up is probably the best one yet. This is definitely a "do not miss" event for anyone interested in getting back to basics when it comes to how we eat - or anyone who likes eating incredibly tasty food.
All chefs must cook with live fire, using only natural charcoal or wood, and headlining the festival this year are New York's Angie Mar from The Beatrice Inn, famous for her whiskey-aged rib-eye, and Billy Durney, whose restaurant Hometown is frequently called the best barbeque in New York.
We were also excited to see David Carter from London's Smokstak on the bill, which is hands down the best barbeque we've ever tasted. His brisket bun, pork ribs and coal-roasted aubergine have queues forming in Shoreditch every weekend, and when you taste it you'll understand why.
Joining him on the plane from London will be everyone's favourite ex-pat, Robin Gill, who's been doing some amazing work out at Airfield lately trying to turn it into Ireland's version of Bluehill at Stone Barns. We have everything crossed that this is a precursor for him opening his first Dublin restaurant.
Building the fire pits for the Irish are Gráinne O'Keeffe (Clanbrassil House, BuJo), Paul Flynn (The Tannery), John Relihan (Holy Smoke), and Fingal Ferguson from Gubbeen Smokehouse. There will also be butchery, barbeque and smoking workshops, as well as entertainment and hot wing challenges, and they'll be roasting a whole Dexter cow on Sunday, which you would be ill-advised to miss.
There are loads of articles online debating the origins of barbecue food, but the fact is that fire was the only way humans had to cook for millions of years, before we became too busy and too impatient to wait all day for our vegetables to cook in the earth, or for the whole animal we'd spent hours hunting to slowly cook over an open-flame.
What we've gained in time we've lost in connection to our food, and we can't imagine there are many people cooking over open fires or digging a pit to bury their dinner in anymore, which if you ask us is a sad state of affairs. So step back in time for a weekend, get back to the the very roots of cooking, and eat some life-affirming food. Then go home inspired and dig that fire pit. And send us a photo.
Get tickets for The Big Grill here. And if you need further convincing about how meaningful this type of cooking is, watch this episode of Chef's Table. You'll never be the same again.
The Big Grill Festival
Herbert Park, Ballbridge, Dublin 4
16th - 19th August 2018