More than just meat on the barbie, American BBQ is a fine art that takes patience and dedication to make, and bibs and wipes to eat. Here’s where to get your fingers sticky in Melbourne.
After a long stint at Queen Victoria Market, Fancy Hanks has relocated to a new Bourke Street home. Navy leather bar booths, abundant timber and an upstairs rooftop bar make up this unique central venue. Fancy Hanks even have a custom built barbecue ensuring you get the real taste of Southern American BBQ.
A long-standing Carlton institution, Longhorn Saloon looks exactly like the classic American saloon you see in the movies. It’s a little dim, a little warm and exceptionally cosy. This setting offers the perfect place to curl up with their cumin and oregano rubbed roasted half chicken, corn waffles, bacon jam (!) and bourbon maple butter. Classic sandwiches include the towering brisket Reuben served on dark rye with sauerkraut, Swiss and Russian dressing.
The Beaufort and Ike’s Rack Shack
A cocktail bar and restaurant rolled into one finger-licking venue. Let Ike’s take care of your dinner, and The Beaufort handle your drinks. The food offering is gloriously messy but paired with an abundance of paper napkins you’ll make it out of there with a little dignity. The menu includes glistening maple pork ribs, skinless snags flavoured with chipotle, jalapeno and cheese or truffled mac ‘n’ cheese. Vegans and vegos will be well fed by the ‘shroom burger and vegan short ribs with soy pumpkin bones.
Knuckles BBQ Burgers & Bar
Knuckles BBQ Burgers & Bar is a no-frills, American-style barbeque joint. One-handed lunch options are in abundance. Choose from southern fried chicken burgers, enormous Philly cheesesteak hot dogs and sticky ribs. When you complete your meal with cheesy fries and cheeky sides, you can’t demand more.
Nestled along the Yarra River in Southbank, Hopscotch ticks all the right boxes and some extras you hadn’t even considered. A nitrogen ice-cream bar. Tick. Cocktails, frosé and a wine list to die for. Tick. An entire menu section dedicated to messy one-handed eats. Tick, tick… boom.
Big Boy BBQ
Bring the big boys and your big appetite to Big Boy BBQ. Shared meat platters are a menu highlight, with feeds ranging from single-serves to a feast for six. Saucy beef brisket, beef pastrami, pork ribs and jumbo sides are some of the combinations on offer. Add crispy fried onion strings, because, onion strings.
This Meatmaiden from Melbourne sure knows her way around the kitchen. There are no ordinary glazes found here. The menu boasts slow-roasted pork belly with pickled apples and chipotle cream, beef short ribs with a coffee rub and even a 20-hour smoked brisk. Make sure you try the lobster mac ‘n’ cheese before you leave.