“When you’re thinking about what cut of meat to smoke, you have to think about the roots of BBQ,” says Merivale Chef Patrick Freisen. “Briskets, beef ribs, pork ribs, and pork butts became very popular due to the fact they were cheap, yet there was a bit of alchemy to slow cooking them over a wood fire.
“Lamb ribs are in abundance in Australia and in the past they were used as dog food as nobody wanted to deal with trimming the fat off and slow cooking. But when you BBQ lamb ribs, the fat renders out and you are left with mouth-watering, tender lamb and the gaminess of the lamb pairs well with wood smoke.”
Friesen also likes to use pork shoulders, pork ribs, pork bellies, pork jowl, beef ribs, beef brisket, beef tri-tip, turkey legs, as well as all types of fatty fish, even eel.
Apart from brisket at Chris Terlikar’s North Fitzroy restaurant and bar, Bluebonnet there is beef cheek, pulled pork and baby back ribs on offer from his smoker, plus an oak-smoked chicken and jackfruit for the vegetarians.
Sydney’s LP’s Quality Meats applies the smoking technique to pork belly for bacon, pork leg for ham and custom-made sausage but the triumph is Bologna-style cold cut pork sausage studded with pork back fat and pistachio smoked over ironbark.