Posts Tagged ‘ribs’

So with Dad down from Cairns for the weekend we all decided that a family catch up for a drink and a meal somewhere was in order. Of course getting my family to organise anything is a chore – the selected venue needed to be between my sister Jo’s place, my brother Christopher’s place and my place. Sounds difficult but if you triangulate all of that you get Chapel street! Taz and Fil were in for the catch up as well so we had quite a few mouths to feed – making things even more difficult to organise. I figured a drink first might help sort things out, so we organised to meet at Bridie O’Reilly’s. I almost suggested just eating at the pub but the others weren’t too keen, everyone had a different idea regarding food, but once Jo and I remembered that Third Wave have another place in Prahran, the deal was done and a booking made. It looked like BBQ was on the cards! Having been to the Port Melbourne version of Third Wave only a couple of days before, I decided that I was going to try something different on the menu – even though I knew their burger was pretty filling and rather tasty.

This time around we all ordered a couple of starters – I got the pulled pork sliders, there was some candied bacon and some wings going around – everyone was pretty hungry, and pretty happy with the starters. I’d order the sliders again – they were very good.

Pulled pork sliders - not bad.

Pulled pork sliders – not bad. Smokey pulled pork in a sweet brioche slider bun, sharp pickle and a refreshing coleslaw. 7.5/10

Next we come to the mains –  I really wanted BBQ – so I shared a large brisket with Jo, Christopher and Fil shared some beef ribs and Dad and Taz both ordered the Rubens. We probably went a little overboard on the sides – lots of Mac and cheese, chips and coleslaw. No one was going home hungry tonight.

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The brisket (Large $42) was ok, I found the serving size a bit smaller than I was expecting for the price – you wouldn’t want to share it with two hungry blokes, but the flavours were good. It needed a bit more fat as it had dried out a bit. The beef ribs (Large $44) were very good, although again, for the price, I’d want more. Fil and Christopher bit enjoyed the ribs , but felt they had had better for the price. Dad wasn’t all that impressed with his Ruben – which he quite rightly pointed out should have been corned beef not smoked brisket. But then it did say that on the menu… I guess sometimes when restaurants take a traditional dish and then do a new take on it – that’s non-traditional – they should make a bigger point of the difference, otherwise diners might have an expectation of what they will be getting, and then get disappointed when they don’t get it. Or Dad should just have read the menu…

We were the last people there but a fair magin, the waiters were cleaning up in the background, but they didn’t hurry us at all -It was nice to be able to digest all that food without feeling like we were being pushed out the door. The waiter even suggested dessert when it was clear we were going to be a while – Which Jo took them up on. Jo felt the dessert here was nowhere near as good as it had been in Port Melbourne which was a shame however. Overall, I think I prefer the Port Melbourne venue, just based on the ambiance. The Prahran venue is in a weird location and is far too brightly lit – it feels much more a café, and more a place you would dine at during breakfast/lunch than a dinner place. Still – both places are pretty good and serve pretty darn good American style BBQ. There’s not a whole lot of options for good BBQ in Australia – not a bad place if you are in the area.

