Twenty years. That’s how long Calgary-native David Hillman has been smoking meats. But always in his own backyard.

It was a two-year stint in Brisbane working on an oil and gas project that turned a hobby into a business. When it came time to return home, David and his wife Alix instead decided to stay. Six years later, the two are Australian citizens and owners of the newly opened Original Dave’s Low & Slow BBQ.

“Other interests have come and gone, but it’s the one I never grew out of,” David says. “All the recipes we make at the restaurant are ones we’ve made for years at home.”

Filling the West End tenancy previously occupied by Mondo Organics, at Original Dave’s you can expect local love not just through the menu, but also the well-known Hardgrave Road location and the service. Locals themselves, David and Alix try to chat to every table that comes in and offer discounts on Tuesday nights. The intention is to give people a laid-back, family-friendly spot to meet.

“There are a few barbeque restaurants in Australia and they’re all quite fancy,” David says. “If you go to eat it in the US it’s anything but. The best barbeque I’ve ever had was in Kansas City outside a petrol station. We try to split the difference.”

The menu revolves around free-range beef and pork that falls from the bones, coated in a range of thick, flavoursome sauces. The pork ribs are smoked for six to eight hours and usually served with a Kansas City barbeque sauce. Brisket is smoked for eight to twelve hours with a peppery, tomato-based Texas bold sauce.

The sauces are the main event for many in America’s barbeque belt. Each has its own story and is typically designed to be matched with a certain meat. North Carolina, for example, was once popular with German settlers, and so was born the mustard barbeque sauce.

“We’re trying to capture those regional tastes and flavours, and tell the customers what they’re eating,” David says.

Elsewhere on the menu there are Buffalo wings, Texas beans and vegetarian dishes such as cowboy caviar and nachos. For dessert, apple pie and pecan pie. Drinks include local beers from Brisbane Brewhouse and Newstead Brewing Co, backed by a relatively extensive list of whiskey and bourbon and a short selection of wines.

Original Dave’s Low & Slow BBQ
166 Hardgrave Road, West End
(07) 3844 7641

Tue to Fri 11.30am–9pm
Sat 11.30am–10pm