Best BBQ Restaurants in Melbourne
BBQ food has taken Melbourne by storm and here are our best BBQ restaurants in Melbourne (not in any particular order) -
Le Bon Ton
Big Boy BBQ
San Antone by Bludso's
Le Bon Ton - Collingwood
Le Bon Ton in Collingwood shows how its done when it comes to American southern style BBQ. Brothers Mick and Will Bailleau from New Mexico have transformed this pub into a slice of southern America.
Le Bon Ton has that southern American feel to it (at least I've been to the south and can say that). This is not chandelier finery but character personified with rustic exposed brick walls, interesting hotch potch timber roof, high solid tables, southern looking furniture including couches, attractive copper bar, and those large white candles. Bar Manager Evan Stanley ex Black Pearl has the place pumping. Evan knows his cocktails (another feature of Le Bon Ton) with his southern themed cocktail list but, evident from our chat, is also savvy on all things American BBQ.
What to order? We wanted it all. The engaging waitress suggested the Smoker's Lot - a massive meat tray of smoky-moist meat. What a sensation. For me this was the best BBQ I've had in Melbourne. The meat came out warm and smokin and featured Grain-fed Riverina Angus Beef Brisket (1/2 lb), Otway Ranges pork shoulder (1/2 lb), Jalapeno and cheddar hot-link sausage, and 1/2 Chicken basted in apple BBQ sauce.
Every element was a knockout and a home run "out of the park". The brisket was high quality meat smoky-moist and with fat - melt in your mouth. The smoky flavours hit you and all meats on this board were smoked over iron bark and fruit woods for up to 12 hours... Texan style BBQ features sausage and the meat board here featured amazing sausage infused with jalapeno and cheddar - intense and rewarding. All the meat here is intense in flavour - but the adventurous will still add the hot sauces on the table. As you do. The hottest sauce hit me between the eyes like a redneck punching me in the face...The pork shoulder seemed a mountain of pork and more than the 1/2 lb advertised. Again, it was smoky-moist and delectable. Note the salad on the board - you need something refreshing to contrast all the meat.
The Smoker's Lot in all its glory...
Bluebonnet - North Fitzroy
Those in the know are excited by the technique, flair and flavours that Bluebonnet brings to BBQ. The World Loves Melbourne was invited to experience Bluebonnet (State flower of Texas of course) and the culinary genius of USA trained Chris Terlikar. (By the way they also serve up Vegetarian ribs). Chris Terlikar was on fire, so to speak. His rub is legendary, the product of vast research in vast Texas. Having worked in top restaurants in New York and Australia, Chris brings 20 years of experience to the table. His forte is to bring a fine dining twist to BBQ. Check out the burgers, brisket, the sausages, the pork belly and the ribs. Smokin!
Big Boy BBQ - Hardware Lane, Richmond and Caulfield South
Big Boy BBQ delivers when it comes to affordable fine BBQ in Melbourne. With 3 restaurants around the city you can be assured of massive burgers and large trays of superb BBQ meats. The World Loves Melbourne has been a regular at Big Boy BBQ in past months, loving on the Zee Man Sandwich (Burger) featuring beef brisket, smoked cheese, fried onion strings and the Little Boy tray that gives you a bit of everything including ribs and pulled meats such as pulled lamb shoulder, and saucy beef brisket. You won't leave here hungry...
Meatworks Co. - South Melbourne
Meatworks Co. is a labour of love with Lindsay Jones-Evans building the smoker himself as a skilled engineer, and producing some of the best ribs and smoked meats and seafood in Melbourne. Lindsay has nothing to prove; already successful from the Jones the Grocer empire and The Victoria Room in Sydney.
Just off the main strip in a quiet side lane resides Meatworks. The vibe is relaxed but you can indulge in some serious BBQ here. The fit out is almost classroom and is retro; no stiffness, with the charm of this former 1930's garage still evident. At once you feel comfortable and ready to tackle the task at hand - delicious ribs and top notch BBQ. Meatworks have a certain flavour; it's not just a "meatfest" but they also pack a power punch with seafood and vegetarian dishes and are planning some even more unique offerings.
The World Loves Melbourne indulged in some serious rib action. The Full Rack of Pork Ribs w House Apple Slaw and crushed nuts are cooked Memphis style, ie not slathered with sauce but dry style, and served up on a large board. Add your sauce to complement the ribs from the selection of three sauces. Personally we enjoy the dry style - a tradition in parts of America.With Memphis style the ribs often get vinegar applied then a rub towards the end of the cooking process for a tangy taste.
We also enjoyed the Sticky Lamb Ribs, which were also dry style although did fall off the bone more easily. These were a highlight with a compelling spicy rub with Cajun and other spices. To be honest I love ribs with some level of fat like this. These ribs were melt in your mouth with a hit of welcome spice. Enjoy your meal on an elongated tin plate.
