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11° & SUNNY ON WEDNESDAY 18 SEPTEMBER IN MELBOURNE
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Where to Eat American Barbecue in Melbourne

Where to get your fix of some down-home USA cookin'.
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WHERE TO EAT AMERICAN BARBECUE IN MELBOURNE

Where to get your fix of some down-home USA cookin'.

Not much else compares to the sounds, smells and tastes barbecuing evokes. That sizzle, the smokey aroma wafting from the barbie, that burst of juicy, meaty flavour from the initial bite — good barbecue is something pretty glorious. And luckily, we have plenty of barbecue joints at our disposal. There's Japanese yakitori, Brazilian churrasco, Korean barbecue and, of course, down-home American B-B-Q hailing from the US's southern states. Down past the Mason-Dixon Line (the obsolete boundary that 'divides' the USA's northern states from the south), barbecue is king, and we've tracked down some grade-A American barbecue joints in Melbourne where you can head for some brisket, ribs, wings and more. Get your appetites ready — you're gonna need 'em.

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    Bluebonnet Barbecue

    Chef Chris Terlikar’s smoker is a beast of a thing; it’s actually made out of a smoke machine from a nightclub at Crown. For meat, we’ve got brisket, pulled pork, oak smoked chicken and Berkshire pork belly, house-made sausages, baby back ribs and porter braised beef cheeks. There’s even a barbecue vego option: smoked jackfruit. They’ve also got a hefty list of sides and small plates to pair with your meaty delights like miso-glazed brussel sprouts, black garlic cornbread and smoked bone marrow with pineapple piccalilli and baby beet on Texas toast.

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    American BBQ-style restaurants are so hot right now. The formula goes something like this: pull the pork, barbecue the chicken wings, smoke the beef, add a side of slaw or fries and wash it all down with a stiff drink. Le Bon Ton dishes out pit-smoked meats, fried buttermilk chicken and on the lighter side, salads with blackened market fish. Upon arrival, you’ll be hit with the smell of the courtyard meat smoker supplying tender beef, pork and sausages to the masses. The 12-hour mesquite-smoked pork shoulder is perfectly cooked and only gets better smothered with the house-made barbecue sauce and fiery habanero.

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    Up in Smoke

    8bit‘s Shayne McCallum decked out Up in Smoke’s prominent industrial space on Hopkins Street, stuck in a huge Yoder Frontiersman smoker and serves up smoky spoils nightly, from 5pm until they run out. You can avoid too much decision-making by opting for The Big Tray, loaded with brisket, sausage, a mound of pulled pork and two sides, or you can build your own meaty adventure. Pork ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and brisket is handled just as well. Match them with some of the punchy chilli mayo slaw, or decadent, crunchy-topped mac ‘n’ cheese and you’ll be in smokehouse heaven.

    Image: Renee Stamatis

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    Meatlovers, keep it together. Prepare to sink your teeth into 12-hour F1 Tajima wagyu brisket smothered in a native Tasmanian pepper berry rub, or a ten-hour pasture-fed beef short-rib from Gippsland, both pulled from a custom-made Silver Creek smoker. From the team behind Meatmother, Meatmaiden also boasts some great sharing morsels if a mountain of meat is a little daunting — check out the southern fried chicken ribs with jalapeño mayo. While this is a particularly carnivorous affair, vegetarians have not been forgotten — give the smoked eggplant a try, or if you’re pescetarian there’s a sumptuous lobster mac and cheese.

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    The motto at Big Boy BBQ is ‘Slow Food… Fast’, meaning that their meat is generously rubbed with spices and slow cooked for up to 16 hours, but that they can still dish them out quick sticks once orders start coming in. Give ‘The Dorothy’ a go: Kansas-style saucy beef brisket with pickles and coleslaw. Another great thing about Big Boy is that they have BYO for only $1 per person. You can find these guys in Caulfield South, Richmond and Hardware Lane if the desire for shredded tender meat grabs you at a moments notice.

     

    Top image: Renee Stamatis.

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