If you are a meat-lover, you will no doubt have heard of Smokey Moo. American-style low and slow BBQ is catching on, and more options are popping up. Smokey Moo opened at Newstead’s Gasworks Plaza in 2020, but was running a couple of years before that in East Brisbane.
We had intended to try it out a couple of months ago, but the COVID restrictions to restaurant capacity meant that it was already at limit when we stopped by. Taking that as an indication of popularity, we made a booking to visit with a larger group instead.
Smokey Moo is one of the restaurants located around the heritage-listed gas ring, just about at the end of the arc of Gasworks Plaza around it. You will see the tables outside before you see the restaurant signage – that is visible only as you approach it from the front, and if you look up.
There is a standing menu board at the front so you can look at the food options before going in though, so you can confirm your decision to eat there, or be tempted while you are waiting.
There is a very clear reception area at the entrance to the inside section of the restaurant (though most of the seating is actually in the undercover al fresco area). A large barrel with menus stacked on it, and a host stand with a series of instructions for COVID safety fronted the entrance. Staff came to attend it as we approached.
After letting them know that we had booked ahead, and checking in, we were shown to the large group table inside. The open kitchen actually takes up a large proportion of the interior space, so you can watch staff take meats out of the smoker and slice the cuts up.
The inside section was well-lighted, and a comfortable temperature. By the group table was a feature wall with backlit silhouettes of cows. It was a thematic reminder that Smokey Moo is all about beef.
The earth and wood hues used in the furnishings gave it a modern prairie style, without being too kitschy.
Menu books were brought to the table, and, given the size of the group (8 adults plus kids), staff recommended the Feeding the Herd options to us.
They offer either the Mini Moo, or the Mighty Moo. Both have a selection of all four of their carved meats, with unlimited fries, coleslaw, and cob salad. The Mini Moo, which is recommended for 4 to 6 people, has 2kg of meat, and the Mighty Moo, which is recommended for 7-10 people, has 3kg of meat. We immediately thought them to be great options, rather than have to each decide on which meats to get for ourselves.
Of note, their menu does also have options for kids (one meat of choice with mini chips, a drink, and an activity pack), and non-meat-eaters (a couple of salad dishes). Besides the alcoholic drinks (they have beers, wines, and cocktails), they also have a list of interesting non-alcoholic options, such as a Smokey Bumblebee Margarita (Pineapple, chilli syrup, lime, black salt, smoke), a Watermelon Tonic, and soft drink floats.
The side dishes were brought out first. They had explained that you have to finish all of the first round of sides, and then you can get refills of whichever ones you want.
The Cobb salad had a few less elements than typical (no egg, chicken/bacon, or avocado), but did have fresh other elements (cucumber, tomato, chives, and dressing). Given the rest of the protein that was to follow though, that was not an issue.
We didn’t get a photo of the Coleslaw, but it had thinly sliced cabbage and carrot, with a creamy mayonnaise dressing that was not too tart or sweet.
The Moo Fries were definitely a winner. They were piping hot, crunchy on the outside, and well-seasoned. They went quickly, and after we finished the other salads, they were the first ones we got refills of.
The board of carved meats was definitely impressive as it was placed on the table. The Mini Moo and Mighty Moo come with Brisket, Pastrami, Beef Cheeks, and Ribs. They were accompanied by 4 small pouring jugs of jus.
The outsides of the meats were a glistening burnished brown, and the insides perfectly pink.
The meat was tender, and literally fell off the bone. The only serving utensils provided were tongs, and they were enough to take the meat off the beef rib bones (they had made longitudinal cuts to make the rib meat easier to divide up).
The beef brisket was so tender, pieces fell apart under their own weight as one end of a slice was picked up to transfer onto a plate.
While all the meats were delicious, the leading favourite in the group was the pastrami. It was the most flavourful of them, a combination of smoky, salty, and sweet. They pack the flavour into their pastrami by curing it for multiple weeks, so it is definitely the cut to get.
Overall, we found Smokey Moo a great place for a group feed. The Mighty Moo was a crowd pleaser, and the sides were better than just fillers. Wait staff were also helpful, and came to check on us a few times through the meal, rather than assuming that once the food was on the table, their role was done. We would recommend this if you have a group of hungry people, or you could just return for a small feed on your own (definitely get the pastrami).
Price point: $300 for the Mighty Moo.
Value: A good deal, when divided up.
Address: Shop 3001, Gasworks 3 Plaza, 68 Longland St, Newstead
Phone: 07 3148 2665
Website: Smokey Moo