Fancy Hanks - Bourke St CBD
Fancy Hanks is a name of the lips of many when it comes to American BBQ in Melbourne. Come here for juicy pulled pork shoulder, beef brisket, cornbread, ribs and tangy mac and cheese. Meat is slow cooked, smoked and barbequed in the American tradition. The ribs are of note here with caramelised juicy meat you won't be able to resist.
Fancy Hanks has hit the mark with a new top location in the heart of the city. We don't often see a BBQ joint "centre stage" like this. Walk into a world of BBQ that is more refined than bogan, and with a decent number of sharp looking engaging staff and a menu that satisfies broad tastes. Kudos to Michael Patrick, together with partners Kent Bell, Daragh Kan and Myles Munro.
Packed at lunch times even after only a week of operation in Bourke St.
Fancy Hanks shines with it's Fried Cauliflower, Ranch Dressing, Hot Sauce. Vegan friendly - Fancy Hanks shows it's not just about meat! Buttermilk Biscuits also hit the mark - that maple butter!
Devilled Eggs may change your life - a luxe and cheap item.
Yeah baby! The famous Beef Brisket has a Black pepper rub that brings a spice nuance. Grain fed, marble score 2+ from Northern Queensland it's melt in your mouth and not too fatty.
The best Mac n Cheese we've had in Melbourne! Baked Mac 'N Cheese with black olives. We enjoyed the superb baked crust and the three kinds of cheese, with creamy pasta inside. Some Mac 'N Cheese in Melbourne is far too basic and "plain vanilla" but Fancy Hanks bring some savvy to the process and it's a taste and texture sensation.
Fancy Hanks is an attractive restaurant with excellent table service; boasting large windows onto Bourke St, a range of large and small tables, quirky artwork and items mounted on the walls, and it buzzes at lunchtime.
The plethora of sauces are also compelling with the Death sauce an evil accompaniment to your meat. Next time we might go for the ribs - the system is that you pay by weight per 100 grams. They boast a huge smoker called Puffing Billie. Get on it!
San Antone by Bludso's - Crown
Kevin Bludso and Bludso's is famous as one of the most popular and recognised BBQ destinations in America. You'll find it in the southern part of Los Angeles in Compton.
We find that brisket often steals the show, and it certainly did at San Antone. First class melt in your mouth brisket. They asked us whether we had any questions... So I plucked up the courage to ask where they got their meat from? After all some BBQ places hide behind inferior cuts of meat masked by their sauces basted all over the place. Not so at San Antone. The meat speaks for itself. Not masked. I was told the meat is prime cuts from Victoria's Gippsland. The best.
The trouble is that Aussies expect American BBQ to be the same as Aussie BBQ (judging by some of the comments on social media). The meat is served at room temperature, not burning hot like an Aussie chop or sausage.
How good were the ribs! The best we've had. Melbourne is full of ribs basted in litres of sauce. OK we also enjoy that. But it was refreshing to have ribs where the sauce is served on the side and the slow cooked ribs are the hero, enhanced by a killer rub. Dry ribs are the best!
Kong - Richmond
Kong has been one of the hottest restaurants in Melbourne since it opened. Not only has it excelled in Korean fusion but it's BBQ tray is one of the best in Melbourne, at an affordable price.Kong is a Korean and Japanese fusion restaurant in Richmond that is a revelation rather than a replication. Melbourne food identity Chris Lucas has done it again, with head chef Benjamin Cooper working wonders. After the success of Chin Chin and more recently Baby Pizza, Lucas has captured the imagination with Kong.
The Kong Bossam BBQ tray from the Natural Fire selection featured Pulled Chicken & Pork, Pork Belly & Beef Brisket w Lettuce, Pickles, Kimchi & Walnut Ssamjang. Let me say from the outset the Walnut Ssamjang was a revelation in itself. Rich, thick and walnut crunch. The Korean flavours such as the Ssamjang and the Kimchi are brilliant with BBQ meats.
Meatmother - Richmond
Meatmother has a reputation in Melbourne for large portioned quality slow cooked BBQ cuisine. It seems Richmond is becoming a BBQ food haven. Visit Meatmother for superb 12 hour cooked smoky meats, beef brisket that's not too dry, ribs (photo courtesy of Facebook page) and more ribs and that Texas Toast. To go with the meat is a fine selection of American and Australian craft beers. Meatmother are also famous for their Mac and Cheese. The system is to choose the type of meat you want to imbibe, then choose your sides (including BBQ beans). Meatmother is smallish and intimate, boasting both upstairs and downstairs dining areas, with communal tables for larger groups. Get on it.