The American-style barbecue at the Bluebird Kitchen and Smokehouse in Warwick, Qld, has become so popular you’ll probably have to book weeks in advance.

Story + Photos Ken Eastwood 

Hair dyed bright orange. Loads of tattoos. A nose ring. A lolly pink espresso machine in an old, cement-floored motorbike shop at the tail end of the shops in Warwick, Qld. Is this really a rural foodie hotspot revered for hundreds of kilometres? 

Sitting in an eclectic restaurant with an assortment of wooden benches, old couches and a yak head mounted on the wall, Katie Osborn smiles warmly when asked about the raw industrial chic. “Jim and I are a little rough around the edges, so the building sort of suits us,” she says.

Katie and her husband Jim started their cafe-restaurant the Bluebird Kitchen seven years ago. One of the first rural restaurants in Australia to use American-style meat smokers, it quickly gained a reputation and following. Now, without booking three weeks in advance, you’d be lucky to score a feed on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night. People travel 3–4 hours to sample the melt-in-your-mouth brisket (smoked for nine hours so the fat renders lusciously through the meat), and the succulent pulled pork, with tasty coleslaw, pickles, Tex Mex rice and sweetcorn on the side. It’s hearty tucker done exquisitely well.

This story excerpt is from Issue #140

Outback Magazine: December/January 2022