We chat to Brisbane’s slow cooked meat masters: Barbecue Mafia | Gourmand and Gourmet

We chat to Brisbane’s slow cooked meat masters: Barbecue Mafia

  • Food & Booze
How passionate are you about your BBQ? Enough to spend all your spare time sourcing the perfect cuts of meat, slow cooking them to tender perfection and competing against other BBQ masters for the title of the best? Three Brisbane blokes are – and they’re making carnivores all over town drool with their low and slow fare. The Barbecue Mafia, formed of Drew, Chris and Gareth, has been winning tastebuds everywhere with their brisket cheeseburgers, saucy ribs and juicy pulled pork, not to mention plenty of competitions. We had a chat to them about their favourite pastime – and just how they get that melt-in-your mouth perfection. Describe what it is you do so well in a sentence, and don’t be modest. We throw down damn good authentic wood smoked barbecue with a focus on simplicity as well as showcasing locally and ethically sourced meats and ingredients. How did the Barbecue Mafia come about? The Barbecue Mafia started the same way most competition barbecue teams start -with a few great mates who shared a love and passion for all things low ‘n’ slow who had too many beers one night. Seeing the reactions from people trying proper slow smoked barbecue drove us to take our passion to the next level and share what we love on a commercial level. What does a typical week at work involve for you, besides “Full on!” The Mafia life is not for the faint hearted! We all work full time jobs so all Mafia business and preparation for our cooks is conducted after hours. Our focus to deliver the best barbecue in town sees us spending many late nights sourcing only the freshest and best locally grown and hand made products from our custom baked rolls and bread to our butcher providing one off specialty cuts to help us create our visions. On event days we are up at 4am collecting all of our fresh ingredients and lighting the smoker ready to feed fellow barbecue lovers that night. 18 hour long days and no sleep are all a part of what we do to ensure our customers and friends receive only the highest quality food we can create. What has been your greatest challenge since starting Barbecue Mafia? Adjusting to coping with no sleep. That and trying not to put on too much weight when you have 45kg of smoked amazingness at your fingertips on a weekly basis. What is your proudest achievement to date? The Mafia placed 1st in the chicken category at the recent Australian Championships and took 6th place overall out of 90 odd teams. Oh, and we turned a vegetarian! What does the future hold for the Barbecue Mafia boys? We are taking everything as it comes at the moment. We are more focused on delivering the best possible barbecue we can and building a reputation for ourselves. We can promise you that everyone will be seeing a lot more of us around Brisbane and who knows, maybe one day soon there will be a new barbecue shack in town! Which, of all the delicious eats you create, is your favourite? That’s like asking a parent which is their favorite child. I’m not sure I can decide between our Rueben, Cuban or brisket cheeseburger! Are there any local producers or suppliers that are inspiring you at the moment? Our butcher and friend Meat at Billy’s is absolutely phenomenal. They not only inspire us but they are also a huge part in helping create our food. Their support goes far beyond supplying us meats. We also have to give a shout out to our barbecue brothers The Shank Brothers, those boys are definitely and inspiration to us too. Can you let us in on your best low and slow cooking tip? Temperature!! Too many times people ask us ‘how long do I cook this for?’. Cooking times are irrelevant when smoking, temperature is the single most important part of low ‘n’ slow, both the temperature of your cooker and the internal temperature of your meat. If you ensure both of those are correct and you are using good quality meat then you will produce high quality food! If you could cook for anyone in the world, who would you choose and what would you cook? Will Ferrell. I would knock up a few brisket cheeseburgers and pour a couple of beers. What do you think of Brisbane’s slow cooked barbecue scene? We are incredibly proud of the Brisbane low ‘n’ slow scene and how far it has come. It is an absolutely amazing community and we are all willing to help one another. The quality of barbecue coming from here was shown in the recent Australian Championships. If we took a peek in your fridges, what would we find? You probably won’t be expecting this, but a lot of fruit and vegies! A long with our staples of course: pickles, lots and lots of cheese, many opened bottles of sauces and of course plenty of delicious meats for the week. I’m sure you were expecting beer in there – but there isn’t. We keep that in kegs in the bar out the back. Where/what was the last great meal you ate in Brisbane (other than Barbecue Mafia)? I had some mouthwatering wagyu MBS 9+beef at Sono restaurant. Where do you think is Brisbane’s best kept foodie secret? This is going to be unexpected, but the Algester Bowls Club. I genuinely believe they have the best steaks in Brisbane! Barbecue Mafia | Around Brisbane  Image credit: Emotive Light Photo