Bluebonnet Barbecue Brunswick East
Chef and owner Chris Terlikar has come a long way since smoking his first slab of meat with woodchips from Bunnings. He learned his craft from pitmaster Tom Micklethwait at renowned barbeque spot Micklethwait Craft Meats in Austin, Texas.
A monster exposed-brick wall runs the length of the large dining room, which is separated into two areas by a dramatic archway. On one side of that archway is an open kitchen with an Ole Hickory woodfired rotisserie smoker, worth close to $30,000.
Dining-room chairs were salvaged from the now-closed Longhorn Saloon, small tables are cut from old barn doors, and there’s a lighting installation made from an old ladder. The towering bar is built from stacked 250-kilogram railway sleepers, their rough, weather-beaten sides left exposed.
Alongside mainstays such as beef brisket (smoked over ironbark and oak in a thick salt and pepper rub), pulled pork and crispy lamb ribs, there’s a thick pork cutlet, smoked for a couple of hours and finished on the grill, producing a devastating layer of crackling. A one-kilogram tomahawk steak is smoked for 45 minutes, seared, then carved into massive hunks to share. An elegant side of butter-glazed carrots is spiked with Buffalo Trace bourbon and maple syrup, served with pistachios and toasted sage.
Terlikar also experiments with different cuts of meat and seasonings. In the kitchen, brisket trim goes into sausages, and excess fat is rendered, whipped and served on slabs of cornbread.