Prohibition Smokehouse, Truck Norris Texas BBQ and Bootleg BBQ… some smokehouse joints on the south island of New Zealand

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Prohibiton smokehouse


PROHIBITION SMOKEHOUSE, DUNEDIN

To start off with, Dunedin is a funny little town. It holds with-in its belly an intestinal tract of Victorian era buildings that house the students from the Universities in town, inducing a feeling of old meets new. Graffitied buildings and quirky student-y notes and signs adorn the walls and doorways of the city, which may have long since been set to rest without the influx of the learned, the sun and chilly ocean breeze blotted out by moss and vines never to caress the city walls again… either way this place is definitely worth a stroll…

But clearly I am no poet, so maybe I should just get back to I may be slightly better at; reporting the facts.

We hadn’t had a smoky-meaty fix on this trip yet and we were pretty keen to rectify that situation.

We stepped into the kinda-swanky-looking-for-a-smokehouse-joint restaurant and were quickly seated by the super nice staff. Straight up this was not something I was accustomed to from a smokehouse restaurant – no, I’m not referring to the super nice staff (Smokehouse joints always have super nice staff. Yes, that is a blatant generalization but I will be standing by it because I am stubborn and correct). I am referring to the swankiness. I am defo accustomed to a little more dank with my BBQ and I think that’s one of the things I truly like about it, but I had arrived on their freshly swept doorstep* with an open heart and open mind so I was ready for it… whatever it may be…

“Firstly, I would just like to let you know kids eat for free”, were the words from our waitress’s mouth.

At that point I was truly ready to forgo the lack of dank and any other preconceptions about BBQ that I may have in my stupid, opinionated head because as our dear lord once said, “If you feed my kids for free I can buy another bottle of wine which basically makes us homies fo’ life”.

We ordered, we drank, and Jennee and I laughed like the first time we met.

After a perfectly comfortable time period had elapsed our food hit the table. Or more literally – our food was placed nicely on the table in front of us.

The spread


We shared brisket with soured onions and truffle mayo ($34), ½ chicken with baby spinach and drunken raisins ($32), grilled broccoli with chipotle hollandaise ($10) and iceberg wedge salad with ranch and bacon bits ($8.5). The boys had buttermilk fried chicken wings and pork ribs, both with citrus ‘slaw (free for under 12s), and we got into that lot as well.

It was all a very nice meal indeed. The brisket was tender and juicy, but could’ve had some more smoke, I thought. The fried chicken, the pork ribs, the sides were all very tasty but I have to say the star of the evening was the ½ grilled chicken – tender, juicy, smoky and a heap of other great adjectives used to describe great tasting meat. It was some of the best grilled chook I have ever eaten, hands down. That with the iceberg salad took me to my very happy place.

I couldn’t get to pecan pie quick enough. Mmmm, that was some damn tasty pecan pie


We followed that up with a whiskey chaser and some dessert. All of the desserts were good but if you do not try this pecan pie ($15) you are a stupid, stupid man… or lady… it is really good pecan pie. Probs not so good if you are allergic to pecans though, but you’ll work that out I’m sure (or possibly become fodder for natural selection).

So for your dinner you shall be eating ½ chicken, iceberg salad, pecan pie, whiskey. Check.

Do it.

*A freshly swept doorstep which was later defiled by a young lady emptying the booze from her stomach into the gutter as the tables of diners at Prohibition watched on. We were the only table that cheered even a little bit.

The Truck Norris set up


TRUCK NORRIS TEXAS BBQ, METHVEN

The food truck scene is alive and well in the South Island of New Zealand.

Even the little alpine town of Methven has a food truck or two.

One of those food trucks is called Truck Norris.
My dear wife Jennee decided she would call it “Walker, Texas Griller”.

Truck Norris is run by a guy named Matt.

Matt told us he really liked cooking BBQ.

Matt made some really tasty BBQ.

