Reviewing American BBQ Joints in Melbourne: An American's Perspective

Monday, 3 September 2018
There are heaps of lists out there about the most magnificent BBQ food in Melbourne. Let's be real; I think I've found about one list that was written by an American. Let me preface this by saying: I'm not from the South and I never lived in the South. I did, however, have heaps of friends from the South, so I did get spoiled with super tasty home-made BBQ food. Luckily over the years, I was able to pick up on a few tips for excellent BBQ food! 

I could probably eat BBQ food every day so when I moved to Melbourne, I needed to find decent BBQ food for when I was too lazy to invest the energy in cooking it myself. So I started looking at different lists to finding the best BBQ and started trying the different places. Here are my opinion of BBQ joints in Melbourne:




**I was not sponsored by any of these restaurants. All opinions are 100% my own. Just trying to help my fellow Americans and those seeking authentic American BBQ in OZ out.**

Big Boy BBQ
This was the very first place I tried. My first impressions left me very happy and pleasantly surprised. The meat was juicy, tender, and full of flavour. The different selection of BBQ sauce was to die for! If this is what American BBQ food was going to be like in Melbourne, I was definitely in luck. The founder of Big Boy BBQ fell in love with BBQ while on a road trip in the states. He's known for bringing American BBQ to Melbourne. They have a great selection of different meat platters and sandwiches. 

When I moved here, I was stoked to eat here again. The Caulfield location was closed for renovation (if I remember correctly) and once it reopened the food was just not the same. The meat was dried out, tasted like it had been sitting under a heat lamp for hours, and lacking flavour. I tried eating at this location one more time hoping that it was just an off day but had the same experience. I then tried the other two locations hoping I would get the same fantastic location. Sadly, this didn't happen. 


Check out their menu: Big Boy BBQ
There are still amazing aspects to Big Boys if you're craving some American treats. They stock a variety of sodas including Dr Pepper, Grape Soda, and fruit punch flavoured Jarritos! They also sell the BBQ sauces which are pretty darn good.

MeatMaiden
This place isn't messing around! Pretty sure they can go ahead and switch their name to MeatMasters because this place is amazing! Make sure you get there early as they frequently sell out of their dishes (especially the brisket). 


And now I want brisket!

Thus far, MeatMaiden's has consistently had the most incredible brisket I've tasted in Australia. It is always so tender and juicy. I could probably eat there every single day. I'm allergic to pork, so I haven't personally tried the pork dishes, but friends have raved about how great the various pork dishes taste. Pretty much everything on the menu is fantastic so you cannot go wrong with a meal here!

Fancy Hank's Barbeque

Oh, sweet baby Jesus! The first time I had Fancy Hank's, a friend had ordered me takeaway. I didn't want to make my review based on the takeaway (which btw was pretty damn good), so I waited till I would finally experience Fancy Hank's at the actual joint. 

I recently went with a mate from the States, and neither of us was disappointed. I can't even remember what I ordered (I think it was a brisket sandwich) but who cares! It was marvellous! The meat was so tender and buttery when you bit into it, angels cried a bit in heaven. The gravy brisket fries were like my own personal slice of heaven. 
Yummy! Fancy Hank's Barbeque
Finding legit gravy out here is a hard task, and you Fancy Hank's have hit the nail right on the head. If I could bath in that gravy, I would. If you're visiting or if you live here, get your butt down to Fancy Hank's, and you won't be disappointed!

Smokehouse 101
I'm going to preface my Smokehouse 101 review with the fact that I've only eaten here once. The one time I was there, I was pretty impressed. Is it my favourite place in Melbourne, probably not, however, the food here is delicious! A mate and I shared the meat platter. Of the food I could eat, I enjoyed the chicken and the brisket, but I was less than impressed with the cornbread and chilli beans. To be fair, I've yet to be impressed with cornbread in Melbourne.


Check out Smokehouse 101

I definitely want to go back and give this place another go. The deep fried brownie is still calling to me. They had a good selection of American beers which are rotated frequently. Smokehouse 101 also has a brekkie menu that looks like it would be awesome. Biscuits and gravy as well as grits 'n' bacon grace this menu. I'll have to go with a mate who eats pork so they can describe it to me in detail. 

Le Bon Ton

When it comes to fried chicken with gravy, Le Bon Ton has that down! Their white gravy is some of the best I've tasted in Melbourne. Seriously, it's highly addictive. I was also super impressed to mozzarella sticks graced the menu. Mozzarella sticks are a staple appetiser for me. Fried cheese always makes me happy. 
Le Bon Ton

Unfortunately, when it came to the meats, I was less than impressed. It wasn't horrible, but it also wasn't the best. Maybe it's because the fried chicken was so spot on I had my hopes up or perhaps I just went on an off day. I'll probably return and give Le Bon Ton another go. But for sure I'll be back for the fried chicken. 

