The city of Melbourne features a wide variety of American barbeque joints. There are times when little is more. To illustrate this worn cliche, consider the relative ease with which one can prepare delicious BBQ.
An ordinary cut of meat can be elevated to gourmet status with the help of smoke, fire, wood, and lots of time.
Some of Melbourne's greatest American Smokehouses use southern American smoking methods to give their food that signature smoky flavour.
You can have authentic American barbeque from around the United States in Melbourne, from the smoky hickory and spicy sauces of the Carolinas to the sweet and tangy distinctive sauces of Kansas City and tender meat that practically falls off the bone in Texas.
To please our northern hemisphere relatives, we will use the American English spelling of BBQ throughout this article. So saddle up, amigo, because we're going to investigate the top American barbeque joints in Melbourne. You better be hungry.
Cover Yourself In Sauce At Melbourne’s Best American BBQ Restaurants
When compared to throwing a quick snag on the barbie, cooking an entire brisket, replete with a pepper-crusted bark, is a much more involved process.
Therefore, when the desire for smoked, low-temperature meats strikes. Leave the timing of cooking to the professionals. Some of Melbourne's best restaurants serve Southern-style BBQ, including brisket, wings, ribs, and all the fixings.
Melbourne has some of the best burgers, or maybe you're looking for some late-night meals to cap off a night on the town. Some of the best craft beers in Melbourne may be enjoyed alongside a barbeque.
Southern Grace Diner
Since 2011, Southern Grace Diner has been providing Melbourne with authentic American barbeque. As he travelled across the United States in search of the best barbeque, resident smoker Lance Rosen learned from the masters and came back to his Melbourne, Australia, home with a wealth of smoking knowledge from the Lone Star State.
The menu at Southern Grace Diner consists of the standard fare of meat and three vegetables, but don't take that to mean that the restaurant lacks in any way. The meats are spice-rubbed and slow-smoked over hickory pellets for up to 16 hours.
Their take on the classic sandwich, The "Zee" Man, features sliced beef brisket, smoked cheese, fried onion, and BBQ sauce, so you know they haven't forgotten about the little guy.
San Antone is the brainchild of Bludso's BBQ, a Los Angeles tradition.
The smoked selection on the menu serves the standard BBQ fare—low and slow-cooked pig, beef, and whole BBQ chickens.
Share plates come with all of this as well as three sides: mac & cheese, coleslaw, and onion rings. If that isn't enough to send you into a food coma, there are various appetisers to choose from, like loaded nachos and Texas chilli fries.
Many Australian BBQ cooks began their careers by travelling to the United States to learn from top pitmasters. Kevin Bludso, the owner of Bludso's BBQ, primarily recognised as America's top barbeque place, is the type of guy they seek out.
Only this time, the master has travelled to Australia and established himself in Melbourne. San Antone, located within the Crown, is Bludso's Australian outpost, where you can sample some legendary barbeque passed down through three generations.
The executive chef has improved greatly since he used a toolbox, dishwasher pipe, and black heat-proof paint from Bunnings as his first smoker. The Bluebonnet BBQ now has a 280-kilogram meat-producing, smoke-breathing machine.
Terlikar lived in New York City's Michelin-starred PUBLIC restaurant for a year before taking a 12-week trip through the American South. One of the top American BBQ restaurants in Melbourne is the result of him bringing his knowledge back to Australia.
Bluebonnet's beef brisket is smoked over ironbark and oak woods using just salt and pepper as a seasoning. Traditional BBQ fare like pulled pork, ribs, and lamb shoulder are complemented by more contemporary offerings like wood-roasted, miso-glazed duck breast. The meat is delicious, so come here. Enjoy your time here because of the Melbourne-influenced creativity on display.
Chris Terlikar, head chef and proprietor of Bluebonnet Barbeque, decided to expand his business after a barbeque trip through Texas convinced him that some things are better off outside the Lone Star State.
Now, Melburnians travel to this Brunswick East eatery for a taste of classic southern smokehouse fare. They do so in great numbers, either in the dining room with its vaulted ceiling and weathered brick walls or at the bar made from recycled railway sleepers.
The 500-gallon, 280-kilogram beast of a woodfired rotisserie smoker in the kitchen, is used to smoke Freshly prepared daily sausage, ribs, and brisket from Black Angus meat.
Fancy Hank's is a barbeque joint that takes its craft seriously. Take the spelling of "barbeque," for example; it's a throwback to the original American pitmasters. A simple pop-up that began as an open grill and a few park chairs in Carlton's Princes Park has grown into a Melbourne icon that occupies a magnificent Art Deco edifice at the very top of Bourke Street.
Fancy Hank uses his 2-ton smoker, Puffing Billy, to smoke only the freshest, highest-quality free-range meats for 16 hours. Meats cooked in the classic Southern style and served with a variety of tasty sides and condiments are guaranteed, thanks to high-quality, locally sourced ingredients.
Do you plan your meals for at least 22 hours? What fancy Hank's! For that long, the staff at this BBQ business used its two-ton, custom-built smoker to perfect the low and slow method on a variety of Victorian free-range vegetables.
