Buffalo Sears

For a blokey place, I feel right at home at Buffalo Sears. It may be BBQ, but the warm, loving attention from owner chef Jason makes all the difference. Somehow, in his approach, you can feel the passion straight away. This is no slap dash affair. There’s no rough assemblage, no careless throwing food out onto the plate. Jason’s a man who loves his food and he knows how to treat it, lavishing on it the care and attention it deserves. I love a man like that!

When Jason Nettmann landed in Burleigh, he brought years of experience as an international chef together with dishes he’d learned from his travels around the world: wistfully subtle cold smoked salmon from his two years in Scotland, lusciously rich low slow BBQ from the US and experience both as a private chef and running restaurants in South Africa, the US and New Zealand.

With business partner Luke Fatooros, a childhood friend from Durban, he set up Buffalo Sears under Swell Apartments. Though the restaurant is butted up to the highway, you won’t have to look far for a park; there’s a large carpark nearby, free after 5pm.

The only smokehouse in the Burleigh CBD, Buffalo Sears is a casual, classy BBQ joint with a large alfresco area to enjoy the sunshine, the congenial service making it a happy place to hang out for a session.

“Smoking is on trend, and we have our own technique,” Jason tells us. “We’ve been working with smokers our whole lives. One of the secrets is the right sauce.”

It’s all part of the knowledge bank Jason picked up at his brother’s restaurant, the El Dorado Bar & Grill in Los Angeles. Using a ‘Cookshack’ smoker from the US and his own secret (gluten-free) BBQ sauce with fourteen ingredients, we reckon the sauce (along with the loving treatment) makes all the difference. It’s at least as good as Joe Beef’s in my opinion, and to me that was the ultimate!

Fresh is also best. Building his business through partnerships with local suppliers, Jason has sourced the best regional produce he can lay his hands on: Coffin Bay oysters from a Burleigh supplier straight onto my plate, the best Cape Grim brisket, fresh Tasmanian salmon and local produce; top quality free-range and hormone-free meat treated with genuine care and attention in the commercial environment of a busy kitchen.

Starters include slow smoked hickory wings chargrilled in Jason’s secret sauce with blue cheese dip and pickled cucumber and carrot sticks, a hickory-smoked cheese kransky plate, or in-house cold-smoked salmon served over a lettuce salad with red onions, capers, lemon and horseradish dressing, which I choose as my lunch. Where’s the baguette? This is perfect salmon with subtle smoky flavours; just the sort I want to cram onto long shards of thin grilled toast.

The Main Squeeze tries the Buffalo Sears burger filled with a huge meat patty, bacon, cheese, salad, pickles and sauce. But in all honesty, as each beer-battered chip and bite of burger enters his mouth he’s thinking ribs, and not mine – Jim Beam bourbon-glazed pork ribs that we’ve tried previously. Having been brined overnight in a unique herb and spice rub they’re barbequed then heaped up high on the plate, longing to be separated from the pack and shoved dripping into his mouth.

His other preference would be brisket, smoked in hickory for four hours then braised in the chef’s luscious secret glaze, served with a choice of sides such as beer-battered fries, buffalo slaw, butternut, roasted Portobello mushrooms or green beans.

Every meat has a different cooking treatment. No ‘short cuts’ here: 6-hour hickory smoked pulled pork, 8-hour mesquite smoked beef brisket, char-grilled steak, cherry, apple and peach- smoked chicken, and 12-hour pre-salted salmon, cold-smoked with an aromatic oak kiss.

While smokehouse is the focus of the menu, vegetarians also have their own platter, as well as a Portobello mushroom burger with melted Swiss cheese and creamy Dijon mustard.

The bar is pleasing as well, the food pairing with craft beers including imported beers and fine whiskeys leading into memorable nights. I could treat myself to a cheeky cocktail after work on Friday (Happy Hour is 4 – 6pm), oysters and champagne for a Saturday lunch, or ‘ribs, rum and reggae’ on a sunny Sunday and make a real weekend of it!

In fact, I know it won’t be long before those hypnotic smoky flavours and Jason’s willing smile will rope me back in. Gotta love a man who cooks with love. That smoky meat and that sauce? To me, it’s all too smokin’ hot to walk away from, and who’d want to! As someone famous once said, ‘I’ll be back!’

1A Swell Resort, 1638 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads Ph: 07 5576 3764

Open: Wed – Fri 12pm – 10.30pm; Sat – Sun 10am – 10.30pm

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American Barbeque Burgers Burleigh Heads Dessert Dinner Family friendly Gluten free friendly Licensed Live Music Lunch Main course $15 to $25 Main course $25 to $40 Restaurants Share plates Steak & Ribs Wheelchair friendly , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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