Auckland has gone a little barbecue crazy of late, with low n' slow joints popping up left, right and centre serving that good Southern American meat. So much so that it's beginning to get difficult to separate the pretenders from the real deal.
Morepork, a laid back barbecue diner, has just popped up on the corner of Jervois and Mary in Herne Bay and this place ain't pretending. Head chef Clint Davies travelled the world plying his trade in the culinary arts, until discovering his passion amongst the wood fire and thick accents of American smoke pits. Here he learnt the art of properly slow-smoking meat. At Morepork he brings these learnings to your table, serving an authentic taste of American barbecue that rivals pricier joints like Miss Moonshine's. All meats are slathered in homemade spice rubs before being slow cooked between 4 and 14 hours in New Zealand's first custom built smoker to ensure the meat you order reaches a tender, juicy level of perfection.
When it comes time to order the chalk drawn menu above the counter features meat plates, sides, fixings, salads (surprisingly) and a rather imposing sampling platter. Meat-wise, don't miss the pulled pork or the chopped brisket. The pulled pork is as tender as your mum's cuddles and comes alive with a delicate smoky flavour. The brisket is even more delightful. The sides are equally phenomenal with my personal favourite being the tater tots with smoked garlic aioli. These may be the most delectable potato snacks I've ever encountered in my long career as a potato eater.
If you can't decide on what to eat, fret not. The sample platter features four meats, two sides, one "fixin's", two bread rolls and a mini bowl of fermented vegetables — it's the ultimate meaty feast and perfect for indecisive diners (with massive appetites).
Even though it's one of a long run of barbecue diners opening in the last few months, Morepork stands out as an authentic and relaxed experience. There are few places in Auckland can you find meat quite as tender and delicately, deliciously smoked. (The generous selection of craft beers, and insanely friendly service certainly doesn't hurt either.)