As someone who has spent the last 6 years living here, I am often asked by students and parents about what Melbourne is ‘famous’ for. Now I know there’s the Melbourne Cup, the Grand Prix, the Australian Open and the Arts and Culture here in this fine city, but when you boil it all down to one single key factor of why people LOVE living in Melbourne so much, there is no doubt about it – Melbourne is Australia’s ‘Food’ city!
So on a beautiful sunny Spring day I took myself off to eat at “Fancy Hanks BBQ” at the Victoria Market to experience their version of American Style BBQ!
Now to most Australians, BBQ means hooking up the gas bottle and throwing a few sausages onto the hot-plate, but American BBQ-ing is a totally different experience. American style BBQ restaurants have taken Melbourne by storm and now there are new places springing up all over the city and inner-city suburbs. When you think American BBQ, think slow ‘n’ low!! Its all about the smoke! Cooking those tough (and in many cases cheaper) cuts of meat such as ribs and brisket, requires time and patience.
Walking into Fancy Hanks is like walking into an American Saloon Bar, wooden floors and heavy table top benches, this place couldn’t be further than your fine dining restaurants of downtown Melbourne. The centrepiece of Fancy Hanks is their 15 foot long, black, smoking pit barbecue, which sits on the balcony slowly smoking away. Virtually everything on the menu here spends the good part of 15-20 hours slowly cooking away inside this ominous looking beast of a BBQ!!
So with A4 paper menu in hand, my friend and I front up at the bar and place our order – the barman fitting the scene perfectly with his short hair and impressive full faced beard! We order brisket, smoked sausage, slowly cooked pulled pork and lamb ribs, for sides there are few choices, potato salad or coleslaw.
After a short wait, it arrives and we are in smokey-bbq heaven. Melt in your mouth brisket, tender is a word that cannot describe it. The pulled pork works well with the Cayenne Vinegarette, and the lamb ribs stand well on their own. Absolutely divine!
Located at the Victoria Market on Elizabeth Street, Fancy Hanks is perfect for an early dinner or even for lunch, but my advice, get in early as once they run out of that brisket and ribs, it’ll be a long 20 hours to wait for the next batch!
Are you hungry from looking at these succulent BBQ meat? Let’s have dinner together!