A radio crackles to life as the sound of the DJ’s voice transmits over the wireless. “The Great British BBQ can be a sad old affair from time to time,” he announced on the introduction to The Beefy Boys video promoting their trip to the World Food Championships in Vegas., “its usually a wet afternoon with a burnt sausage or two maybe some salmonella chicken drumsticks or a sorry looking chicken wing,” and it’s a sorry situation that the majority of us that reside on the British Isles can relate to, but not if these boys have anything to say about it.
Residing in the borderlands of Herefordshire, The Beefy Boys (consisting of Anthony ‘Murf’ Murphy, Christian Williams, Lee Symonds and Daniel Mayo-Evans, as well as two pit crew members Steve McGowan and Chris Williams, not to forget their manager and Lee’s wife, Kate) are truly shaking things up and are changing everyone’s perspective of the British BBQ one burger at a time.
A bunch of culinary fanatics, the boys epitomize the terms ‘chilling’ and ‘grilling’ and it’s not just their world class food that grabs the attention of their hungry punters, it’s their laidback, fun loving attitude that injects a hearty helping of cheekiness in every one of their 21 day aged Herefordshire beef patties, and that’s exactly where their story started, by hanging out.
After a couple of trips, The Plate Licked Clean and I have given the boys our own form of grilling and ahead of their arrival in Cardiff tonight, here’s our Q&A with Christian to find out more about the lads and their burgers.
TPLC: Who are The Beefy Boys
There are four of us in the catering side of The Beefy Boys and two more of us in our Pit Crew when we compete in competitions. We all work together and each cover different aspects of the buisness, from logistics to recipes, media content and accounting, but we also all chip in on all areas.
G&B: So how did you get started?
We started off about five years ago now. It was Dan’s fiancé’s birthday and he was doing a BBQ for it and I was away at the time and it was Dan and Murf who were doing it. We all liked cooking and we all talked about cooking a lot. I farmed pigs before and had done pork roasts so together we knew that we really liked food and making bacon and things like that.
So Dan spoke to Murf and Murf suggested that they did an American style BBQ, like the ones you see on Man v, Food and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives so they set about trying to cook pulled pork because back then you couldn’t get it anywhere and you certainly couldn’t get it anywhere in Hereford. If you wanted to do stuff like that you had to do it yourself. Things like pulled pork, brisket, all the slow cooked American BBQ; it was all unavailable but now its obviously exploded, its everywhere, especially in big cities. There’s a few places in Hereford you’ll get it but it’s still not as big as it is in places like London, Bristol of Cardiff. Back then it was a case of if you want it, you’ll have to do it yourself, so that’s what we did.
Then we did some more BBQs and had friends round in Dan’s barkyard and the food got better. Our tastebuds lead the way and we would have a few beers and hang out. It was an excuse to hang out.
Then people said we should try do pop-up events and catering so we started doing that. I was at Grillstock back in 2011 and I was making a pilot for the BBC. I was a runner at the time for BBC Bristol and the pilot was about this amazing BBQ festival that none of us had heard of so I said to the guys that we should enter it and the next year we entered it and we carried on entering it, then last year they introduced the burger round which we won and by the biggest margin of all the categories and that led to the World Food Championships in Las Vegas.
G&B: So at that time you were more of a BBQ team rather than solely focusing on burgers?
Burgers quickly became our speciality but we were doing all sorts of stuff; chicken, ribs, pork. But we looked at burgers and thought ‘let’s make the best possible burgers we can.’
Hereford is famous for its beef so we wanted to use the local produce and try to create something that is the style of the American stuff but is English as well.
TPLC: How important is sourcing your ingredients locally?
Local produce is massively important to us; all our beef and pork is locally sourced form Herefordshire’s Wye Valley, We try to include local produce in our recipes wherever possible, like our Butty Bach BBQ sauce made with ale from the Wye Valley brewery.
The burgers are all made fresh and are all freshly minced too. Up until the moment they arrive on the grill they are completely unadulterated. Though I’m reluctant to divulge any more of our processes.
Our bread now comes from award winning baker, Peter Cook who’s based in Herefordshire.
TPLC: What sets you apart from other burger joints?
I think what sets us apart is our attitude. We started doing this for fun and as the hobby has turned into a business we ve kept that attitude and we also like our food to reflect that. We want it to be delicious and made of the best ingredients cooked with care but we dont want it to take its self too seriously, we want proper comforting dirty burgers done to the highest standard possible.
G&B: How are you feeling about coming to Cardiff?
We’re really excited, really excited! It’s not too far away from us, it’s a big city and there’s a lot of stuff going on there, a lot of good food outlets and it’s really strong in terms of what the local street food teams are doing there. We’re just really excited and feel like it’s a massive challenge. We’ve wanted to come to Cardiff for a long time because a lot of our events have a strong rugby crowd and obviously there’s a big rugby following in Wales so we are really looking forward to it.
We know a lot of people in Cardiff and I’m half Welsh anyway!
G&B: What do you hope to bring to our pop-up and blooming burger scene?
Just our take on American burgers really. The produce in Herefordshire is amazing. A bit of fun, a bit of our cheekiness. We don’t like to take things to seriously and we don’t take ourselves too seriously but we focus on putting out the best possible food we can.