American style BBQ a big winner
AMERICAN style barbecue cuisine is a big hit right now and a new restaurant at Springfield Lakes is taking the experience to a whole new level.
Located at the bottom of the Springfield Lakes Hotel, the BLVD Restaurant BBQ is owned by chef Josh Lawson and managed by James McDermott.
The duo, formerly at iconic Toowong restaurant Two Small Rooms, bring an unmatched passion to their craft that is being noticed by Ipswich patrons.
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"I've always done fine dining, but I've always cooked this American barbecue style of food on weekends and for friends," Lawson says.
"I've always loved lighting fires and the natural side of cooking, rather than just turning on a gas burner and going for it.
"That has always seemed to me to be the most authentic way to do it."
Lawson, a chef for 13 years, came to Springfield Lakes with the idea of opening what he called "a semi-classy place" but soon realised there was a better way to go.
So he tried out the American barbecue style menu and filled out a triple-sitting lunch and a double-sitting dinner.
"We got a couple more smokers and decided to do that whole American style out here, and do it right by wood smoking all the meats," he says.
The smokers are of the highest quality and imported from Kansas City in the US, the heartland of the modern barbecue movement.
The Kansas City Barbecue Society regulates the biggest barbecue competitions in the world and would no doubt be impressed by Lawson's attention to detail.
"We got the Yoder smokers straight from Kansas.
"They have been making them for over 100 years," he says.
"Their grandfathers' grandfathers' grandfathers have been making them, so they know what they are doing.
"They are solid steel, that's it."
Cooking with the smokers brings out the flavours of the meat in spectacular fashion.
"The benefit of cooking with that style is that you don't have to use the premium fillets," Lawson says.
"You use the fats and sinews from lesser cut meat to bring out its natural flavour.
"The smoke does a huge job of that."
What started as a preserving method has now been adapted as a flavour enhancer of food.
"We use beef ribs, which are probably our biggest seller, and pork ribs, shoulders and necks," Lawson adds.
"We do whole chickens and sausages.
"The flavour it imparts is authentic.
"You can't fake it.
"You can buy smoke-flavoured barbecue sauces, but you can't compare that to the real wood-smoked flavour."
The style of food prepared by the restaurant has been embraced by customers with loyal regulars coming back for more.
There are many restaurants now offering the American barbecue style, but Lawson is proud of the genuine way his restaurant has embraced the theme.
"There is no way to speed up what we do," he says
"You can't rush a 24-hour cooked pork shoulder.
"It is more time consuming, and you have to put more passion in than any fine dining restaurant I have worked in."
A passion for this style of cooking has been with Lawson since his younger days.
"I have always just enjoyed the flavour this style brings," he says.
"Being a chef, if I was off on a Sunday I could start cooking at 5am or 6am and have friends around for dinner at 6pm and it is ready fresh off the smoker.
"You get to enjoy a full day of that process.
"It is an incredible way to cook and it becomes a day with your friends or family.
"It is a really good together experience, to split wood, light the fire, season the meat, smoke it and watch it.
"It is also a real authentic experience, from the product being a whole cut of meat right down to a slice of something smoked, while making sure it has been cared for all the way through."
On Sundays the restaurant has specials with cheaper beers from 11am-4pm where they test out their specials for the week such as brisket fries, Philadelphia cheese steaks and a variety of burgers, hot dogs and pizzas such as the brisket pizza with jalapeno jelly and sour cream.
On Mondays the restaurant will do barbecue banquet dinners that is a set $25.90 price for two courses.
That includes three entrées and a shared smoked barbecue platter that comes with coleslaw, fries and a salad.
Lawson also offers cooking classes which cost $40 and includes food and beers and a lesson in the art of barbecuing and smoking meats.
The restaurant's Facebook page has all the details for when they will be on, with the next one on April 18.
Breakfast is 7am-11am week days and 8am-11am on weekends. Lunch is 11am-3pm, daily. After bar snacks are then available. Dinner is 5pm till late, daily.