It’s 8am on Saturday at the Coorparoo Australian Football Club. The Barbecue Mafia team is busy getting ready for a massive day (some of them have been here since 2am). Today they’re expecting around 4000 people to enter the ground. Who knows how many of them will order food.
In preparation, the team has packed Stella (a custom-built 12-and-a-half foot Bullockhead Creek offset smoker) and Frank (a slightly smaller version) with 24 beef briskets and 18 pork collars.
“You get used to it,” says Barbecue Mafia co-founder Gareth Dosser. (The team operated out of Sherwood Football Club for over a year before finishing up there in March.) “You roughly know how many people are going to come and you cater to that, but you also cook a bit more because you don’t want to turn away business. We don’t waste anything – all the leftovers and offcuts go into our burgers and brisket chilli.”
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A suburban footy club might not be the first place you’d expect to find some of the world’s best smoked meat. In 2018, the Barbecue Mafia team (Dosser, Andrew Walliker, Chris Bollins and Ryan Marstella) competed in the American Royal World Series of Barbecue in Kansas City. Against 170 other teams, they placed fifth for brisket. The next day, against 470 other teams, they placed an impressive seventh in the same category.
If you think about it, though, a football club makes complete sense. There’s a community vibe at football clubs that you don’t get in standalone venues. And the relatively obscure location echoes the team’s experiences in America.
“In Texas you see a lot of barbeque venues in places like car parks, and you go sit on a picnic bench and have amazing food,” Dosser says. “This [location] stays true to what barbeque is all about: community, having a feed and letting the kids run around.”
An undercover outdoor seating area was built outside the club’s bar and canteen, overlooking the main football ground. There are picnic tables and benches, plus a few stools around re-purposed steel barrels. The bar stocks a small selection of wines and spirits, as well as cans of beer from Mount Tambourine’s Fortitude Brewing (this is the only place you can find the beers without having to go to the brewery).
As for the food, that world-class brisket is served on paper-lined lunch trays alongside smoked pork sausage, Texas brisket chilli, corn salsa, sweet potato salad, pickles, pickled onion and bread rolls. There’s also a smoked-beef-short-rib platter, brisket or pulled-pork loaded fries, a brisket cheeseburger, and a number of sides. Sauces include Barbecue Mafia’s Mobster BBQ Sauce, a hot vinegar BBQ sauce and an Aussie-style ketchup.
On Thursdays and Fridays, the breakfast offering includes a brisket roll with egg, bacon, tomato salsa and barbeque sauce, a pork-shoulder roll and a smoked-brisket brown-rice bowl.
Every two months, Barbecue Mafia will hold barbeque masterclasses where punters can watch the smoking process, learn how to make the most out of their kettle barbeques at home, and enjoy a meal at the end of it. There’s also live music on Sunday afternoons, adding to the fun, family-friendly community vibe of the place.
Barbecue Mafia Smoked Meat Co at Coorparoo AFC
33 Birubi St, Coorparoo
Fri 8am–10am, 12pm–3pm, 5pm–9pm
Sat 12pm–3pm (non-game days), 5pm–9pm