If you want to have the fun of the fire, heat and smoke without having to go through the trouble of calling your mates and doing the groceries, these businesses have you covered.
One of the state’s most innovative barbecue experiences is situated out in Geelong, in regional Victoria, which means you’ll have to hop on a V/Line train to connect to your destination. There, you’ll find no menu, so you’ll be at the mercy of chef Aaron Turner, who focuses on local ingredients and everything’s cooked simply over a Tasmanian wood-burning grill. Expect a gourmet experience, with Yarra Valley Wagyu beef and abalone chargrilled perfectly. 2 Ryan Pl, Geelong; restaurantigni.com
The Woodhouse Restaurant
Bendigo, known as one of Victoria’s gold rush regions of the mid- 1800s, is now home to this Wagyu specialist. The farm-to-table-inspired Woodhouse Restaurant, led by owner and executive chef Paul Pitcher and his wife Danielle, offers only premium-grade Aussie beef and local vegetables — all chargrilled over red gum wood to an aromatic finish. The rest of its menu is big and adventurous and includes regional charcuterie, dry-aged beef and wood-fired pizzas. 101 Williamson St, Bendigo; thewoodhouse.com.au
This American barbecue joint is dead serious about its meats — Chef Chris Terlikar has outfitted his place with a USD30,000 (Php1.53 million) Ole Hickory wood-fired rotisserie smoker. The 1kg tomahawk steak smoked for 45 minutes and the homemade sausages are worth the calories. 124–126 Lygon St, Brunswick East; bluebonnetbbq.com.au
Off the Grid
Danish-born chef Bente Grysbaek spearheads an interesting concept where grill sessions pop up around regional Victoria. The Off the Grid experience is inspired by the everyday Aussie barbecue experience, but is also a slight departure from it — each juicy bite is going to be reminiscent of a tribute to nature and Bente’s Viking heritage. fb.com/bentegrysbaek; IG: @bente_grysbaek
An authentic Latin Americanstyle grill known as a parrilla — which concentrates searing heat and wood smoke during cooking — produces succulent entraña (hanger steak), morcilla (spiced black sausage) and more. 14 Meyers Pl, CBD; santelmo.com.au
Ask The Expert!
Q: Where’s the best spot for firing up my own barbecue in Melbourne?
Alexandra Avenue, Birrarung Marr, CBD: Grab a cooler, your favorite meats and head to the closest barbecue spot to the city. Host your little grill party, enjoy the city skyline views and stay for the beautiful sunset before rounding things off with a nice walk back into town.
Catani Gardens, St Kilda: The six-hectare garden in St Kilda is a nice venue for fresh fish and chips, and family-sized barbecues. Remember to look up from your meal to appreciate the greenery and surrounds.
Studley Park Boathouse and Picnic Area, Kew: Situated by the long and winding Yarra River, the Studley Park grounds are clean, quiet and reachable by a short walk from landmarks like Federation Square. If you have time, hire a kayak and get on the river before you start up the grill!
— Michelle Tchea, writer, local resident and foodie