Meatstock - Sydney, Australia

Meatstock - Sydney, Australia

I have had the opportunity to travel to beautiful places and share so many incredible experiences with friends and family over the past 9+ years since I started Lane’s BBQ. I could sit and type out blog posts for days! However, today let’s talk about Australia and Meatstock. I took my first trip to AU back in March of 2018. It was a super cool 9-day experience, and I was able to take my dad along for the journey. I knew it was going to mean being away from Stacey, Riley & Ansley for the longest period of time I had ever been gone. Stacey was super supportive and told me to make the most of it. She knows how much I love to travel, and this was an incredible opportunity to see a whole new place. I’m also thankful that my stepmom, Libby, was a travel agent and she set up the whole trip for us. I knew that the flight was going to be the biggest challenge, but we were up for it. The total flight time is around 20 hours. We would fly from Atlanta to Los Angeles and then over to Sydney. I have always been a huge reader, so I was hoping to pass the time and get through several books. My dad spent his career traveling around the US, but this was going to be a whole new experience for him as well.

Our plan was to fly to Sydney where we could explore for 3-4 days, then back on a plane to Melbourne where we would meet up with Brett and his team to take in Meatstock. Meatstock is a 3-day music and barbecue festival. Jay Beaumont and his team put on an event packed full of BBQ trucks putting out killer BBQ, super talented musicians, and some incredible vendors, all while holding a sanctioned BBQ competition. They currently have one in Melbourne, Sydney, Toowoomba, Auckland, New Zealand, and Brazil.

Back to Meatstock in a bit, let’s talk more about our visit to Sydney. Sydney, Australia is absolutely beautiful, and we were ready to see it all. Sydney is built around a huge harbor and has several famous sites to see like the Opera House, Sydney Harbor Bridge, multiple gardens, and has over 100 beaches (we made sure to check out Bondi Beach). It is also the financial center of Australia and there is a ton of energy and activities in the downtown areas. I had numerous people tell me that once we landed, we needed to try and stay awake all day and not go to sleep until 9 or 10 that evening. I knew that there was so much to see that we shouldn’t have a problem staying awake. I believe we landed in Sydney around 8 or 9 am and were able to get a ride over to our hotel. Luckily, our room was close to being ready, so we walked over to the coffee shop in the lobby while they were finalizing our stay. We both felt we could use a boost of caffeine and I was about to experience my first flat white coffee (a flat white is made with a double shot of espresso and steamed milk). It has a stronger coffee taste than a latte and that’s exactly what I needed! There is no telling how many of those I had during our 9-day trip. Now that I’m a fatty… I tend to stick to an Americano (espresso and hot water). Either way, we had a couple of flat whites and set off on foot to explore a bit and find some lunch. Several people had suggested that we try and eat at Mr. Wong’s and luckily it was within a couple miles. We thought it would be a perfect idea to walk through the city, grab a quick lunch, and then make the trek back.

Ryan in Sydney

Once we made it to Mr. Wong’s, it was right in the middle of rush hour and filled with lots of dressed up professionals having some expensive lunch meetings. Needless to say, we stuck out in our shorts, t-shirts, and tennis shoes, but we ended up getting the best seat in the house. They found a spot for us in the back at the bar, which was mostly empty. That’s where we met Jay, who was our server and still to this day provided one of the best eating experiences of my life. (So much so, that when Brian and I went back the next year, we ran to Mr. Wong’s so I could share the experience with him.) To be honest, I don’t exactly remember everything Dad and I ate during the two-hour meal, but I can still taste the wagyu & truffle puffs, salt & pepper calamari, and the Chinese roasted duck. He just kept bringing us dish after dish and made sure we stayed hydrated. I still think back on that experience and the laughs and smiles Dad and I shared that day. We probably should have just grabbed an UBER back to the hotel, but we thought it would be a good idea to walk off the massive lunch we just took down. By the time we made it back we were wiped and ready to break Rule #1… which was not to nap on day 1. I think we ended up waking up around midnight which made for a long night. However, I was able to connect with Stacey and the kids since it was early afternoon for them. That became a trend for the next couple of days, as our sleep patterns were definitely off a bit. However, we had an incredible few days, as we covered as much of the city as we could by foot (still my favorite way to take in a new place), consumed large quantities of seafood, and met some great people. Now, time to take on Meatstock!

Lane's Aussie Team

The flight from Sydney to Melbourne was about an hour and a half and felt like a short UBER ride after the long flight from the US. I was so excited to meet Brett in person, along with his friends (Blair & Rachel) that were there to help him vend at the event, plus the BBQ teams competing that we had supplied products to. We had even gone all in and became one of the sponsors for the event. Brett had an incredible setup with branded tents and a van he had packed full of product and made the 17-hour trek from Brisbane to Melbourne in. It was also really cool to see some other brands we worked with back home like Kamado Joe & Weber. The BBQ scene in Melbourne was alive and full of energy. It really was electric! I finally got to meet Chef Eric Gephart with Kamado Joe in person, which led to a great friendship and working relationship over the next few years. I can’t wait to cook with him here in a couple of weeks at the next Atlanta Grill Company event.

Ryan at Meatstock

The couple of days spent at the event were so awesome. To get to tell our story to people attending and then see their reactions to tasting the products still brings a smile to my face. However, the highlight of the trip came on the final day. It was time to announce the awards, and as a sponsor, we got to be up on stage to help hand out trophies. The Beard and BBQ was one of the teams we had sponsored, and we had a blast hanging out with Tony, James & Adrian for those couple of days. But what an incredible ending when they ended up winning the whole BBQ competition! I still get goosebumps thinking about standing on the stage with my dad, all the way across the world, while they won the whole thing, using flavors that I had created at our family’s kitchen table in Georgia. That was still just the beginning of what was to come in Australia.

Lane's Australia

Once again, I go back to what I said in a previous post. Our dreams and vision never seem to be as big as God’s plans for us. We had such an incredible time in Australia, but I couldn’t wait to get home to hug my family and knew we still had a long flight home the next day, just in time to be back for the Flavor of Georgia awards. I was on cloud nine and still homesick all at once. It was such a weird feeling. Once again though, I felt like I was doing exactly what God had called me to do. It was so cool to experience the smiles all the way across the world. Oh yeah… and I got to meet Jess Pryles, Moe Cason, and some other BBQ legends while on the trip!!

Ryan with Lane's Australia

1 comment

Richard Griffith

Richard Griffith

Great story and so glad to see God using you to be a blessing to others!

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