As we walked into the Meating Room at Weston Creek, co-owner Hamish Walker, greeted us at the door – a bit delirious, dishevelled and beaming with unstable excitement, as you would be if you’ve been on the job smoking meats since 3am! The dedication and passion that lit up his face, as well as the way he spoke so fervently about the venue and its new meat smoker was as genuine as you could get.
Texas Thursdays is the most recent, and wildly popular theme night at the Meating Room, thanks to its meat smoker that takes pride and place in the bustling kitchen. Hamish and his team are big believers in high quality produce, bringing the community in the ‘burbs’ together and creating something unique that highlights bespoke smoked meats in Canberra.
Traditional low and slow Texan style meat smoking is the mantra repeated on the daily from the early hours of the morning. At first bite, it’s clear just how much heart and soul goes into creating these dishes as a lot can go wrong in 10-12 hours especially with the fire management side of things. But Hamish assures that’s it’s a labour of love and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
The art of controlling the temperature at around 100 degrees for the entire day, and acquiring that perfect combination of wood chips and meat types is essential – it’s all about letting the ingredients speak for themselves, which they certainly do at Meating Room.
“The wood you use definitely defines and influences the flavours and the smokiness of the meats,” Hamish explains.
“For example, using a Light Fruit Wood is really good for fish and chicken, but if you use it with darker meats you’re not going to be able to bring out as much flavour. Going with something stronger like Cherry Wood or native Australian Iron Bark, which is also great for holding heat source, is what I use on darker meats. It cuts through the meat and gives it a nice smoke ring which is very aesthetically pleasing too.”
On our visit, we were very much spoilt with the enormous Meat Platter For Two, stacked with Carpe Grim short ribs from Tasmania that glide faultlessly off the bone, as well as locally sourced Riverina beef brisket that’s cooked for 12-14 hours, and chicken wings injected with peri peri sauce that had been marinating overnight to give that sudden and surprising burst of that famous flavour.
Paired with a colourful and tasty array of house favourites, including corn on the cob, mini burgers, slaw, onion rings, fries and all-things comfort food, we were rolling out of the joint with a smile on our face and even happier bellies.
Being the only eatery in Canberra providing the goods in smoked meats, especially to the extent that the dedicated guys do it at the Meating Room, now you have no excuse but to pop on over on a Thursday night for a refreshing brew of craft beer alongside Texas style smoked meat. WARNING: napkins will be needed!