Big Smoke in name and big personality in nature.
Mike Jeffries, owner of Tauranga’s Big Smoke Barbecue Co. is a right character to chat to.
And he’s got a bit of a story behind how he got his passion for barbecued meats.
“I’ve been cooking American-style barbecue for about nine years now,” he says.
“I was living in the UK, in London, and I was helping a mate of mine do spit roasts on the weekends.
“I started researching some barbecuing, came back home, and found a guy in Texas that custom-builds barbecues.
“I told him what I wanted and we got our first one shipped over.
That’s right, Mike’s first barbecue travelled more than 11,600 kilometres so Mike could work on his love of one of New Zealand’s most popular summer pastimes.
And from barbecuing in foggy London Mike built a business that has expanded from Tauranga and now services Auckland also.
The Big Smoke Barbecue uses only the finest New Zealand meats, which are slow cooked, with care, over a charcoal and hardwood fire. This process, Mike says, makes a delicious, tender meal with “great taste and fantastic flavours”.
The Big Smoke Barbecue specialises in weddings and corporate functions and Mike says the barbecue option for weddings is growing in popularity.
“We get quite a few weddings – in Tauranga we usually do between two and four a weekend.
“We have two barbecues in Tauranga and a few up in Auckland,” says Mike, “when we have more than one in a day in Tauranga I’ll do one and I’ve trained up some of my staff so they can take the other one.”
It’s an art form; a little more than just throwing a few snags on the barbecue. There’s a lot work and forethought in Mike’s meat.
“Pulled pork takes about 13 hours to cook, and brisket takes 11 hours, so it’s a lot of cooking,” he says.
And he must be doing something right – Mike’s barbecue is becoming world-renowned.
“I’m in a world championship barbecue team, and I’m off in May to the 2019 World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in Memphis,” he says.
“We go over every year and compete.”
This barbecue competition is considered by some to be the ‘most prestigious barbecue competition’ and draws more than 75,000 attendees. So it’s sort of a big deal.
Mike will be bringing his ‘big deal’ barbecue skills to the Tauranga Home Show on May 3-5. He’ll be cooking up a storm as part of the Food Show section.
“I’m excited for the Tauranga Home Show, I’m looking forward to it.
“There should be great weather and plenty of people coming along.”
Catch Mike and The Big Smoke Barbecue Co. at the Tauranga Home Show, May 3-5, at Trustpower Arena Baypark.
For more information, visit: www.thebigsmokebbq.co.nz