Baron and Hammond might be new to this spot but they’ve been a part of Melbourne’s American BBQ scene for a little while now with successful popup stints at the back of Fitzroy’s Baron Said and The Worker’s Club in 2014. They’ve also run (and still do run) American BBQ courses.
Kustom Kommune itself opened in 2013 and is a motorcycle workshop that anyone can come and make use of, with a range of memberships on offer. Walking inside the workshop, the motorcycles are in full view, with a bar in one corner and food being served from another corner. The smoker is in the lane way entrance out the front.
The space is really well suited to this kind of collaboration and the atmosphere is great. There’s a relaxed vibe with the requisite deep South American music playing from the speakers and an assortment of American paraphernalia dotted throughout the place. There’s even the occasion film being projected onto one of the walls. Nothing feels forced, and the merger of the motorcycle and American BBQ culture really works. Suits, bikers, hipsters – everyone’s welcome.
A variety of drinks are offered including 3 Ravens beer on tap, craft beer bottles and some very decent whiskeys, wines and cocktails along with the usual range of spirits.
The small, Texas inspired menu includes things like 12-hour smoked brisket, pulled-pork, chicken wings beef and lamb ribs, potato salad, chilli and coleslaw. Ironbark BBQ uses only ethically sourced Victorian meat and sustainable timber in the smoking process.
The Woody Harrelson ($50.00)
On our first visit to Ironbark BBQ we ordered the “Woody Harrelson” a sort of “greatest hits” platter if you will and a great introduction to what Ironbark BBQ does.
You get a choice of Angus brisket or pulled pork (we chose the brisket), lamb ribs, links (spicy thick sausages), green slaw (green apple, capsicum, sesame & mint), red slaw (red chilli. radish, capsicum & cumin) and a decent sized serving of potato salad with capers, dill and spring onion.
Everything on the tray was really tasty. The brisket was the highlight – tender meat, melt in your mouth fat and a salty charred exterior all combined for the perfect bite each time. The lamb ribs were also very tasty and quite rich, with a mint vinaigrette helping to cut through the richness. The sausages were tasty and perfectly acceptable, however they weren’t as good as the outstanding brisket and lamb ribs.
The potato salad was decent but the coleslaw actually made for a better side. Given the indulgence on the meat front it was nice to have some fresh, flavoursome yet not overpowering greenery to add some balance to the overall meal.
We also went for a small serving of chicken wings which were very smoky and tender,
If you want the meat on its own you can get it either by the pound or half pound, rack or half rack etc. All of the sides are also available separately too.
We returned 2 weeks later and, along with the brisket ($35.00/pound), went for some pulled pork shoulder ($35.00/pound), Angus beef rib ($29.00/point) and Texas style chilli ($8.00) (with brisket – there’s also a vegetarian option).
The brisket was just as good as we’d remembered and the pulled pork was a real stand out too, perhaps the best in Melbourne with a level on tenderness that is often missed in the drier pulled pork dishes around town. The beef ribs were tasty and flavoursome but were a bit fattier than we like.
The Texas style chilli was very good but given that there was so much meat on the dish we probably should have gone for the vegetarian option as the brisket wasn’t strictly necessary and the chilli would have tasted just as good without it.
The fact that we returned to Ironbark BBQ at Kustom Kommune for another meal before we even got around to writing up our review says all that you need to know about the food and atmosphere. Let’s just hope that the Ironbark BBQ boys stay at Kustom Kommune for a while longer than the other popups they have done – the food and space are a perfect match.
Ironbark BBQ At Kustom Kommune
25 Easey Street
Fri – Sun: 6:00pm to late