Third Wave on Urbanspoon

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Sometimes in life things just take a turn for the best when you least expect it. Tonight was one of those occasions. Monday night is usually trivia night if I can get the team together. However, it was Katie’s first day back at work and she was tired and pulled the pin. Then, when I tried to book for the rest of the team I find out that it’s fully booked and we “might” be able to get a seat at the bar if we are lucky. Things didn’t seem to be working out, but then I got the idea that we should head out for a burger as a team… Ok, so I don’t need an excuse for a burger – thankfully the rest of the team were on board with the idea and so off we went to the selected destination. Only problem was that the first selected destination just happened to have a sign up that said – closed on Monday 15th September for repairs or something. Which would have been fine except it was Monday 15th September… Damn – I had the team looking at me with what can only be described as distain. Also, my sister Jo was becoming “Hangry” a word she made up – meaning hungry and angry… This might give you some indication with the crowd I was dealing with. Thankfully on the drive down Glen Huntly rd. I had spied a sign that read ribs. With nothing more to go on, I suggested that we move quickly towards this options. Self preservation mode was kicking in. Jo was definitely looking “Hangry”… Unfortunately my memory of the distance to the sign with ribs probably wasn’t spot on and the walk was a little further than I had recalled. The team were looking at me with more than distain at this stage… On arrival the place looked a little smaller than I recalled – by smaller I mean, this is a take away place with a couple of seats up against the wall and the window. Most of these seats were occupied… The team of 6, Dave, Chris, Taz, Ben and Jo all gave me “that” look. I was sweating now. I could only hope the burger here was edible. The $12 price tag was a little on the cheap side so I wasn’t holding my breath.

But then things began to look up – the guys at the window finished and left – there was space now for us to sit. Dave then suggested that we share a half rack of pork ribs – I’m not going to say no to ribs, it’s just down right rude. Once we had gone through the ordering process we all sat down and waited. From our vantage point we were perfectly located to watch as the grill master weaved his magic – Chris and I studiously watched as the chef flipped out the patties onto the flaming grill and then basted and seasoned the patties. Off to the side the ribs roasted above the charcoal and the brioche buns warmed above the oven. It was great to see the cheese go down on top, and melt enticingly over each patty, finally being placed over the grill in a warm spot to allow the meat to rest – it’s care like this really makes a difference to the end product.

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Each member except for Ben ordered a Burger – they come standard as a 180grm patty, Brioche bun,  cheese, mix lettuce, tomato and “rack sauce” – $12 + $3 for a generous serving of chips. Dave and I shared the half rack of pork ribs which were $22 – to be honest I’d like to see the pig these come from because half rack – come on, more like full rack – it was very a generous serving, or a bloody big pig…

So on to the burger – first thing first – it looks great. The bun is a standard light brioche style (apparently from Dench bakers), nicely toasted over the charcoal grill, soft and warm. The patty is juicy and delicious – it benefits from the flame grill fro that smokey grill not,e and the basting for added moisture. I’d say there’s a good ratio of fat to beef as even though it’s cooked though, it’s still quite juicy. The melted cheese encases the beef to keep the flavour in. The sauce is quite interesting – there’s quite a bit of it, so do expect this to be an elegant burger to eat – not a first date meal as my cousin Megs would say. There’s certainly a mayo base with a slight sharpness there as well, works to cut through the smokiness from the grill and the richness of the beef – this burger is well balanced. The tomato and lettuce add the necessary freshness and texture. Oh, I should probably mention the ribs – although only Dave, Chris and I  had any, and Chris got lucky because Dave shared one while I wasn’t looking – The ribs are good, no doubt about it, and not expensive either $22 for a large half rack. They were falling off the bone and had a lovely sticky BBQ sauce. I have to be honest, I like mine a bit smokier, but other than that there’s not much to fault (Perhaps a bit more sauce??) –  At the end of the day I’ve  had better ribs (It’s hard to compare to Texas 24hr pit cooked ribs – so I wont), but not by much and not at that price point in Australia.

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By the end of the meal my trivia mates were no longer looking at me like I had Ebola. Smiles all round, the “this is a tasty burger grin” from ear to ear was obvious for all to see. We struck up a conversation with the Chef after the meal and both Chris and I had the suggestion that perhaps some sort of “McRib” style burger would work. The guy actually told us that they do have one they call the Sow and Cow, a normal burger with added rib meat. However it’s not on the menu because it’s considered a bit too expensive. It was at this point that Chris became violently disposed towards the guy for holding out on us – how unfair that we only find out about this amazing burger creation until after we finished eating. I guess we’ll just have to come back now – first world problems… When I enquired about what was too expensive the guy sheepishly told me. Yep you’ll be shocked too – I’d say guess, but since this a conversation in writing you can skip ahead so it really doesn’t work in this format, but humour me. Nope, not $25, haha, no, not $30, it’s $16 – are you serious. wow, this guy must be from the 80’s, or possibly unaware of the concept of inflation. $16 for an amazing beef and rib combo burger of this quality is insanely cheap. $20 would be cheap. Anyway, if you live in the area you have to give this place a go. I give the standard Racks burger a 8.5 – it’s almost a 9. There’s no mistaking it, this burger is up there. I’m sure if you add rib meat to it will only get better!

