Bluestone American BBQ, Coburg

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MELBOURNE | It’s no secret that we’re fans of American BBQ at The City Lane, so when we were driving down Sydney Road in Coburg the other week, and noticed a new spot, Bluestone American BBQ had opened, we knew we had to visit. One of our favourite kinds of BBQ is Texas-style BBQ (check out our guide to the best BBQ in Austin), and this style influences much of the American BBQ found in Melbourne, but Bluestone takes a different approach.

Rather than focus on one style of BBQ, owner and pit-master Al Malel takes his inspiration from several different kinds of BBQ. Al taught himself about American BBQ by watching instructional videos on YouTube, but he’s no stranger to BBQ. His parents were born and grew up in Uruguay, and he grew up learning how to cook Uruguayan open-flame asado from his grandfather. Brisket is Texas-style, pulled pork has a Cuban twist, while the beef rib is Uruguay.

The 60 seater restaurant is simply fit out, with Al and his wife Amanda doing much of the work themselves. Most of the materials were sourced from the Campbellfield Recycle Centre, and there’s a bit of an outdoor shack feel thanks to the corrugated iron and party lights strung around the venue. The feature item is of course, the smoker, and the Brisbane built Radar Hills offset smoker is there for all to see at the front, inside of the venue.

Moving onto the food, and there’s a lot that looks appealing when you scroll down the menu and Amanda, who runs front of house, is happy to explain it all to anyone who might be new to this style of BBQ. We went for one of the “Pitmaster’s Picks”, three different options that get you a bit of everything.

One of our favourite things here is the smoked pork sausage, which is snappy with just the right level or firmness and softness. Bits of cheese throughout really elevate this one, and they’re served with tasty fire roasted red peppers. The stone grilled grits, ground-corn gruel with pepper jack cheese and tomato au jus, are a must order side, with a silky smooth texture and intense, flavoursome taste. The chicken chops, cooked over Applewood, with a juniper salt rub and topped with an Alabama white sauce, is tender and flavoursome, and also well worth ordering.

The Cuban pulled pork, served with lime mojo and sour cream is different than what we were expecting, but is very tender, juicy, and has really nice flavours. In fact, we took some home and used it on some home made pizzas that night, which worked really well. The only criticism is that it was overly sauced, which made it very sweet and masked some of the pork’s underlying flavours. There’s also braised pulled lamb, something you don’t usually see on BBQ menus, which evoked memories of Micklethwait Craft Meat in Austin for us. It’s served simply with a rosemary rub and an onion pickle, and is really flavoursome – one of our highlights.

Brisket is one of our favourite things to order when eating BBQ, and the version here had us a bit divided. The meat used is high quality Black Angus which is cooked for around 14 hours at 225°F. It’s only seasoned with salt and pepper, to allow the flavours of the beef to shine through, and is super tender, with a thick crust. All good things, but when we were served it, it came on a plate and was, like the pulled pork, already sauced – so much so that the simple flavours of the brisket were to a large extent lost. Serve this unsauced with some sauce on the side and it’s a winner. Speaking of sauce, a tangy, vinegar sauce and chilli sauce are offered, which are both nice, but we’d love to see a BBQ sauce added to the mix.

Al and Amanda are clearly passionate about what they’re doing, and being Coburg locals themselves you can really feel a community link to the area. Yes, there are a few things that could do with some tweaking (the judicious pre-saucing being the main one), but they’re getting a lot right – and it’s still early days. With a combination of tasty, well priced food and friendly service, we definitely see ourselves coming back to try more of the menu.

Bluestone American BBQ

470 Sydney Road
Coburg
Victoria 3058
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9042 6347
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

Open
Tue – Thu: 5:00pm to 9:00pm
Fri – Sat: 12:00pm to 9:30pm

Bluestone American BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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