Meat. It's the one thing that's been missing from the Sydney Fish Market. Until now. The new Vic's Meat Market set-up is all set for carnivores, combining butchery and American smokehouse in a one-stop-shop. It's the latest venture by Victor and Anthony Puharich, the owners of Victor Churchill butchery in Woollahra.
Butcher at Vic's Meat Market
On the right hand side is the butchery. All the meats are on display with nary a parsley sprig nor fake grass to be seen. It's all grouped by beast - lamb at the front, moving onto beef, then wagyu and pork. Poultry (including cornfed chicken and trays of quail) and sausages round out the island counter.
Standing beef rib roast
At the back of the shop you can see them carving up whole beasts. The butchers in the main service area will happily trim or fillet the cuts you need.
Meat display counter
The open fridges on the right have whole cuts of beef, including grain fed and wagyu sirloins, tri-tips and scotch fillets. There's a whole section dedicated to barbecue tools, mustards, spice rubs and salts.
Beef short rib
Prices aren't exceedingly expensive either, especially given the quality of meat.
Beef marrow bones
Pork belly and chorizo skewers - you get to keep the double-pronged skewers
Kong's Cave serving smoked barbecue meat
Follow your nose to Kong's Cave on the left. You can enter via the front or the butchery. It's all about American barbecue, in a casual takeaway-style environment.
The menu is short and sweet, with the smoked wagyu cheeseburger only recently added to the regular offerings. Be warned: the cheeseburger isn't available every day. I've tried twice and been thwarted!
Kong, the Yoder Smoker
The hardworking but quiet star of the show is Kong, a two tonne offset smoker that was custom built for Vic's Meat Market in Kansas City. He's the largest custom smoker in Australia, with the capacity to hold 200kg of meat.
They use ironbark and apple wood here. No pellets or gas are used.
Assembling beef brisket and pulled pork sandwiches
The style of barbecue applied to each meat comes from all over the US. That means Carolina-style pulled pork and central Texas-style brisket.
The beef brisket is smoked for twelve hours, rubbed with a simple mix of salt and pepper.
Slicing the beef brisket
Watching the beef brisket being sliced is pretty magical.
Adding slaw to the beef brisket sandwich
Wrapping the beef brisket sandwich
Serving the smoked chicken wings
Service is canteen-style, like most of the barbecue joints in the US. Line up and place your order and it'll be plated up along the line until you reach the cash register. Soft drinks are all post-mix, including creaming soda and Dr Pepper.
Outdoor seating at Kong's Cave
Seating is casual, on the outdoor deck with high benches and metal stools.
Smoked chicken wings $8 for 4
The smoked chicken wings are a pretty good deal with $8 yielding you four full chicken wings. The skin has a paper dry quality from the smoker but there's a hint of smokiness in the succulent flesh. A tub of barbecue sauce is ideal for dipping.
Pulled pork sandwich $10
They use pork butts for the pulled pork, a cut that actually comes from the top part of the pork shoulder. The pork butts are brined for at least twelve hours and then smoked in the barbecue for ten hours with a brown sugar paprika rub. The pork is roughly chopped, piled into a soft bun with a mustard pickle slaw. It's tender and juicy.
Beef brisket sandwich $10
But it's hard to beat the beef brisket sandwich for gruntworthy satisfaction. Thick slabs of brisket threaten to melt in your mouth with a protein-heavy sigh.
Inside the beef brisket sandwich
Beef short rib with slaw and pickles $28
We go with the beef short rib too, a behemoth that prompted every passerby to stop and stare in wonder.
Beef short rib close-up
Our beef rib is underdone today, red at the bone and on the chewy side, but going by other experiences by friends it looks like we lucked out on a bad day by Kong. Everyone else reported beautifully cooked beef ribs that fell off the bone. We're hoping for better luck next time.
Half-rack pork ribs with slaw and pickles $25
I head in again on a subsequent visit, and when I sadly discover the smoked wagyu cheeseburger is unavailable, I go with the half rack of pork ribs instead. I'm glad I did.
Smoked pork rib
I'm no stranger to pork ribs, and this one's a beauty. There's a terrific meatiness to the ribs and the meat is wondrously juicy.
Pork rib close-up
I would have liked a little more smokiness, but there's enough of it that comes through. The ribs have a sticky sweetness, and the flesh comes clean off the bone.
Just like the beef rib, you score a bucket of dill and mustard slaw, jalapeno peppers, pickled red onion and a spicy pickle spear.
Wipe the South off Your Mouth
The serviette dispensers come with a sense of humour too, urging you to "wipe the south off your mouth." You might be able to wipe off that barbecue sauce, but I doubt you'll be able to wipe away that grin.
Vic's Meat Market
Sydney Fish Market
Corner Pyrmont Bridge Road and Bank St, Pyrmont, Sydney
(near the boom gates at the entrance to the car park)
Meat market open daily 8am-5pm
Kong's Cave barbecue open from 11am until sold out
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
American barbecue - Papi Chulo, Manly
American barbecue - The Oxford Tavern, Petersham
Smoked meat - LP's Quality Meats, Chippendale
Kansas City barbecue: Gates, Oklahoma Joe's and Arthur Bryant's
Texas barbecue - Franklin, Ruby's, Green Mesquite, Salt Lick and La Barbecue
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1/03/2015 10:01:00 pm