Racks Ribs Co. on Urbanspoon

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Gee I love ribs – I mean I really love ribs! Unfortunately it’s so hard to get good ribs in Australia. After returning from a BBQ tour in Texas, just around Austin, I had thought about doing a blog hunt focused on ribs in Melbourne. However, I realised pretty quickly that it would simply be expensive disappointment after expensive disappointment. But I tell you what – If I had started off with Joe’s then I might just have been convinced to give it a shot. As you can see from the lovely photo taken by Jo (My sister Jo that is), the Ribs look pretty darn good here. I mean, you know it’s got to be good when you get hit in the face with a strong smell of BBQ wood smoke if you walk near the kitchen… Anyway, I should mention that this was actually an official burger hunt mission, Jo and Katie had kindly offered to lend their support and culinary expertise to the hunt. Joe’s Bar and Dining Hall had been in the back of my mind for a while so the call was made to give St Kilda a try after to so much focus north of the city. Jo and I had met up early and had sampled a few cold beverages along Ackland street – Jo was particular impressed with the $10 Espresso Martini at the Vineyard bar. Katie had agreed to meet us at the restaurant a little later, so Jo and I ordered a round of buffalo wings to begin with. Word of advice on the wings – ignore the waiters friendly advice that 12 is enough, 12 is never enough, go the 16 delicious smoked and spicy wings for $19. I mean, sure 12 might have been ok if Katie hadn’t arrive while there were still wings left and then we had to share them. I probably liked these wings more than the wings at the Collection.I loved the fact that they were smoked first – just added a lovely Smokey note that cut through the spicy/sharp buffalo wing sauce. The dipping sauce that came with the wings was delicious as well. Next we ordered the mains – Jo got a full rack of ribs ($38) (she wanted the half rack – but I convinced her otherwise!), and Katie and I ordered the Burger Royale ($13). None of the mains come with sides so we got some curly fries ($6) and some sweet potato fries ($8). Both sides were really good, the sweet potato fries came with the same dipping sauce as the wings which really worked well.

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Ok, so I really should address the burgers – I mean it was an official Burger hunt mission. First up, let me make this clear – if you go to Joes, get the ribs. They are amazing! Thankfully I had about half of Jo’s ribs, thanks Sis! The Burger Royale comes with smoked bacon, caramelised onion, cheese, lettuce, pickles, mustard and BBQ sauce. At $13 it’s reasonably cheap, however when it arrive I realised why – it’s one of those “smaller” sized burgers, what I call that annoying size between a slider and a real burger. Don’t order the burger if you’re hungry – or make sure you have a big side of the wings… Anyway, so the burger is framed by a nice brioche style bun, soft and spongy, the slight sweetness works really well with the BBQ sauce. The pattie is nothing out of the ordinary, good, not great. It does the job, a nice beefy flavour, juicy and cooked well. The one problem I have with the burger apart from the size is the fact that they over use the caramelised onions. There’s just too much of the onions and so they overpower the burger and you don’t get full value out of the other elements. I didn’t really get a lot of the smokey bacon coming though, nor did I really get much out of the cheese. The lettuce did the job of freshening up the whole thing, and the pickles added some sharpness to cut through all the sweet flavours that were coming through. Overall, a nice burger, but let’s be honest – if you come to Joes, you’re here for the ribs and wings and not the burgers. I’d give it a 7.

Joe's Bar and Dining Hall on Urbanspoon