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Published February 22nd 2020
The Best American Barbecue in Perth?
The deckle on the steaming slice of beef brisket is marbled, rich and juicy while the flat has a more toothsome texture. Thankfully the heaving platter before me has a slab of both. Under a well peppered, savoury bark seasoned with charred spices and kissed with fragrant smoke, a layer of fat is rendered, succulent and glistening. There is a pink smoke ring; the hallmark of good slow-cooked barbecue and the brisket beneath is so fall-apart delicious that the recruitment of one's molars is optional.
It's late on a Thursday night, and Side Door Barbecue is busy. Enter the industrial-themed restaurant to the rear of 497-499 Beaufort Street, Highgate, and one is immediately greeted with brick walls, concrete, copper and shiny steel/aluminium textures. Ushered to a waiting table, a metal bowl, paint-chipped at the edges, is piled with a mound of caramel popcorn to nibble on while reading an A3 printed menu. To the side of the table, mounted on an iron rack, are homemade hot sauces, mustard, tomato sauce and a roll of paper towel, frayed edges fluttering slightly in the breeze. It's that kind of meal.
The pulled pork and chicken wings are juicy, tender and paired well with the hot sauces provided. A meaty chilli and cheese sausage has a pleasant snap and the welcome kick of spice. The sides are filling - cheesy, crunchy hush puppies, macaroni and cheese and cornbread adding a decadent starchy counterpoint to the strong smoky flavour of barbecue. Pickled red onion and lightly dressed, crunchy coleslaw provide a nice fresh contrast to the moreish, umami, layered flavours of the smoker barbecue and oven.
A variety of desserts are also on offer, ranging from Key Lime Pie to S'mores. Prices vary depending on the serve, but the three shared platters on offer are listed at the time of writing at $45, $79 and $165.
Goose Island IPA, a favourite from Chicago, Illinois