Up in Smoke

When I moved to the west, I was so excited to see there were a couple of BBQ restaurants. I tend to try places with relatively low expectations, so I was incredibly impressed with how incredible the food at Up in Smoke's is. Whether I dine in or order delivery, my meals are always fabulous! 

The mac n cheese and Up in Smoke sandwich are some of my favourite items on the menu. To date, nothing I've tried has left me disappointed. You must try the munchies as well. I would highly recommend the brisket waffle fries and the fried cauliflower (can you tell I've eaten here a lot?).


Up in Smoke

I haven't tried any of the desserts yet, but they look like they are to die for. Make sure if you try Up in Smoke you come on an empty stomach. You'll want to sample everything on the menu!

Nieuw Amsterdam
So the menu and restaurant description makes Nieuw Amsterdam seem like an American BBQ place. I honestly wouldn't classify it as such. Actually, I wouldn't classify it as BBQ at all. The restaurant is undergoing a management shift so they may be moving away from their previous BBQ reputation. If you're in the mood for some good fried pickles though, they're pretty dang good!
Nieuw Amsterdam Bar and Restaurant

It's shocking the rate American BBQ restaurants close in Melbourne. But that doesn't mean you cannot find decent barbeque. The beautiful thing about moving to a new country is getting to embrace all of the new foods. But sometimes you need some good old-fashioned comfort food. Have you tried any of these restaurants? If so, which one was your favourite? If you reside in a foreign country, what food do you miss most?


And until next time...
Stay curious! 




24 comments

  1. food are the best !! love this

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  2. I don't think I have ever had American BBQ before. I did hear however that Americans have some really nice BBQ restaurants though. It looks like you found a few great ones in Melbourne.

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  3. When I was in Indonesia, I found it weird to eat my BBQ with peanut sauce. But after a while, I started to like it. I guess as a foreigner living in another country, the best thing we can do is immerse ourselves in their culture and food. Who knows? You might have a new favorite. Just like I did. :)

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  4. I haven't tried any of these, but I would. I do love BBQ places. Like you, I enjoy trying new things, but sometimes I just need some meat.

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  5. It looks like a great place to get some BBQ! I am not much of a meat eater myself, but my partner would LOVE this place

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  6. I love BBQ! This reminds me of a South African restaurant I tried in Edinburgh once, looks so delicious!

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  7. You made me hungry! We've had the benefit of eating BBQ in Tennessee and Mississippi, so I get where you are coming from. It's not so easy to get here in the UK, unless it's a street food truck. There's one in my local city that has an awesome reputation. (But sadly it's got gluten in the mix, so it's off my list. I could inhale outside it for hours though.)

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  8. Melbourne food is the bomb in every cuisine. Reading this makes me miss it there a lot!

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  9. Finding good BBQ is always challenging here in the USA so being able to find authentic BBQ joints in Australia is a great surprise. Melbourne is recognized for good food but had no clue you could eat good American BBQ there.

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  10. You made me hungry. BBQ is one of my favorite! This restaurant looks best for BBQs.

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  11. Food Glorious Food! I love a good BBQ, will have to check these out whenever i go to Melbourne
    Karamel_KC
    http://www.karamelsessence.com

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  12. I'm always open to taking new foods so I wouldn't mind eating these yummies. But I just love the Big Boy BBQ. If they got such burgers and juicy meat, then you'll find me there!

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  13. All of these sound like great BBQ places! BBQ is big down in the south in the US so I know what good BBQ is!

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  14. This post made me want to have a BBQ... too bad it's too late and too cold. The photos are amazing! I am so hungry now!

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  15. This really left me so curious about the place. I agree that once we settle in a new place, the food is one of the many factors that make our stay memorable.

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  16. Oh my. I think I would go there just for the food. I love BBQ food. Yummy!

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  17. I always find it amazing when they do American BBQ in other places out there. It just feels weird to think of your own food as ethnic food. But it does look like they have a few cool ones in Melbourne. Sorry to hear that they don't seem to last long. I wonder why.

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  18. All of this food sounds and looks like it was amazing. I love that they offer a different style of barbecue that is American there. Such an awesome concept!

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  19. We live in Kansas City area and love the bbq here. I think I miss all the Indian street food here in the US

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  20. I want bbq now! That food look delicious and I'm sure it's really tasty

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  21. I love BBQ especially in the summer time ! So many things can be done on there its amazing !

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  22. I've just woken up and I read and see these pictures. Not fair on me lol Bookmarking this for my future Aussie trip :D

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  23. I just love barbeque.
    It's very amazing to know about American barbeque.
    Thanks for sharing.

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