James Whelan Butchers: Tipperary BBQ Idol

I’ve got great news – The Tipperary BBQ Idol has just been launched thanks to Tipp Fm, ourselves here at James Whelan Butchers and Dunnes Stores.  Besides the fun that we are all looking forward to during this month long competition, there is a fantastic prize attached; a top of the range BBQ, AND FREE MEAT FOR A YEAR!  Worth €1000 What an amazing haul for the winner and all for just outdoorsy cooking over the fire.  So if you are the Keeper of the Flame or the Master of Meat in your house you have to enter.Tipperary BBQ Idol

I’ll tell you more about the competition later but during the recent heat wave as the whiff of charred meat hung in the urban air each evening as I drove home I began to ponder our love affair with the grill.  It doesn’t take much to get the BBQ enthusiast to take their place in front of that sizzling altar with all the pomp of a top class conductor ready to wow the thousands gathered for the orchestra’s gala performance.  The long handled tools are wielded expertly, the apron is donned and suddenly the BBQ King or Queen emerges.  Why have we become such big fans?   Besides the influence of Australian TV soaps since the mid ‘80s the introduction of the gas barbecue and the ease at which you can buy those little disposable BBQs seems to have created the tipping point.  Essentially the fact that you don’t have to wait all evening for the coals to heat has been a great advantage.

There seems to be a natural assumption that the BBQ is the domain of the male of the species while women are resigned to washing salad leaves.  This could be a throwback to man’s early days when fire was new and there was a real magic about cooking food. I think that the Tipperary BBQ Idol competition is set to change that perception. This competition is open to all – male and female, you just have to give good BBQ.

Now to the competition: For the next few Fridays there will be BBQ heats staged live and on air courtesy of Tipp Fm, at the Oakville Shopping Centre in Clonmel where the potential winners will battle it out for a place in the grand final on August 1st.  Each heat has a theme.  The first heat falls on Friday July 4th and is appropriately themed – Independence Day.  The second is 11th July – Locally Sourced Produce. Friday 18th July – Traditionally Irish and finally 25th July – Be Creative.  The Grand Final takes place on August 1st.

If you are chosen to participate in the heats it will be run along the lines of Masterchef in that you will be provided with a BBQ, an apron and a choice of ingredients.  As a contestant you are allowed use your own BBQ utensils.  The efforts of the contestants will be judged by local chefs and each week a winner will be chosen to take a place in the grand final. It’s a sizzling, summer competition and should provide great entertainment every Friday in July at the Oakville Shopping Centre.  While you are there you can drop into James Whelan Butchers and pick up some of our huge range of ready prepared BBQ meats and accompaniments to take home.  Indeed we have largely taken the work out of BBQ so even if you’re not an expert or enthusiast you can still produce great results.

Family BBQ

The trick with fantastic barbeques is to have good quality ingredients to start with.  The second thing is to care about temperature – even gas barbecues need time to heat up.  Barbecuing is not meant to be an overly fast process, it is intended for leisure rather than speed.  When executed properly this is what gives it that great, unique taste.  It is also quite a healthy option as most of the fat drips off and into the flames during cooking.  If you think about it barbeques are the original health grills as little is added to create the flavour.

When barbequing food it is important not to burn the outside and leave the inside undercooked.  If you are a BBQ novice use a meat thermometer; they are readily available and are inexpensive.  While meat that is not cooked properly can be a health risk, overcooked meat will be tough, dried out and unpleasant to eat.  Below is a little guide that you can cut out and keep for the rest of the summer.


  • Whole poultry: 74°C (Insert thermometer near the joints)
  • Poultry breasts: 74°C
  • Ground poultry: 74°C
  • Hamburgers, beef: 71°C
  • Beef, veal, and lamb (steaks, roasts and chops):
  • All cuts of pork: 71°C
  • Medium rare 63°C
  • Medium 71°C

If you do have access to the internet I would also suggest that you check out www.safefood.eu for more tips on barbecuing safely.

So how do you enter the Tipperary BBQ Idol?  You can find out more at www.Jameswhelanbutchers,com, read all about it on the Tipp Fm Facebook page or drop into our store in the Oakville Shopping Centre and find out more.  Do it soon as the competition gets underway on July 4th.  Meanwhile please put the dates in your diary and come along to the heats as a spectator. It will definitely be good fun and no doubt there will be some great grub and good BBQ ideas for all to share.  See you at the Oakville Shopping Centre this July when we will crown the Tipperary BBQ King or Queen.  Let the battle commence.

We hope you enjoyed reading this post by Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers. Pat is a 5th generation butcher, cook book author and the director of  James Whelan Butchers with shops in Clonmel, the Avoca Handweavers Rathcoole and Kilmacanogue, Dunnes Stores Cornelscourt, Rathmines and Swords in Dublin. Sign up to our newsletter for more updates from James Whelan Butchers

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