A Weekend at Grillstock Festival

It seems like forever since we were at Grillstock Festival. I can’t believe I only just got round to this post! For those of you who don’t know – Grillstock (in Bristol and Manchester) are basically dedicated to meat, beer and music. BBQ lovers unite over the best ribs, pulled pork and beef of their lives! We went to Bristol with two friends and ate our own body weight in meat. We drank all the bourbon and beer we could manage and basically had a fabulous time!
GrillStock Festival in Bristol Harbour with the boats behind us
Bristol’s Grillstock takes place right in the city on the harbour-side. This means no mud, no camping and no soggy fields to contend with. We stayed at YHA Bristol which is literally on the harbour in an old corn mill, just a stone’s throw from the festival. It might not be the most glamorous but we weren’t expecting to spend much time in our room so this was a good move. A room for 4 with bunks cost around £25 each although it depends on when and where you are!

I had no idea just how cool YHA is! Forget the stereotype and go and check them out. The Bristol hostel has fantastic communal areas including a pool table and bar. I know from their website that they have a whole range of hostels everywhere from city centres to remote beauty spots. They also have double and en-suite rooms at some places so if you don’t want to bunk in with your mates, you don’t have to! Anyway, the long and short of it is that we’ll definitely consider the YHA again for travels with friends!

YHA Bristol

Back to the meat…

As avid fans of all things meaty, Grillstock Festival seemed like a great idea. As well as live music and a whole range of meaty food stalls, there was also a competition BBQ area. This is where we spent most of our time. Teams from all over the UK competed by smoking and BBQing the best brisket, ribs, chicken wings they could. It was really interesting to see how they smoked their meats and the rubs and marinades they were using. Plus, every now and again, some tasty samples were thrown out to the crowds!

Killer chilli jam! Check this guy out!
Racks of Ruin, Midlands based BBQ team!

We sampled some epic products from both street food vendors and restaurants who’d taken stalls at the festival. Some of our favourites were ribs from Meatcure, Pulled pork from Pitsmoked BBQ, Lamb with salsa verde from old friends Ross & Ross and amazing chicken from somewhere but I can’t remember where! Barbacoa was there too… having recently had their butchery shut down for hygiene issues, it was no surprise to see how quiet they were. A real shame as their truck and menu both looked epic!

If I had to be critical, there were a couple of things which Grillstock needs to improve on for next year. Firstly, there were nowhere near enough toilets. Secondly whilst beer, meat and bourbon are all excellent, we did feel that a bit more choice on the drink and sides options would have improved things. Finally, certainly on the Saturday, the music was intermittent – we would have liked there to be more bands on throughout the day. If they were to get these three things right, Grillstock Festival would go from an amazing festival to an absolutely freaking awesome festival.

I’ll leave you with this… the 4 stages of the pickleback. What’s a pickleback? Its a shot of bourbon with a shot of pickle juice. That’s right. 

Did any of you go? Did you try a pickleback? Will you be going next year? Let me know!

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