Smoky Sue’s is more than just a name. It’s a nod to this restaurant’s unusual style of American barbeque, which begins with sous-vide cooking before the meat is hickory smoked. The idea is to cook precisely while retaining juiciness. But not all the rules have been thrown out the window. The team here barbeques about a tonne of smoked meat each week, according to owner and pitmaster Owen Brown.
Smoky Sue's uses an American-made pellet smoker imported from Kansas. Slabs of grain-fed beef brisket, Riverina pork belly and hot links stuffed with spicy jalapenos and cheese are piled inside its black steel frame and smoked with Myron Mixon hickory pellets for hours until done (exact cooking times and temperatures are house secrets). They’re rested in the hotbox for a couple more hours and plated up with sides and on buns until sold out.
The style here isn’t hogtied to any of barbeque’s state or region-specific nuances. Pulled pork is lashed with sticky barbeque sauce, Carolina-style; crunchy Southern fried buttermilk chicken evokes New Orleans; and Buffalo-style wings are doused in Frank’s Red Hot sauce. There’s even a Philly cheese-steak burger loaded with chopped brisket, green capsicum, onions and a molten cheese sauce (that canary-yellow stuff rarely seen this side of the Pacific).
The menu is full of classic barbeque cuts including beef brisket and pulled pork. Platters include at least three meats plus sides and sauces. Burgers are also available, including the Ribby McRibface, which contains an entire beef short rib, bone included. The meat is tender enough that the bone can be removed without making a mess. Eating it is another story.
Smoky Sue’s fully embraces the stereotype of American excess. Portions are large, and toppings and sauces are lavishly loaded on. If there’s a fire in your belly, you can put it out with tins of local beer (there’s Bondi Brewing Co, Young Henrys and Mountain Goat), a Long Island Iced Tea or a milkshake.