There is a lot of natural light in the restaurant, the conversation is lively, and the bar serves a variety of regional alcoholic beverages.
Le Bon Ton
The fresh, tender seafood (including fish from the Louisiana Gulf Coast) and gleaming pit-smoked meat done Texas-style are well balanced at this New Orleans-style bar and Smokehouse. Take, for example, freshly shucked oysters, Le Bon Ton tacos fit for flight, and Berkshire pork belly glazed in creole honey mustard.
In addition to its smokey, meat-heavy food, the Melbourne BBQ restaurant Le Bon Ton offers many specialty drinks with Southern flavours, ice-cold frothy beers, smooth whisky, and fine absinthe.
Regarding barbecue, New Orleans and the Louisiana Gulf Coast's Cajun and Creole flavours set Le Bon Ton apart from other Southern restaurants.
Twelve hours of low and slow smoking are given to their meats, and a variety of rare absinthes are available at the vast bar. Southern Pride share plate is a safe bet if you can't decide between items on the large a-la-carte menu. To get some of the best American barbeques in Melbourne, head to Le Bon Ton.
Since its opening in 2015, Meatworks Co has served as a veritable temple to all things meaty. Despite experts with a Weber and tongs, Meatworks Co claims they can satisfy any palate with their well-crafted, straightforward menu.
All kinds of salads, sides, shellfish, and vegetarian dishes are available in addition to the slow-roasted braised and smoked meats.
Meatworks Co. can satisfy your cravings for beef brisket, jerked pork, and some of the tastiest ribs in the city (heck, you can even order the platter and try a little bit of everything).
Bright and filled with the scent of gently smoking meat and the numerous glazes and spices in which they are covered, the place is a converted mechanic's shop with a steampunk/canteen ambience.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Betsy's approval is required for anything to happen at Meatworks Co. Betsy is a 450-kilogram (1,000-pound), jet-black, hand-built beast of a smoker that cooked the delicious barbeque food you just devoured. Say your goodbyes and thanks to her politely.
Meat is Meatmaiden's obsession (surprise), and the dark dungeon in the CBD only serves to reinforce their devotion to all things smoky. Alongside the dry-aging meat cabinet utilised to preserve as much tenderness and flavour as they can manage is their American-made smoker, which is lined with ironbark from the Blue Mountains.
To ensure you receive the best of what executive chef Tom Johnson and his superb ingredients offer, choose the must-try dry-aged O'Connor pasture-fed porterhouse or leave it to the pros and order The Maiden's Mood set menu.
Smoke is an essential component of top-notch barbeque, not just a tool to achieve that goal. The people at Meatmaiden obtain their Ironbark wood chips from the NSW Blue Mountains.
For up to 40 days, their Wagyu steaks from coastal Tasmania are dry-aged in a bespoke cabinet to ensure that every bite of a T-Bone is the tastiest piece of meat you've ever had. These guys aren't great fans of shortcuts. Boy, does it show, though?
Up In Smoke
Up in Smoke is all about the smoke, and they take their name very seriously. Throughout the night, the $20,000 smoker at the heart of this manly and modern Smokehouse cooks up a variety of hearty BBQ fare.
We serve American cuisine with a regional spin. Before plunging into the meats and sandwiches, try the crunchy fried chicken with Sriracha maple mayo or the mozzarella sticks with plum sauce.
And on the sixth day, a barbeque was created when the gods of meat proclaimed, "Let there be smoke." Also, We enjoyed it. Also, or similar. The barbecues at Up In Smoke are among the best in Melbourne because the staff is devoted to the gods of smoke and fire.
Smokehouse with a tank of a smoker cranking out some of the greatest ribs, brisket, and chicken wings you've ever seen, located in a converted garage in the heart of Footscray, and serving up a wide variety of Australian craft beers from their ten rotating taps, as well as a wide selection of drinks. The American barbeque at Up in Smoke is considered the best in Melbourne.
Bluestone American BBQ
Bluestone BBQ's Chef Alvaro Mall Trevisanut takes the smoky flavours we've come to expect from American barbeque and combines them with his Uruguayan roots, resulting in a dish that is uniquely his own. Sides include cornbread with aged cheddar and jalapeño butter, while entrees include Yearling short rib with chimichurri and Cuban-style pulled pork with lime mojo.
To avoid any uncertainty, you can choose from a variety of Pitmaster Feasts that are certain to put you into an irreversible meat coma.
The Bluestone American BBQ is a fusion of North and South American flavours, creating a genuinely global dining experience. This Melbourne smokehouse draws on the best of the US barbeque belt, the heritage of the head chef from Uruguay, and the distinct elements of Australia's trendiest city.
The portions are all quite sizable, so feel free to bring some friends and try a few different dishes. Bring your friends, family, and appetites to this one-of-a-kind barbeque restaurant and enjoy dishes like Cuban-style pulled pork, chicken chops from the little villages of Alabama, and Texas-style brisket.
