Traditional BBQ, Steven Sumegi

Steve Sumegi is building a following with his excellent concept of The Perthcast. The Perthcast is a online podcast that highlights different people around Perth that are passionate about positive change in Perth.  Steve is a passionate foodie that specialises in BBQing specifically using his digital food smoker (Temperature, time, and smoke are now completely controllable so you can decide how much smoke you want, how long your food is going to be smoked for, and at what temperature.) Asked Steve to contribute his opinion on Perth’s new wave BBQ scene and thoughts on how we are growing as a city in terms of food and drinks.

Steve with his prized smoked ribs (1)

We don’t BBQ in Australia, we grill. Sometimes we even use a hot plate and destroy a great piece of meat. True BBQ is the process of cooking meat low and slow in a controlled contraption, and our Texan brothers are leading the way and showing us how its done. Recently I purchased a digital smoker, yes digital, and I’m loving what I’ve been able to produce for my friends and I. Popular shows like Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” and “Man vs Food” have shown me the way and gave me a taste of what is possible with this magical smoking device.

We’re starting to see BBQ creep into the Perth small bar scene like Varnish and Merrywell however we should be careful- there are plenty of pulled pork and smokey BBQ imitations out there.

There are some people who carve up pork with a knife and fork and claim it’s “pulled” because its the new “gourmet” word of today and it therefore sells. Then there’s others that will cook ribs in an oven and mop on a bbq sauce with a distinctive smokey flavour and call it “smoked ribs”. But we have seen this let down throughout the food and hospitality scene for decades. And for most of that time, we allowed it. Why? According to Former head chef of Andaluz, Scott Alfonso, the people of Perth have been a “creature of habit” for a long time, accepting average, overpriced food and being drawn back to what we are familiar with.

The Smoking in Action

But slowly we are seeing this mentality changing, one restaurant/bar/cafe at a time. Just like the wave of traditional BBQ coming through, we are seeing waves of all styles of cuisine reaching our shores in Perth which has been great. It’s an exciting time to watch Perth’s transformation with an emphasis of “out with the old and in with the new”.  Scott stated on my podcast “You need to vote with your dollars” when it comes to fighting against ridiculous prices and bad quality. I think the people of Perth are on-board with this statement more than ever as we become more educated as a customer when it comes to quality and value thanks to the cultural boom happening in the food and hospitality industry.

Steve's prized smoked ribs