It’s the little things in lockdown that help add a bit of joy to your life: orange-tinged sunsets, sliding the last piece of a 1000-piece puzzle into place, and the wafting smell of barbeque from a couple of sizzling sticks of meat. The latter is easy to obtain with Firepop.
The family-run business has been operating for 14 years, but only under the Firepop moniker since July 2019. Before lockdown you might have seen its vans around town, including residencies at Grifter Brewing and World Square.
“We’re often called a food truck, but we are simply a mobile commercial kitchen fitted with a four-metre charcoal grill cooking some of the best ingredients in the country,” Firepop co-founder Alina Van tells Broadsheet.
Van and the business’s other co-founder, Raymond Hou, had planned to start a restaurant – but bushfires, floods and then the pandemic changed everything. “Since then, we’ve been pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved out of a nine-metre-square kitchen,” she says.
In lockdown 2020, Hou and Van had to reassess yet again, and they decided to introduce cook-at-home meal kits. They’ve brought them out once again after realising, like all of us, that lockdown isn’t going anywhere fast.
There are a number of Firepop packs, all with a stack of top-quality meat skewers – or “pops”, as they call them – ready for you to sprinkle with spice mix, salt or chilli and then put on your grill.
Some packs even include a ridiculously easy to light single-use, eco-friendly and compostable charcoal grill (or you can buy it separately if you want) so you can ensure your sizzling pops get a kiss of charcoal.
“We made a conscious decision not to offer takeaway but cook-at-home kits, as our style of food doesn’t travel well and we wanted people to have an experience comparable to dining with us. Fresh off the grill – perfectly caramelised on the outside and juicy on the inside.”
Firepop takes its produce seriously. It makes skewers with Wagyu beef from Aussie Wagyu pioneer David Blackmore, pasture-fed lamb from Port Macquarie, farm-raised chicken from Sydney Fresh Poultry and Australian Bresse chicken from Tathra Place. It also uses wild-caught Spencer Gulf king prawns from SA, fresh wasabi from Tassie’s Shima Wasabi, heritage wheat flour from Wholegrain Milling in Gunnedah, and salt from Australia’s oldest family-owned salt producer, Olsson’s.
The OG pops (lamb skewers) are a highlight, influenced by the cumin flavours favoured by the Uyghur community of Xinjiang, in north-west China. And then there’s the Butter pops, called “butter” because the thinly sliced Wagyu strips melt in your mouth.
There are also some really interesting sides, such as house-made pickles and a delightful pickled choko, which Van says acts like a palate cleanser to cut through the richness of the grilled meats.
And watch out for upcoming collabs, include non-alcoholic beverage pairings by Nance Liong (ex-Momofuku); aperitivo-hour boxes with Iggy’s Bread and music by DJ Levins; and boxes with Vic’s Meat, which will be available interstate. Packs are released each week so check back if it's sold out.