The guiding principle of Dexter's life is straightforward. The best beef can only be achieved with careful sourcing and proper handling. Though this upstart isn't hesitant to try new techniques, the "non-traditional mastery" doesn't simply smoke their meat and coat it in any old glaze. Instead, they bring in whole animals and break them down in-house before cooking them sous-vide, chargrilling, or smoking. We recommend starting with either the short caramel rib or dry-aged cheeseburger.
As a meat lover, I'm intrigued by any smokehouse that bills itself as a "meat project" and serves meals like salted caramel short ribs and hot meat doughnuts. The BBQ at Dexter is highly regarded in Melbourne, and the restaurant has been featured in Timeout's best cheap eats list, as well as being hailed as one of the city's most dynamic and one of the nation's greatest venues and for having one of the best three burgers in the city.
But could we please get back to the hot pork doughnuts for a second? They have no idea what it is.
Burn City Test Kitchen
Burn City Test Kitchen, run by ex-sommeliers Steve Kimonides and Raphael Guthrie, combines the greatest Texan smoking skills with a Melbourne twist. Native ingredients like pepper berries and thyme give the meat a distinctly Australian flavour, and the wine list is excellent—we wouldn't expect anything less from two seasoned sommeliers.
Burn City Test Kitchen's barbeque draws inspiration from throughout the southern United States. But, if you had to pick one state to inspire the flavours and technique at this Melbourne smokehouse, it would be Texas.
The brisket burger, made with 14-hour smoked beef brisket and pickles dripping in mustard and sandwiched between soft milk bread, is as near the iconic American smokehouse meal as you'll get outside the country.
Burn City's BBQ is the real deal, whether you're at a wedding, a work gathering, or dining at the South Kingsville restaurant.
The Gem Bar and Dining
The Gem in Collingwood is the place to go if you like tall cans of beer, shrines to the King, and BBQ so tender you can take it apart with your fingers. Since they first debuted in 2006, they have been Melbourne's go-to for authentic American BBQ.
Gather the gang, reserve a table in the dining room, and let the Pitmaster put together a platter of Melbourne's finest BBQ in the manner of Texas barbeque.
Bad Shepherd Brewing Co.
You may recognise them as one of Melbourne's most recognisable craft beer brewers, but you'd be mistaken if you thought Bad Shepherd Brewing Co.'s repertoire ended there.
Their main brewpub in Cheltenham serves some of Melbourne's greatest BBQ, with the same care and attention to detail that goes into their award-winning beer showing through loud and clear in their distinctive dishes.
Consider myself tempted if being led into temptation results in a plate piled high with barbeque next to an ice-cold IPA.
Third Wave Café
Third Wave Café is the best spot to go when you feel like having BBQ for breakfast. Breakfast doesn't get much better than their signature Green Eggs, which are made with scrambled eggs and slow-roasted lamb shoulder.
They're open 24/7, but you should come for dinner if you want to enjoy authentic American barbeque. Their pork ribs, served with two distinct types of BBQ sauce, are rumoured to be the best in town.
Port Melbourne's The Hack is an open and airy place perfect for family-friendly dining and drinking. This massive old bar was constructed in 1860, making it an ideal location for a local watering hole serving up smoked meats and traditional American sides with two different types of house barbeque sauce to help balance the calorie count.
FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants
A traditional American barbecue usually includes side dishes like potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans or macaroni and cheese. Chuck Smith is a cook at Smoke Shack, a barbecue restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.
The Best American BBQ Dishes
- Mac And Cheese. An easy homemade mac and cheese that is made from scratch.
- BBQ Chicken Wings. Crispy baked chicken wings smothered in a sweet and tangy homemade barbecue sauce.
- Classic BBQ Sauce.
- Pulled Pork Sandwich.
- Burnt Ends.
- Baked Beans.
- Creamy Potato Salad.
The original barbecue styles are thought to be those that originated in the easternmost colonies, like the vinegar-based “whole hog” barbecue found in Virginia and North Carolina.
The word barbecue comes from the language of a Caribbean Indian tribe called the Taino. Their word for grilling on a raised wooden grate is barbacoa. The word first appeared in print in a Spanish explorer's account of the West Indies in 1526, according to Planet Barbecue.
The word barbecue originates from a term Taíno Indians used to refer to their wooden cooking structures; Spanish explorers later added it to their vocabulary via barbacoa. ... When in doubt, go for the slightly ambiguous abbreviation, BBQ.
There is no "American" BBQ; instead, there is barbeque, Texas, Alabaman, Virginian, etc. The cuisine and customs of each state are unique. And even within a single state, some distinct regional varieties may exist.
Melbourne, where barbeque (or "barbeque" if you want to be confirmed) is typically an assortment of styles, makes it difficult to determine. It makes no difference. It's crucial that the meat be of high quality and be smoked correctly, low and slow. Overall, we're making progress in both areas.
Meat cooked in this manner always turns out seared, juicy, and intensely flavorful. Don't forget the mac and cheese, potato salad, slaw, and your favourite hot sauce.