If you’re walking down Woolley Street in Dickson and smell smoke, don’t panic! You’re probably just smelling the newest addition to Dickson Taphouse: an offset smoker.
Dickson Taphouse is a popular corner pub and well loved for its range of craft beer, tasty menu, regular events and live music. Executive chef Matt Standen says the smoker looks like “a big old steam train” and the chefs are excited to be using the new equipment and have been busy creating dishes with it.
“Gas and electrical appliances are efficient, but they just don’t have the same satisfaction and connection that cooking with fire gives you,” Matt says.
“The more time you spend with smokers and using them the better product you get out of it because they’re all a little bit different with different hot spots.”
The smoker lives in the beer garden out the back of the pub and was made especially for the venue by H&S Metalcraft in Huskisson, NSW.
Matt says there’s a science to getting exactly the right air flow and temperature when working with fire. The smoker has two chambers and a firebox. Heat and smoke rises from the firebox and travels under the chambers, over the top of the food and then out the flue: creating evenly cooked food with a delicious smoky aroma.
The team will use the smoker for a range of products on the menu at Dickson Taphouse and nearby pub The Old Canberra Inn, which is owned by the same group.
The style of smoker allows them to make dishes such as brisket in the traditional American style, but Matt is looking forward to trying out more possibilities. They’ve even giving vegetables the smoking treatment.
“Veggies come out great! Smoking vegetables gives them a really different flavour profile, rather than just frying or baking them,” he says.
Customers can look forward to slow-roasted whole glazed carrots, eggplants charred in the firebox for baba ganoush, and smoky corn ‘ribs’. The chefs will also be smoking chillies to use in sauces for their popular chicken wings. And, of course, they’re smoking plenty of meats as well: brisket, lamb shanks, osso bucco and more!
The team is planning to hold regular smoking events, and is even thinking about moving the smoker out the front of the pub for special occasions. But in the meantime, it has already become the star attraction of the beer garden.
“As soon as we lit it out the back in the beer garden, suddenly everyone was gathering out there with their beers and chatting. It’s like having a fireplace: everyone wants to stand around it,” Matt says.
“We really encourage people to come and have a look at it. Ask the chefs about what they’re cooking and have a look at what we’re doing.”