Meat. If the words low and slow, barbecue and smoke just made your pupils dilate, you're in the right place. It's carnivore heaven at Bovine & Swine, where the air is heavy with the smell of smoked meat. American barbecue might be the latest trend all over Sydney, but this barbecue pit is no lightweight. Manning the barbecues from 5am every morning are Wes Griffiths and Anton Hughes, both most recently seen at Vic's Meats. The third partner in this venture is Tim Chillingworth, owner of Newtown vintage clothing store, Faster Pussycat.
Co-owner and pitmaster, Anton Hughes
Enmore and Newtown might be the darling of vegan, vegetarian and raw food restaurants, but the solid queues at Bovine & Swine every night prove there's still a healthy contingent of local meat lovers too. We turn up at 5.55pm on a Sunday (they open at 6pm) to find a queue of over 25 people already waiting in line.
Co-owner and pitmaster, Wes Griffiths
The queue shuffles forward slowly. "Is it like this all the time?" a man in the line asks hungrily. "It's like this every night" says the local in front of him, sighing deeply.
Please Order Here - with a view of the handmade offset smoker behind
About an hour later, we finally reach the front of the queue. It's sandwiches only at lunchtime (brisket or chopped pork with slaw) but the menu expands to include everything at dinner. That means brisket, chopped pork, chicken, pork rib, hot link sausages and beef short ribs by 100gram increments. The beef short ribs tend to weigh 400-500grams each.
You can order the meat plates for one or two people or make up your own combo of meat and sides. The plate for one is $35 and includes 200g of any two meats and one side; the plate for two costs $60 and includes 200g of any three meats and two sides.
Brisket $9 per 100 grams
Today pitmaster Wes Griffiths is at the chopping block, slicing each cut of meat to order. Anton Hughes packs the sides. They'll swap duties day to day. Every second person seems to be having a chat with both. When diners leave, Wes and Anton give a cheery wave.
Hot links $9 per 100 grams
But when the meat has taken this long to cook, you can see why they're not afraid to take their time with each order. Carving the meat fresh means everything is still hot and juicy.
Wes chopping up pork
The chopped pork takes the longest time. You can hear the clang of the cleaver even from the queue around the corner, as Wes attacks the barbecued pork in a frenzy. The meat itself looks fatty and soft already, falling apart with ease.
Adding Carolina sauce to the chopped pork
Wes then adds a generous squirt of Carolina sauce, a homemade vinegar-based barbecue sauce. It's massaged through gently until every morsel of pork is smothered.
Beef short rib
It's worth arriving early if you're after the beef short rib. Quantities vary, but generally they'll only cook three racks - that's 15 ribs - per day.
Wes slicing into the beef short rib
We pressed our noses up to the window watching Wes slice into these beef short ribs. It's an "angels singing" kinda moment.
1.9kg of beef short rib
And because you can never have too much of a good thing, we ordered three beef short ribs. Each one weighed a massive 630 grams.
Meat plate for two: Three x 200gram meat and two sides $60
600grams brisket and burnt ends with mac 'n' cheese and beans
Seating is limited at Bovine & Swine so we elected for takeaway. The indoor dining area has two communal tables seating 10 people at each while two outdoor tables seat a total of twelve. That's a maximum capacity of 32 people although we noticed that people tend to eat quickly and move on. The indoor dining area is quite warm and stuffy from the barbecues - the fan in the kitchen doesn't really reach the diners.
Eating takeway means we get to sit down and relax, and when it comes to this much meat, you need plenty of time to digest. Our first meat plate is all brisket. The beef brisket slices are soft and juicy with a noticeable smokiness. A tumble of burnt ends are even smokier, all blackened edges for maximum flavour, yet impressively resistant from dryness. They use Australian ironbark here, a native hardwood that is known for its slow but intense burn rate.
Meat plate for two: Three x 200gram meat and two sides $60
400grams chopped pork and hot links with mac 'n' cheese and pickles
Our other plate is a mountain of chopped pork, so far removed from the bland and mushy pulled pork littered across the city. The slow cooked pork shoulder still has some texture to it, roughly chopped so each mouthful is interspersed with treasures of pork fat.
The hot links are a winner too, plump and shiny sausages that are squeaky with fat and generously spiced, with welcome pops of heat from jalapeno.
Our mac 'n' cheese delivers on the cheese factor, the beans are hearty if a touch undercooked, and the pickles are refreshing although surprisingly sweet.
I'm all over the barbecue sauce, slathering it on everything. Apart from missing out on the brown paper lined tray, we do notice that takeaway servings seem to miss out on potato crisps and extra pickles.
Beef short ribs $171 for three ribs totalling 1.9kg ($90 per kilo)
And then those beef short ribs. Photos don't really do its size justice. I end up slicing each rib into six generous chunks. Do I need to mention that the meat comes clean off the bone?
Beef short ribs
The smoke ring gives you some clue to the awesomeness of these. You can taste traces of coffee in the spice rub across the top, but most of it has mellowed with sweet and smoky caramelisation. The meat itself is ridiculously good - you can feel the fat coursing out from each fibre and hitting your tastebuds.
It's intense. Take your time. You'll need it.
Hakiki Turkish ice cream tub $20
Turkish coffee; roasted pistachio, fig and caramel; and chocolate and walnut
And for dessert? A tub of Turkish ice cream from Hakiki, across the road from Bovine & Swine. That chewy dairy deliciousness is just the kind of closure you need.
There's no doubt this is currently one of Sydney's best spots for American barbecue. Go with a small group, come armed with an appetite and arrive at 5.30pm and join the queue.
Bovine & Swine Barbecue Company
92 Enmore Road, Enmore, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9517 1243
Lunch Saturday and Sunday from 12 midday until sold out
Dinner Wednesday to Sunday
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1/11/2016 01:27:00 am