Mudgee may be small, but you’ll never have to wander far to experience the region’s delicious produce with a unique twist. Among award-winning vineyards, tastings of Shiraz gin, artisan chilli feta and melt-in-your-mouth smoking barbeque await. One sunny Saturday, I found myself drooling over the latter. If you’ve never tried a Smokin’ Bro & Co. dish, you’re truly missing out.
Tucked away on Lewis Street in Mudgee’s town centre, Smokin’ Bro & Co. likes to turn up the heat with its Governor – a one-of-a-kind smoker fuelled by ironbark. This epic smoker was built from a 5000L LPG tank by Mudgee Engineering and Fabrication and was aptly named after the meaning, “The head of a public institution”. Since opening in 2018, the husband and wife duo have brought a whole new level of indulgence to Mudgee’s foodie scene, serving the most moreish meats in town.
This isn’t just barbeque. This is an American-inspired craft BBQ that is cooked over the fire and “Slowly smoked to perfection in Australia’s best-looking smoker, the Governor” says owners Brody and Laticia Crawford.
“We take pride in delivering melt-in-your-mouth meats that take up to 16 hours to produce until perfection is achieved. This takes a lot of care, patience and an eye for detail sought from many years of honing our skills.”
Perfection is exactly what you’ll taste. Every time I’ve ordered the brisket burger, it has blown me away. Alongside my favourite, you’ll find a collection of burgers, soft tacos, loaded sweet potatoes, feasts, and, the restaurant’s most popular dish – the BBQ tasting tray. Brody says, “It’s been mentioned on many different programs and every time it’s aired on TV, people flock from interstate to visit us”.
Expect huge portions and meat that beautifully falls apart, drenched in your BBQ sauce of choice – think maple, sweet and spicy. The sweet menu specialises in American pie for those who want to indulge. Forget the movie. We’re talking Pumpkin Pie, Snickerdoodle Pie, B’Capple Pie, and the rest.
In addition to its meat-lovers menu, Smokin’ Bro & Co. opened Lewis Kitchen in mid-August. The brand-new menu is as eclectic as the venue, serving a “cool little Tapas style menu”, says Brody, featuring showstoppers including Sicilian-style meatballs, salmon scrolls and katsu whiting. The kitchen is located in the same venue as Smokin’ Bro, offering yet another experience to this trendy locale.
It’s not just the food that’ll draw you into this popular Mudgee establishment. Smokin’ Bro and Lewis Kitchen sit under the same roof as the local Mudgee brewery, Three Tails. The brewery offers an impressive collection of 21 craft beers, all on-tap, from the classic Lewis Street Lager to the sour Pineapple and Passionfruit Splice and the coffee stout, Mademoiselle. New to 2023 is a Shiraz lager called Two Worlds Collide – a collaboration with local winery, Robert Stein. Order your favourite schooner or for the full experience, create a tasting paddle.
The white-brick venue – complete with sofas, darts, games and pool tables – spills out into a big, leafy garden dotted with wine barrel tables and the most important resident, the Governor. On a warm day, the bustling garden will capture your attention from the street; especially on a Friday night, when live music bands take the stage from 5.30 pm. Whether you’re looking for live music, games or a relaxing spot to hang out with your mates, Smokin’ Bro and Three Tails Brewery is the place to be.
That’s what it’s always been about for Smokin’ Bro & Co. owners, Brody and Laticia.
“BBQ is a favourite social entertaining pastime for us, it’s an excuse to bring together friends and family to celebrate for absolutely no reason at all! This is the heartbeat behind what we offer.”
The company was born in 2018 when winemaker Brody and florist, Laticia, sought out a new venture within the Mudgee region. Given their passion for bringing people together over BBQ at home, the couple levelled up their gear and created Smokin’ Bro & Co.
While the initial idea was to operate one or two times a month, the couple’s speedy success – combined with a serendipitous offer from Three Tails Brewery owners, Mich Ash and John Latta – skyrocketed the business. In 2019, Lewis Street had a brand-new, eclectic venue. These days, locals and travellers venture to Lewis Street seven days a week for their fix of BBQ, beers and a good time.
When you don’t see Brody and Laticia at work, you’ll find the local couple nestled in the region’s great outdoors, hiking the Drip, Castle Rocks or Dunns Swamp or supporting one of their favourite local businesses. Try their favourites, Cooyal Hotel, Cade Kitchen & Bar and Millbrie.
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