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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Surly's, Surry Hills

Smoked bbq pork spare rib at Surly's BBQ, Surry Hills

American bbq? Sydney still can't get enough. The newly opened Surly's combines a laidback American bar - complete with neon beer signs, bar stools and widescreen TVs - with a hearty rib-sticking bbq menu of smoked brisket, cornbread and fried chicken.

Surly's is the latest venture by the Parlour Group, the same group behind Riley Street Garage and The Stuffed Beaver. In the kitchen is Brendhan Bennison, a bonafide Southerner who's keen to serve up the best barbecue from across the USA.

Fried chicken with potato salad at Surly's BBQ, Surry Hills
Fried chicken with potato salad $14
Three pieces with choice of side

The menu is huge. We're talking bacon cheese fries, buffalo wings, a whole deep-fried battered onion and tortilla chips with chilli con carne - and that's just the starters. A philly cheesesteak is a welcome sight and there's a nod too to fusion food with a smoked pork shoulder banh mi. The Surly beef burger is a modest $13 and there's also a veggie burger, "for all you whining hippies" the menu says.

It's no surprise that we order the fried chicken, three pieces of on-the-bone chicken that sadly comes with a thick - and somewhat undercooked - batter. We get the potato salad as our included side, reminiscent of Japanese potato salads with its slightly smashed cubes mixed with carrots and peas.

Smoked beef brisket bbq plate with cornbread at Surly's BBQ, Surry Hills
Beef brisket bbq plate $19 
(your choice of two sides with homemade cornbread)

The American barbecue plates don't kick off until dinner time, somewhere between 5pm and 6pm. There's pulled pork and chicken thighs available but we zero in the beef brisket. We score four thick slices of meat piled into a basket with onions, pickles and cornbread. The brisket isn't as fatty as we're secretly hoping but there's some good smokiness in the skin. It's a DIY job with the barbecue sauce bottles on each table. I prefer smoky barbecue sauce over the chipotle variation, dunking the brisket generously into great big puddles it.

Green beans and bbq beans at Surly's BBQ, Surry Hills
Green beans and BBQ beans

We go with the two different beans as sides to our brisket. The barbecue beans have a hearty meatiness, and the green beans are the palate-cleansing veggie quota you need between mouthfuls of meat.

Smoked bbq pork spare rib at Surly's BBQ, Surry Hills
Pork spare rib bbq plate with coleslaw and mac 'n' cheese $20
(your choice of two sides with homemade cornbread)

Pork spare ribs win out over beef ribs when we place our order. It's a well-rewarded decision, scoring two ribs that are the picture of juicy pink. Our side of coleslaw is a zingy combo of red cabbage and carrot; the mac 'n' cheese brings back memories of the Kraft blue box from our childhood. The macaroni elbows are drenched in a thick and salty cheese sauce.

But the pork rib. Oh boy. The meat comes clean away from the bone, there's a generous layer fat between the meat and the skin, and the smokiness is mellow and lingering.

The vibe is relaxed and casual, and they have a load of craft beers on tap. All that's missing is a pecan pie for dessert. Then we'd totally be set.

Surly's BBQ, Surry Hills

Surly's on Urbanspoon

182 Campbell Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9331 3705

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 12 midday to 12 midnight

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
American BBQ - Papi Chulo, Manly
American BBQ - Oxford Tavern, Petersham
20 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 4/25/2015 12:59:00 am


  • At 4/25/2015 8:14 am, Anonymous john | heneedsfood said…

    Just when you think we may be at saturation point with American bbq, another one pops up. That fried chicken does look mighty fine!

  • At 4/25/2015 11:10 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    Oh man! The more smoked bbq meats in Sydney the better! Love it when mac & cheese brings back kraft cheese as a kid! I need to try them pork ribs.

  • At 4/25/2015 11:06 pm, Anonymous Sara | Belly Rumbles said…

    When I first heard of Surly's I instantly thought of that Simpson's character. You know the not happy Duff Beer character.

    The chook looks good.

  • At 4/26/2015 2:50 am, Anonymous Martine @ Chompchomp said…

    I find it so cute (and some what frustrating) that by the time a food trends is hot to trot in Sydney, Perth is only just starting to get into it....its a little embarrassing to be so behind the times! We are just starting to see these US styled meat fests and despite knowing how unhealthy it all is...they are damn good!

  • At 4/26/2015 11:47 am, Blogger gaby @ lateraleating said…

    Yes! We need more of these in Sydney!

  • At 4/26/2015 12:24 pm, Anonymous Gareth said…

    Slow cooked bbq brisket is fantastic, bursting with flavour. Be interested in how they smoke their meat. Do you know if it's hot smoked Helen?

  • At 4/26/2015 5:39 pm, Anonymous Laura said…

    Wow a whole deep fried onion - that sounds tempting, just to say I've tried it. Love slow cooked meats so this place looks like a winner - if only the Harbour Bridge wasn't in the way......

  • At 4/26/2015 5:43 pm, Anonymous The Food Sage said…

    Sounds like a great find. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction … I'll check it out when I'm in the neighbourhood.

  • At 4/26/2015 9:41 pm, Anonymous Cindy (a foodie's joy) said…

    I wouldn't mind trying the fried chicken!

  • At 4/27/2015 9:39 am, Anonymous Bianca@forfoodssake said…

    I'd be keen to check out the Philly cheesesteak. I'm also a sucker for brisket!! Shame the chicken was a little disappointing.

  • At 4/27/2015 2:12 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Two pork ribs for $20? I can see there are sides but still ... Someone's having a lend.

  • At 4/28/2015 1:20 am, Blogger CQUEK said…

    great i love to have the fried chicken too

  • At 4/28/2015 6:55 am, Anonymous Hotly Spiced said…

    Shame about the batter on the chicken. I do love the sound of the pork rib. And I'm seeing a lot more brisket being served these days - a few years ago you'd never see it on any menu xx

  • At 4/28/2015 11:53 am, Anonymous Noodleboy said…

    Hey Helen, congrats on getting your Cheap Eats 2015 piece published in SMH today : ) Nice to see you getting more and more widely recognised for the great food writer you are.

  • At 4/28/2015 9:33 pm, Blogger Vivian - vxdollface said…

    omg YES! I hope it's a proper philly cheesesteak! I love that they serve it with potato salad ^^

  • At 4/30/2015 6:49 pm, Anonymous Gourmet Getaways said…

    Love their logo! And will definitely love those soft, tasty looking pork ribs...POOORRRKKK!!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  • At 5/01/2015 7:11 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    what are all the American BBQ places in Sydney?

  • At 5/02/2015 8:03 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    Ooh, American BBQ is huge in Melbourne too! :)

    Thos pork ribs!!!!!!!!! They look amazing!

  • At 5/03/2015 6:12 pm, Blogger Annie said…

    so good to see more American BBQ joints opening in Sydney lately. the meat platters looked very appetising. shame about the fried chicken tho :(

  • At 5/11/2015 9:21 pm, Anonymous Amanda @ Gourmanda said…

    Pity about the fried chicken, but the ribs look pretty incredible!


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