Three meat platter – 30 bucks a pop


There was a nice little corral type set-up to keep Matt, his food truck and his two Johnson Smokers’ cohorts safe from the admiring crowds who would be gathering soon for a little taste of some top notch Texas style BBQ – The girls that would be chucking their knickers at him and gesturing to him with their tongues gently caressing their lips. The guys who would get emotional because the smoked meat is so damn delicious… and then they would become even more emotional (like, tears emotional) because “emotional” is a feeling they know not how to deal with (but they would still have enough wits about them to have their facial hair ready to smuggle a few morsels out of the yard for later). The dogs and the cats would get along together, just to share a little of that smoky goodness, a few fries with Matt’s special seasoning and maybe a little of that black-eyed bean salad.

Don’t forget the jalapeno poppers


Yes, the world would get a little crazy just for a second, thanks to Truck Norris and it’s purveying of tasty smoky goodness.

It would be defo worthy of pulling off the highway (if there was actually a highway… perhaps it was just a country road…) to sample some of these smoky delights. Actually, you should sample all of the smoky delights… and drive all of the way from the where ever you live to do it.

Drive there from where ever and try all of the meats and all of the sides. Your face will love you for it.

This is what the Bootleg sign looks like


BOOTLEG BBQ, CHRISTCHURCH

This was a good looking bar and BBQ joint type scenario.

There were comfortable seats, central heating and 15 NZ craft beers on tap (changes often, we were told), which is fine by me because I really don’t mind seating on a comfortable seat, in a warm environment while sipping on a craft beer from NZ.

The staff were nice. They bought us food and drinks upon request. They were very nice indeed.

The menu that told us what we could order


We ordered “the BBQ platter for the squad” ($80). I’m almost positive this was not the name of the BBQ platter we ordered, but I also know it sure as heck could’ve been. That or Bobby Jones. Both very solid names for a big BBQ platter with all of the things on it. We also ordered a side of “fickles” (fried pickles) ($10) and some extra rainbow ‘slaw ($12), as we are firm believers in the “more ‘slaw is best” theory when it comes to eating half a butcher’s shop piled high on a large tray after spending varied amounts of time in a smoky oven which was “powered by pear wood and out the back in the kitchen”, we were informed.

We heard the holy angels trumpet the arrival of our meal/s.

All kinds of smoky goodness


The BBQ joint standard meat-holding platter was placed before us, it’s gloriously checkered interior and slightly chromed walls housed a plethora of meats. It was like visiting a petting zoo only with more eating and less petting*, which is pretty much how I like my dinner to be.

Someone obviously needed to get up early in the morning to cook this deliciousness just for us and for that I was very grateful. I wonder if that someone needed an alarm or if they were naturally an early riser… I’m just curious, that’s all.

Very tasty indeed


The meats were all smoky and tasty BBQ treats. Tasty as bro. The brisket and the jalapeno sausage were stand outs, as were the fickles, and if you visit this place I would suggest that you make sure your order contains these three things if you’d like to remain friends.

*There was actually zero petting perpetrated on this evening because even though New Zealand may be a little more relaxed in its rules than Australia, I’m pretty sure it is not that relaxed.

Someting boozy and tasty


ORLEANS, CHRISTCHURCH

This place was a nice little southern soul food type joint. It was not at the time of our visit, and to my knowledge nor is it now, a BBQ joint. I’ve just chucked it on the list because it did serve some tasty assed, southern inspired fare.

“Right on trend”, other reviewers who are real reviewers may say of this restaurant in their magazines and newspaper dining guide reports.

Also, I would hope they might have something nice to say about the food.

Many food


We ordered quite a large pile of it and we were pretty damn impressed with the whole shebang. One thing I noticed straight away is that these folks paid a little more attention to their sides and smaller dishes, where as it is quite common for this “style” of food joint to neglect the sides a little, like parent may neglect a new step child, or even as the average redneck turtle farmer may neglect his or her personal hygiene. Please don’t get me wrong, most of the sides we have had at every other joint on this trip have been pretty on point, but just a little under seasoned here, or a little over cooked there, but generally on point. But Orleans was 100% on point with the lot.

On point (I thought maybe I should say that one more time).

More food


Fried brussels sprouts with andioulle and corn bread crumb ($12), baked beans with maple bacon ($10) and their ‘slaw with peanuts ($10) were all bang on, as were our mainish choices – pastrami, andioulle sausage and pickles ($18), buttermilk fried chicken with ranch sauce ($14), grilled pork belly with corn puree ($18) and fried duck wings with peanut butter BBQ sauce ($20).

