IconPark sat down with Ruby Challenger to discuss the inspiration behind Ruby's BBQ, her travels with her husband and business partner Eli and what exactly is Aussie-style Southern BBQ.
When has the idea for Ruby's BBQ conceived?
On our honeymoon; we conceived a restaurant instead of a baby - whoops! We bought a 1978 Kombi van and took off from Vancouver to explore North America. All of the amazing people and places we encountered throughout our journey cemented our goals of starting not only a new life, but also a business together that would grow as we grew.
Across America, which places inspired you most?
The most inspiring destinations were always the unexpected small gems that you find in the out of the way places. From the most basic Mom and Pop roadside diner with really honest home-style cooking to an industrial estate BBQ joint with zero branding or publicity, touting mouthwatering BBQ and having a sneaky deck of Trivial Pursuit cards on each table. Think dodgy 1970's decor and a great yarn with very earnest restauranteurs; that was a good night out for us on our honeymoon!
Can you explain the concept behind 'Australian-style Southern BBQ'?
We had a wicked time travelling through North America, trying all of the BBQ offerings we could find. It has to be pointed out that BBQ as North American's know it is quite different from an Aussie BBQ "Just throw a snag on the BBQ". This is actually grilling the meat. "BBQ" is slowly smoking meats, using either hot or cold smoke. These meats are rubbed with spice mix before they go in to a smoker for any number of hours depending on the cut of meat - our Brisket is cooked for 16 hours for example. The North Americans tend to slather the meat in heavy corn-syrup-based sauces. We think that while corn-syrup-based sauces have made their way to Australia, many Aussies prefer lighter flavours with less sugar. We place a heavy focus on flavour over sugar, "hero-ing"the spices and smoke.
If Ruby's BBQ takes out Season 1 of IconPark, what can we expect when we come through the doors?
The outdoors will be brought inside - there will be AstroTurf floors, picnic tables, swings for bar stools, and a giant tree growing up on a wall, surrounded by beautiful murals. It's going to be a lot of fun!
What will make Ruby's BBQ different to anything we've experienced in Sydney before?
The food and the atmosphere - where else can you eat meat that melts in your mouth while playing wicked fun games?
Check out the hot summer nights that Ruby's BBQ intends to bring to Stanley St and support them here.
Here's some information on the smoker the Challengers use and for the very ambitious, there's a video and article on how to build your own smoker - you can use an old fridge!!