ON FIRE: Ricki Brideoake and Becky Vaschak are through to the grand final of Aussie Barbecue Heroes.
ON FIRE: Ricki Brideoake and Becky Vaschak are through to the grand final of Aussie Barbecue Heroes. Trevor Veale

Our barbecuing heroes head for the big time

A SAPPHIRE Beach couple have cemented their spot as the team to beat in Australia's biggest barbecue cook-off.

Ricki Brideoake and fiancee Becky Vaschak are in the running to become the next big culinary stars when they compete in Tuesday's grand final of Aussie Barbecue Heroes.

Competing under the name "Love Meat Tender", Ricki and Becky have fired through each challenge in the reality series, from 30-minute cook-offs to low-and-slow smoking.

Ricki said the chance to be on the show had been too good to pass up.

"Earlier this year I quit my engineering job to do barbecuing and pretty soon after that we heard about the show," he said.

"At first we weren't too keen at being on television but we thought it'd be a bit of fun to see how we could go with it."

Ricki said his passion for barbecuing had grown through the years and now ran his own business and taught classes in the craft.

"I got to a point where I really wanted to do something I loved," he said.

"Barbecues are really sociable events and I love teaching classes and showing people how to use wood and coals."

As the proud owners of 10 barbecues, the couple's love for the grill has also taken them across Australia to compete in professional events.

The barbecuing competitions are similar to contests in Becky's native homeland of America.

"They're becoming more and more popular in Australia, which is great to see," she said.

"They're a step up from the normal cook-up - you have 24 hours to cook and you can only use charcoal and meat.

"It's all blind judging, so we thought it would be fun to go on the show and get some critique on the food."

The finale screens 7.30pm Tuesday on Channel Seven.



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