The round-up: get saucy with the best American barbecue on the Gold Coast
The mere thought of melt-in-your-mouth smoky brisket, slow-cooked ribs drowning in barbecue glaze and saucy wings that slide straight off the bone is enough to raise our heart rates and make our palms sweaty in anticipation. The Gold Coast’s love of American-style barbecued meats and accompaniments is stronger than ever, and luckily there are plenty of delicious establishments out there that are well-equipped to satisfy our meaty appetites. From ribs by the rack to hickory-smoked pulled pork, here are some top spots for an American barbecue feast on the Gold Coast.
Lester & Earl, Palm Beach: For a true American barbecue feast by the beachside, you can’t go past Lester & Earl. Pick at some mozzarella sticks or Smack N Cheese to start, then move into meaty territory with pork ribs, brisket, beef short ribs and free-range slow-smoked pork with corn bread. You’ll also find life-changing pork and brisket rolls here, and you can sink a few local craft brews while you’re at it.
Hickory, Mount Tamborine: Keen for a cheeky road trip? This hidden gem is worth it. Nestled atop Mount Tamborine, Hickory is all about slow-cooked meats and fine beverages (name a better combo). Here you’ll find feasting platters brimming tender pork-rib racks, sticky chicken wings, slaw and buttered potatoes – all washed down with a whisky.
Burleigh Smoke House, Burleigh Heads: Sending the aroma of tender, slow-cooked delights like ribs, wings, brisket and pork belly through Burleigh, this beachside smokehouse will surely satisfy your cravings for all things meaty. Though, it takes a slight shift away from your traditional American-style smokehouse – think less deep-fried sides and more vibrant coleslaws, fresh salads and sweet potato fries.
The Crafty Cow, Casuarina: Located in The Commons at Casuarina, The Crafty Cow lives up to its name with a mouth-watering menu that is heavy on the meat. Tuck into a share platter with slow-smoked cuts of beef brisket, pulled pork, saucy wings and smoked kransky (yum), all paired with delicious sides like house-made coleslaw, beer-battered chips and crispy onion rings. Yes please.
The Loose Moose Tap & Grill House, Broadbeach: Known for putting a refined spin on dirty eats, The Loose Moose weaves a drool-worthy smoked-meats offering into its American-style menu – the ribs are basted in a secret sticky sauce and cooked low and slow to perfection. Those a tad on the hungry (or hangry) side can give the rib platter a nudge – it comes with pork, beef and lamb ribs with your choice of two sides, one of which should definitely be the mac ‘n’ cheese (!) with smoked cheese (!!) and chorizo (!!!).
JR’s Smokehouse Barbecue, various locations: If you’re into stalking food trucks (we are) then get JR’s on your hit list. You’ll find him doing the rounds at various markets and events throughout the Gold Coast and beyond, delighting mobile diners with an authentic woodfired barbecue menu of fall-off-the-bone meats like Angus brisket, chopped pork shoulder, jalapeno-cheddar hotlink sausages, corn on the cob, smoked mac n’ cheese, horseradish potatoes and so much more.
Buffalo Sears, Burleigh Heads: Nestled beneath Swell in Burleigh Heads, Buffalo Sears serves up a finger-licking menu of smoked meats, made even better by a delicious series of secret rubs, bastes and sauces (hello, Gunpowder Hot Sauce) that are all made in house. Hungry? Get a full rack of hickory-smoked barbecue-glazed pork ribs into you. Or go for the six-hour beef short ribs … or the 12-hour grass-fed beef brisket. You get the gist.
Fire Cue, Nobby Beach: While Fire Cue isn’t about traditional American barbecued meats, it’s Latin American-style charcoal-focused menu is well worth a mention. Here you’ll find a tasty share menu that starts with crispy-chicken winglets and hand-pressed braised-beef tacos before leading into rib varieties like sticky-lamb, smoky pork and agave-glazed beef.
BBQ Bazaar Night Market, Burleigh Heads: Variety is the spice of life – and you’ll have plenty of it at the coast’s newest night market, which is dedicated to barbecued, grilled, smoked and charcoal-cooked meats and eats. You’ll find around 20 market stalls dishing up plates of goodness like beef short ribs, rotisserie lamb and chicken, sausages, melt-in-your-mouth beef brisket, saucy wings, juicy steaks and more.
Ribs and Rumps, Main Beach: The aptly named venue is all about satisfying that primal urge to devour an entire rack of ribs with no remorse whatsoever. Luckily, this kind of piggish behaviour is totally acceptable at Ribs and Rumps. Get your mitts on glazed Buffalo wings before getting intimate with the barbecued ribs served by the rack. Prepare thyself for meat sweats.
Sweet Lou’s Saloon, Coolangatta: What Sweet Lou’s lacks in size, it makes up for in deliciousness. This quaint beachside hang serves up a finger-licking menu inspired by America’s deep south – you’ll find snacks like deep-fried pickles and saucy wings, which are the perfect prelude to the sticky ribs and slow-cooked pulled-beef burgers … or there’s pulled jackfruit if you’re all about plant-based eats.
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