Our favourites were the feeding-a-late-in-life-Elvis style duck wings, for bang for your buck and flavour these things could not be beat, the fried brussels sprouts and the ‘slaw. We were consciously and constantly referring back to the “more ‘slaw is best” theory to help those duck wings and fried chicken make it through our system.

Freaking out at those fried duck wings


If you like this style of eating, like the sort of thing you may be able to see in these photos, then I think your belly will tell you your dollars were well spent after dining here.

It is worthy of note that the owners of this place also have a diner and a bar in the same laneway. They both looked pretty good but the diner was defo more our sort of vibe.

I left Strange Lane (the actual name of the lane) with the knowledge required to happily recommend a pre-dinner drink or lunchtime chicken waffle burger at the Lower 9th Diner.

For the bar, I have nothing.

Absent on this day; Smokey T’S BBQ, and Fully Pitted BBQ

Smoked beef ribs with BBQ sauce and paper towel

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smoked beef ribs
This is another very effing worthy addition to the monthly meeting of “the Hungry Mens Club”, or indeed “the Really Attractive Gnawing Meat From The Bone Ladies Club”.

The method employed is not going to decrease any amount of jobless percentages or ensure victory for the local candidate running for election, but is in fact the exact same method used for the smoked brisket you can find right here. The time the meat spends unwrapped in the smoke is reduced by roughly 1 hour and then the time wrapped is reduced by around about the hour mark too.

I doused the shit outta this mofo with this BBQ sauce after it had rested for 1 hour, sliced it into Fred Flinstone looking chunks and five minutes later I found myself laying in a pool of my own body sweat and BBQ sauce with a very contented grin on my face… very contented indeed.

Unwrap those bad boys after a good smoking and then a little rest

Unwrap those bad boys after a good smoking and then a little rest

That is some really saucy shit right there

That is some really saucy shit right there

Textbook

Textbook

Oh dear good lord, get in my face

Oh dear good lord, get in my face

Hand towel is advised for this and other meat/bone type activities

Hand towel is advised for this and other meat/bone type activities


You’re welcome.

Stalling on the smoked brisket

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bbq smoked brisket
This is one recipe that is pretty essential for anyone who is really keen on BBQ or in fact anyone who really enjoys any type of food-based, guaranteed STD free, pornography going on in their mouth.

It is also a recipe that I’ve taken my sweet time getting up here for your viewing pleasure.

Yeah, I’m heaps soz.

Anyhow, I need to keep this short and sweet just because I shouldn’t even be trying to entertain you folks (yeah plural. I know for a fact there’s at least three of you now) with this conduit of my love of food to the outside world and I should definitely be tallying invoices and dockets from our last week at the restaurant. Can you see what’s happened? I just opted for the more fun option… not very good at adulting at all am I?

So the one thing I feel I should bring to your attention is that the brisket does a little thing around the 65C mark that people in voodoo BBQ circles worldwide like to call “the stall”. The brisket may indeed stall at 65C for half an hour or so. It’s just what it does. Get used to it and we can all still be friends.

Nice.

Go smoke some brisket now.

Start with one of these or something else that is good for smoking meat

Start with one of these or something else that is good for smoking meat

Smoking brisket makes me smile

Smoking brisket makes me smile

Slice it up so many people may partake in the smoky briskety goodness

Slice it up so many people may partake in the smoky briskety goodness


COFFEE SMOKED BRISKET

(For a gathering of the hungry man’s club.)

3.5-4kg beef brisket (a bigger brisket will just take a little longer)
2 cups strong black coffee
Salt and pepper
Probe thermometer
Pretty much all of the other sides on these pages work with smoked brisket, so take your pick.

