The year is 2012 and I find myself in Atlanta, Georgia, actually on a train an hour outside of Atlanta. Why? You may ask. Travelling alone hopping off the train walking down baron streets, I am on the hunt. One of the best BBQ places I have heard about in Atlanta is in the vicinity, I just have to find it!
I have been obsessed with American style BBQ and BBQ’d meats for about 10 years now. It’s something about the smokiness of the briskets, the tenderness of the chickens and the flavour coming out of the shredded pork that just seems to liven my tastebuds.
My trip to find the great American BBQ joint in Atlanta was a success and fortunately for Adelaidians, you don’t have to travel as far as I did to get some great, mouth-watering smoky BBQ.
An authentic American style smokery take-away restaurant has opened right here in the heart of Adelaide. Located in the basement food court of 77 Rundle Mall (just next to the Apple Store) is Slo Moe’s Smokery founded by Rob Porcaro, Darren Lange and Head Chef Nigel Rich.
Rob was nice enough to answer some slightly smoked questions that I had about his new establishment.
Shane: Why did you choose Adelaide as the location for Slo Moe’s Smokery?
Rob: The founders are all from Adelaide, for a start. Darren Lange was definitely among the first to bring Slo Cooked American BBQ to Australia having spent time exploring different regions in the USA and then coming back having learned the art. He also started a business originally improving Yoder Smokers from the USA which is kind of where we met. Nigel Rich owns and runs the Elbow Room restaurant at McLaren Vale and I was working with him on a different project for Thomas Foods, which was launching Thomas Farms Kitchen (TFK) an online meal-kit delivery business (think Hello Fresh, My Food Bag etc). We contracted Nigel to develop the recipes that are now used weekly for TFK. So over a bottle of red (sure you have heard that before but this is true) we decided that putting a chef, who is already playing in this space, together with a guy who loves Slo Cooking; and a marketing guy who understands the food space together seemed to make sense.
Shane: What will make Slo Moe’s stand out from the abundance of burger places already in Adelaide?
Rob: For a start to compare us to burgers is inappropriate; we are anything but. Come try one, we slow cook brisket (rubbed in pepper and salt) for up to 14 hours in an offset smoker fed by wood, such as hickory from old barrels. It is then coarsely cut and sauced with amazing genuine recipes and place it on a bed of homemade slaw that delivers a sandwich: nothing like a burger.
Secondly, the style of slow cooking is also different than the other couple of operators already in Adelaide. Genuine slow cooked meats is just taking off here and there is significant opportunity for growth.
We will not only have the Rundle Place outlet, but a premium version of Slo Moe’s which I can’t personally wait for. It will launch in July and is a full restaurant in which I am expecting amazing things from Nigel and Darren.
Shane: What got you interested in this style of cooking?
Rob: Darren, to tell you the truth, I was introduced to it by him and fell in love (seriously in love!) not with Darren, although he’s alright, but with what comes out of those smokers!
Shane: Do you have any interest in opening in other locations around Adelaide?
Rob: Yep one more retail style outlet as above (McLaren Vale).
Shane: Your website mentions that you get your meat from local sources. Can you please elaborate on where it is coming from, for those of us interested?
With respect to meat products, all are locally sourced. In fact we use Thomas Farms brisket and lamb and all the rest is sourced from the local sister company, Holco. We intend to keep it that way too!
Shane: For our readers who are going to Slo Moe’s for the first time, what is a main and a side that they should order to get a taste as to what Slo Moe’s is all about?
Rob: You just can’t beat the Texan Tycoon; 14 hour slow cooked Angus salt and pepper brisket with Texas Sauce and Mayo Slaw.
For a side, it’s a damn tough call. I love them all, but if I have to pick one I would say people should at least try the Smokey Cowboy Beans (but I also think they should try the Mac & Cheese as it wraps its arms around you and gives you a warm hug).
Shane: Excellent! Thanks for your time Rob and good luck with everything.
Just remember when ordering folks, don’t call them burgers!
Interview by Shane Berketa