Heading to the Mornington Peninsula for a little getaway? Look no further than Red Gum BBQ for an amazing feast for lunch or dinner. Founded by the husband-and-wife team of Martin and Melissa Goffin, Red Gum BBQ is a must-visit destination for Southern-style barbecue in Melbourne.
Martin’s passion for high-quality American BBQ, with enticing slow-cooked meat and homemade barbecue sauce, became a reality with the launch of Red Gum BBQ in October 2013. They started by regularly attending markets and events throughout the Mornington Peninsula with a marquee, trailer, and a Texas offset smoker in tow. The American-style travelling BBQ became a fascination amongst locals, inspiring the Red Gum team to turn their dream of opening a restaurant/smokehouse into a reality.
In 2016, Martin and Melissa finally found a place to call their own. A 900sqm space that was a previous mechanic for trucks. The space was converted into the barn-style, smokehouse, Red Gum BBQ calls home today. Red Gum BBQ has been a favourite spot for BBQ lovers since its opening, serving up an authentic American-style, traditional BBQ.
Red Gum’s large semi-industrial space was once a truck mechanics warehouse, but it now has a warm and friendly atmosphere with large communal tables and the lingering smell of slow-cooked meats. The star of the show is a large offset smoker named Big Red, imported from Texas and fuelled exclusively by locally sourced red gum. This gives the meat a cleaner flavour than the hickory and mesquite used in the States.
The restaurant’s menu features a variety of meats, including free-range pulled pork sourced from Borrowdale in Queensland, Riverina beef brisket, Bannockburn chickens, and house-made cheese and jalapeño sausages. Each cut is priced by weight, and diners can see what’s available on the display behind the recycled timber bar. And no barbecue meal is complete without a good hot sauce: Red Gum BBQ has three varieties available on every table.
Pulled pork, beef brisket, beef or pork ribs and chicken are the main meats to choose from, the prices vary depending on the market price at that particular time but the sides tend to stay put. There’s an array of delicious sides, ranging from Bean Chilli to Mac n Cheese or a Broccoli Salad if you’re after a healthier option. Behind the bar, Red Gum BBQ offers ten taps with beers from local breweries such as Jetty Road Brewery and Mr Banks. There are also local wines and a house-made watermelon sangria that’s perfect for hot days.
In addition to the meats, the restaurant serves up classic barbecue sides such as cornbread and mac ‘n’ cheese. One standout dish is the mayo-based coleslaw, although some may find it a little too sweet for their tastes. The mac and cheese, on the other hand, is pitch-perfect, with a creamy, gooey, and cheesy texture.
What sets Red Gum BBQ apart from other American-style barbecue joints is its commitment to staying true to its Australian roots. The use of Australian red gum wood gives the meat a unique flavour that you won’t find elsewhere, and the Goffins have avoided the overly hokey Americanised décor and branding that is so prevalent in other barbecue restaurants.
On our first visit to Red Gum, we weren’t too sure what to expect. The restaurant/smokehouse is on Arthurs Seat Road in Red Hill, tucked away behind a service station. From the moment we walked through the doors, we knew we were in for a great experience. The atmosphere is great, the food is amazing with great beer and service to follow. Whether you’re a barbecue aficionado or simply looking for a place to enjoy a delicious meal with family and friends, Red Gum BBQ is the perfect destination. The combination of mouth-watering slow-cooked meats, homemade barbecue sauce, and a wide selection of sides makes for an unforgettable dining experience. Not to mention the craft beers served in mason jars and the friendly and attentive service provided by the staff.
In conclusion, Red Gum BBQ is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for authentic American-style barbecue in Melbourne. The passion of owner Martin Goffin for high-quality slow-cooked meat is evident in every bite, and the use of Australian red gum wood gives the meat a unique and delicious flavour. The atmosphere of the restaurant is warm and welcoming, with large communal tables and a family-friendly section for kids. The range of craft beers in mason jars and homemade barbecue sauces are just the cherry on top of a fantastic dining experience. So if you’re ever on the Mornington Peninsula or in Melbourne, be sure to stop by Red Gum BBQ for a feast to remember.