Kate reviews: Burn City Smokers — ‘easy to prepare, and a lotta fun to eat’
Burn City Smokers — “BBQ to Your Door”
I’ll tell a couple of things I’ve learned doing these reviews. People love good, wholesome food. They love generosity of spirit (and serves). And they love great value.
Ding. Ding. Ding.
Enter, Burn City Smokers. Raphael Guthrie & Steve Kimonides are former sommeliers, turned smokers. They started Burn City as a mobile meat-smoking set-up, selling their wares at festivals and events across the state. They were testing recipes and prepping at their South Kingsville kitchen when, in 2017, they figured they may as well open that up to their neighbours. Burn City Test Kitchen has been a hit with locals ever since, but come COVID era and there are no festivals, and no punters to fill your restaurant.
To keep themselves busy and afloat, they’ve launched “BBQ to Your Door”, literally that, they do all the tough stuff involved in great low and slow cooking, deliver it to you, and you just have to finish it off, plate it up and gobble it down.
The catch? To make it worth it for them there is a $100 minimum order (with free delivery for much of Melbourne, a fee for outer suburbs). Believe me, you’ll want a few people around to eat that much. But you can freeze some of the meat, and the meat and sides will all easily last you up to seven days, so you can basically plan to feed yourself for a whole weekend. We shared our $117 spread with four of our neighbours and their kids.
The other catch – you’ll have to give these guys around a four day lead time, so you need to order in advance. The promise is low and SLOW, so they’ve gotta take their time cooking it for you.
So what’s on the menu?
Clearly the main attraction is meat. And plenty of it.
I cannot order from these guys without having the brisket. In fact, I haven’t actually tried the beef short rib or the chicken, because the brisket is a beauty. It’s cooked in the classic Texas style – a generous rub of salt and cracked pepper, then smoked over wood in the Burn City wood fired smokers for up to fourteen hours. It’s cooled, vacuum-sealed, and then you just need to heat it back up at a very low temperature for 90 minutes. You won’t the believe the smell that comes off this thing, it carves like butter and tastes delicious.
These guys take free-range Western Plains Pork, rub it with a combination of salt, paprika and oregano then smoke it for ten hours. The result – pulled pork (they’ll even pull it apart for you) – half a kilo of smoky, spicy, juicy meat ready to be warmed up, slapped on a milk bun with a whack of coleslaw and devoured.
For the sides, these guys are all about the classics. So to cut through the rich, smoky meat, there’s a pretty traditional coleslaw – hand-cut wombok and red cabbage for crunch, dill, currants and pumpkin seeds, with a tangy home-made dressing (think pickle juice, mayo and mustard – yum!). They’ll arrive separately so the veg doesn’t get soggy, one bag will feed four and set you back just $7.
And it’s American barbecue, so you can’t get away without having some Mac and Cheese. It’s as simple as it sounds – macaroni slathered in a mix of four cheeses: cream cheese, cheddar, Parmesan and Mozzarella. They promise to use just a little more than could possibly be good for you, and they’ll only charge you $15 for almost half a kilo.
To round it off we grabbed some soft milk buns to make brisket or pulled pork burgers, and do not miss their brilliant house-made Barbecue Sauce – a perfect balance of organic blackstrap molasses, raw apple cider vinegar, tomato, mustard and the boys’ secret blend of spices.
There are plenty of other options on the menu – from chicken wings and baby back ribs, to smoked cauliflower and smoked corn cobbettes.
We got a kilo of beautiful smoked brisket, half a kilo of pulled pork, coleslaw, nearly half a kilo of mac and cheese, eight buns and barbecue sauce delivered for $117. We hoped to share it with the next door neighbours and their two kids, we ended up giving some to another house in the street.
There’s a minimum $100 order, but for much of Metro Melbourne you’ll get free delivery, and if you are further out you can still order for a fee fee – I highly recommend just sharing an order with neighbours or family and splitting the cost.
This is real food, but it is sublime food. It’s food that someone has taken the time (all fourteen hours of it) to get right. It’s easy to prepare, and a lotta fun to eat. Right now, Burn City has this city covered.