When a global pandemic forced Lee and Ross Willson to close Beardy’s Bar and Kitchen to dine-in customers, the pair saw an opportunity to diversify their business.
Like many other venues, they offered takeaway-only, but Lee also hit the tools crafting a smoker with a mate that has now added a whole new dimension to their menu.
It took three months, but it worked and after a period of testing, Lee quietly fired it up a couple of months ago.
“We started with tentative cooks and didn’t tell anyone we were doing it,” he explains.
It gave him the chance to perfect marinades and cooking styles, ensuring the end result was top-notch before asking his customers to try the end product.
Lee’s been experimenting with flavours, cuts of meat and is having a ball. His latest creation involves a chilli and chocolate glaze.
There’s brisket on Thursdays, beef ribs on Fridays and pork ribs on Saturdays.
They make their own potato salad and slaw to go with it. They even pickle their own cucumbers.
The process starts at 2.30am, when Lee lights the fire and gives it about two hours to settle before adding the meat. It’s timed perfectly to be ready when customers arrive.
“It’s a beautiful time of the morning, getting down here and getting the fire started. There’s a sense of satisfaction when you get it going,” he says.
“The first week we did it, it was so popular, we ran out of meat.”
Lee says their spicy barbecue sauce, burgers and food from the grill are a winning combination for anyone who has over-indulged.
He’s “stoked and chuffed” with the win.
“We’re so thankful to our customers – they supported us right through the lockdown when there was no dining in. And we had a lot of support through the Forkies. We’re doing what we do- hiring local and buying local,” Lee says.
“We’re trying to do what we can for the community. The money stays here.
“We’ll keep making fresh food and trying new things. We just want to keep cruising along and trying new things.”
Beardy’s Bar and Kitchen is at 405 Elizabeth Ave, Clontarf. Visit the website for more