There’s always been something special about Mudgeeraba – a village feel that embraces locals as family.
Typical of that spirit, Woodchoppers Inn, Mudgeeraba’s original restaurant and bar, has been family owned since 1995. A stayer in the local food scene, their recent change of menu direction has given the venue new interest.
Built in 1906 as the original Palm Beach Bowls Club, the building arrived in Mudgeeraba in 1971 on the back of three trucks. Reassembled, Woodchoppers Inn served many purposes, including as a church and bric-a-brac store. Meanwhile, Mudgeeraba grew from a small village to a burgeoning local centre.
John and Carol O’Brien purchased Woodchoppers Inn in 1995, teaming up with local restaurateur Don Murphy to create Mudgeeraba’s first bar restaurant. Renovated several times since then and still owned by the O’Brien family, Woodchoppers retains its heritage feel – thoroughly modern, yet still old school colonial, a charming wooden Queenslander with sprawling airy verandas, a cosy dining room and an open fireplace.
“How are you going, dear?” Steve O’Brien greets me with a smile as we return to Woodchoppers.
We’re checking out the new BBQ Smoke & Grill restaurant, launched in April 2017, bringing the first woodfired smokehouse cuisine to the western side of the highway.
“We wanted to give American BBQ a unique Australian twist, adding Aussie flavours to smokehouse methods,” Steve tells us.
With Matt Mee (ex-Habitat, Brisbane) on board, they’ve invested in impressive Yoder and Bradley smokers, housed in a separate glass smokeroom just inside the front door.
“Barbeque is an art, not a science,” Steve says. “Each brisket is different. You need to cook them until the collagen is broken, which takes between 18 and 22 hours.”
It’s part of the reason why BBQ has such passionate converts, with competitions and smokers achieving cult status. It’s culinary sport requiring passion, dedication and attention to detail to perfect the outcomes! Any BBQ comp will show you that!
Woodchoppers’ BBQ is among the best we’ve ever tasted. Using local produce wherever possible, our Woodchoppers favourites included Tri-tip (sous vide then finished in the BBQ to gain that lick of smoke), smoked sausages to melt your heart, and Smoked BBQ chicken, its touch of smoke completely intriguing. There’s also a choice of BBQ ribs (beef and pork), slow-cooked brisket, grilled steaks, smoked rainbow trout and smoked oysters, all delicious.
The smoke profile of each meat is different, we realise, Steve’s discriminating palate spending months perfecting the smoke/grill/BBQ technique to complement the meat. That must have been hard work!
Flavours of lemon myrtle dust, ironbark honey sauce and mango salsa give a bright Aussie freshness, as do the sides, such as the rocket and quinoa salad, with lots of gluten-free options clearly marked.
Besides the choice of A la carte from the grill, BBQ or Smoker dishes, you can also order platters to share – a range of smokehouse and BBQ meats with roast vegetable and salad sides, all served on wooden platters from local craftsman Ken Staff.
Choosing a drink to go with dinner isn’t easy, but that’s a good thing! There’s a choice of sixteen craft beers, with eight on tap, including our own award-winning beers from Black Hops, 4 Pines Brewing, Brisbane’s Green Beacon and Mountain Goat, together with wine and some well-chosen cocktails. The signature cocktail is the Mudgeeraba Martini, made with Lemon Myrtle Vodka from the multi-award-winning Tamborine Mountain Distillery. Done!
Not long after our dinner at Woodchoppers, we pop in for lunch to enjoy a delicious pulled pork and slaw burger and a couple of sides.
“You take care now,” Steve’s voice rings out as we leave.
Woodchoppers Inn is a great place to share a meal with friends or family, relaxing on the veranda on balmy days or beside the log fire in winter, enjoying the nostalgic village feel that makes Mudgeeraba so special! It’s our own little bit or country; so precious!
64 Railway St., Mudgeeraba Ph: 07 5525 3500
Open: Mon – Sun 12 noon – 10pm (Lunch 12 – 2.30pm; Dinner 5.30pm – close)
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as guests of Woodchoppers Inn on one occasion. Photo of interior courtesy of Woodchoppers. This review has also been published in Blank GC.