Saddle up for some succulent smoked delights at Chermside’s Bootlegger
Just when you though Westfield Chermside’s food offering couldn’t get any bigger, a new entrant takes things to a whole other level. Bootlegger is the newest venue from restaurateur Tom Chidiac (founder of Sir Chapel at the Tramsheds in Sydney), and is a passion project through and through. Any fans of genuine, bona fide, salivation provoking, melt-in-your-mouth, shallow-breathing inducing American barbecue need only follow their nose to sink their teeth in some of the best in town. Bootlegger is an American barbecue smokehouse done well, with all kinds of lovingly slow-cooked meat paired with craft beer, signature cocktails and a warm atmosphere.
Westfield Chermside’s newest resident Bootlegger is heavily influenced by owner Tom Chidiac’s many journeys to the United States over the past 20 years. Not only has Tom tasted a wide variety of genuine American barbecue, but he’s also visited his fair share of dining establishments. This melting pot of influences has resulted in Bootlegger – a realisation of tastes, experiences and ideas from his journeys across America’s southern states. The venue boasts a stylish Prohibition-style fit-out, with plenty of timber, leather chesterfield seating, metals and neon signage evoking the smoky jazz era of generation’s past. The venue boasts indoor and outdoor seating (with an expanded beer garden currently being added), and an impressive central bar where patrons can congregate for a tipple before taking a seat. Bootlegger’s pride and joy is a gargantuan two-tower smoker – the largest of its kind in Australia and only the second to be built in the world. Designed in America and manufactured in Australia, this smoker can hold an entire day’s worth of meat and then some, cooking each delicious morsel to perfection in the cosy confines of its viewing room. That’s right – patrons and those passing by can stop for a glimpse of the smoker in action while the kitchen team carves and prepares the meat in full view. This bad boy has only just arrived, but will be fired up to coincide with the full menu launch next week.
The food and drink
Tom’s infatuation with the meat maestros of American barbecue is readily apparent across Bootlegger’s menu, which features dishes inspired by Tom’s travels across the US. Bootlegger specialises in meats cooked low and slow –coated in signature rubs and accompanied by specialty jus and barbecue sauces made in house. The best way to see what Bootlegger is all about is by ordering the Pitmaster Platter, which comes with a little bit of everything you could want. We’re talking pork sausage, pork ribs, beef brisket, fried chicken, coleslaw and fries. If you are dining with a crew, you can upgrade your platters to serve six or ten people, with extra servings of everything plus the likes of smoky barbecue buffalo wings, pulled pork, onion rings, chipotle mac ‘n’ cheese and more. Tom not only is a die-hard barbecue lover, but he’s also a burger fanatic too. Bootlegger’s classic cheeseburger is something else, and Tom even claims it’s the best cheeseburger you are likely to have. Tom not only talks the talk, but he also walks the walk – Bootlegger’s cheeseburger boasts perfectly proportioned ingredients designed to complement each other, from the Cape Grim beef patties to the Bootlegger secret sauce. Burger lovers won’t walk away disappointed, especially when there are five other burgers and sandwiches to try as well. Rounding out the menu is a selection of hot dogs (inspired by visits to Coney Island), garden bowls, steaks fresh from the grill, fried chicken and dessert pies and cheesecakes. The bar also stocks everything you need to wash down your feast, with 16 beer taps pouring various Australian craft beers (including six locals) as well as a back bar stocked with a range of spirits for cocktails, including a choice selection of gins, bourbons and single malts.
Bootlegger will be introducing live entertainment in the coming weeks, and will be hosting dedicated Sunday sessions with food and drink deals. The Bootlegger team will also be hosting a competition to name its newly installed gargantuan smoker, so if you’ve got a knack for nicknames, consider throwing your choice into the ring.
If reading this has given you a case of the belly rumbles, head to Bootlegger’s entry in the Stumble Guide for opening hours and contact details.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 1800 places to eat, drink, shop and play.