• Season beef well with salt and pepper. Proper well. A good handful should do the trick
• Get your smoker up to 110-120C and while your waiting around, get that coffee into a spray bottle
• Get the brisket into your smoker, making sure you keep a fairly constant-ish 110-120C. Give your beef a nice little spray with the coffee every 30-40 minutes
• After 4-5 hours the brisket should have an internal temp of 65-70C or so. This is when I like to wrap it
• Remove the brisket, give it one last spritz with that coffee and wrap it with alfoil. Return to the smoker for another 3-4 hours or until the internal temperature at the thickest point in the brisket is 92-95C. This is definitely as specific as I get with this whole cooking lark and there is a reason for that – this is how you make it really effing good!
• Once the brisket is at 92-95C remove from smoker and rest for one hour
• Make sure you let it rest for 1 hour as this is how it ends up really sexy
• Now and only now it is time to eat your brisket
• Get some sides together, get some sauces together and then get it into your face. Or get it on a burger with some BBQ sauce*, jalapenos, pickles and chopped white onion for my current favourite. Still, as long as it ends up in your face you will be happy

*I like 2 parts this BBQ sauce cooked out with 1 part maple syrup. 2 cups BBQ with 1 cup of maple. Simmer that out for 10 or 15 minutes over med-low heat. You can do that, right?

That's my bit

That’s my bit


All pics, except that one of the smoker, belong to my friend Bec Clark.

JR’s Smokehouse Barbecue – more than just a smokehouse barbecue… actually, it is totally just a smokehouse barbecue and a damn fine one at that

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jrs smokehouse barbecue coolangatta
This has been a long anticipated date for me.

I have been very excited since hearing that Gold Coast to Byron Bay caterer, JRs Smokehouse Barbecue, had moved into their own little shop front in Coolangatta, just an hour up the road from us.

The menu looks a little bit like this

The menu looks a little bit like this


Initially we ventured up here on the wrong days (this place being closed Sunday and Monday) but then we remembered we can actually find out everything we need to know about this place on the world wide interweb which, much like the climax of the female of the species, was no further than a well trained flick of the finger away. We looked at a thing called a web-site, which in turn told us when this holy church of wood smoked goodness would be open, and in turn when barbecue Jesus (AKA Joel) would be turn his body into smoky, smoky brisket, ribs, pulled pork and hot links, and of course his blood into Coopers ale.
All of the good shit plus a little pulled pork

All of the good shit plus a little pulled pork


So, the aforementioned web-site told us that this holy place would be open for lunch on Saturday and the opportunity quickly presented itself so we got our asses and the asses of our children and even enlisted the asses of Jennee’s brother, Queenie, and his family for this evangelical smoky awakening.
My dinner plus beer and home made condiments... you know I love home made condiments

My dinner plus beer and home made condiments… you know I love home made condiments

That chicken... I ate some of that

That chicken… I ate some of that

There's the volcano nachos on the right... I think I ate some of them too

There’s the volcano nachos on the right… I think I ate some of them too


I have point-formed the heck out of my meaty experience just to make this whole thing manageable for myself…

• The brisket was so soft it was melting in my mouth and out of my face and dripping down onto my boobies… well I don’t have boobies but I do have some strange assed fantasies that’s for sure. I am pretty sure I was dribbling a little when I ate the brisket. This was hands down, ripped of and fricking replanted, the best piece of brisket I have ever eaten. Better than mine, better than yours, just damn good.
• The ribs made me feel a little special on the inside.
• The pulled pork with mustard sauce was moist and melty and a little awesomely tangy from the mustard sauce. Mustard sauce and my family are two things I truly love about this world.
• The house recipe hotlink with jalapeno and cheddar was fricking amazing. This was seriously one of the best snags I have put in my face in a long while; popping in my mouth, spurting its cheesy goodness, with just a hint of jalapeno and a whole heap of smokiness. I’m pretty sure that sentence had words in it that are not allowed to go together.
• The chicken tasted like chicken but better because it was covered with smokiness and still moist and delicious on the inside.
• The beans were smoky and had a suspiciously porky looking product in them so they were born to win.
• I was looking for more dressing on the salads, but it would also be true to say that I was certainly not there for the salads. The pickles and home made condiments more than made up for any issues I had there.

This is a place that you should make an effort to get to if you are even remotely into barbecued goodness and with-in range… and when I say “remotely into barbecued goodness” I mean you have a mouth and are any kind of omnivore/carnivore, and “with-in range” is clearly referring to someone who has a mouth and is any kind of omnivore/carnivore (that’s not a typo). Maybe just call ahead or check the interweb for opening hours. Yeah, do that.

JR’s Smokehouse Barbecue, 39-41 McLean St, Coolangatta, QLD