Wednesday, March 11, 2020

American Hotel, Echuca by Foghorn Leghorn

I love smoked meat. On a recent trip to Echuca, Mrs Shiraz and I discovered a pub with so much smoked meat on the menu that we had to eat there twice.

American Hotel, Echuca, smoked duck
Smoked duck

It’s the American Hotel. Echuca in general has lots of good food, but only the American Hotel has enthusiasts who spend the first half of the day loading up the smoker. You walk in at lunchtime, smell the smoky fragrance, and say “I’d like to order whatever they’re smoking”. The waitress says “Sorry, we don’t serve the smoked stuff at lunchtime, it’s only at dinner.” So what do you do? You come back for dinner, of course.

American Hotel, Echuca, smoked pork ribs
The first time around we had smoked lamb and smoked pork ribs. The ribs were a standout, exactly as we expected.

American Hotel, Echuca, smoked lamb
The lamb was good, but a bit on the dry side. We were a bit surprised, considering how lamb is naturally fatty. Maybe it explains why we don’t see much smoked lamb on menus.

American Hotel, Echuca, smoked salmon salad
Smoked salmon salad

The second time around we had smoked duck and smoked salmon salad. Both were very good, and very different from each other. The salmon was only lightly smoked, so maintained the full character of the fish, almost like sashimi.

The duck (see first pic) had the full rich flavour that one expects. It’s strange that the natural fatty character of duck works so well for smoking, but the same doesn’t apply to lamb.

Keeping with the American theme, most of the meals were served with grits and steamed greens. It’s possible to choose other sides, like chips, mash or corn.

American Hotel, Echuca, the smoker
The smoker

If you’re not into smoked food, the American has pub fare like hamburgers. They’re more popular than the smoked items, possibly because they’re a bit cheaper. Smoked meals are around $30, general pub fare around $20. Steaks are out of my range, with eye fillet around $45.

American Hotel, Echuca
The hotel itself has plenty of character. There’s a traditional old dining room with high ceilings and big windows. Most people, though, sit in the various outdoor sections. Because of Echuca’s hot and dry climate, in summer these sections are cooled by sprays of water mist. There’s also an upstairs outdoors area which is popular with the younger crowd for cocktails and music.

American Hotel, Echuca

American Hotel, Echuca


We really liked it
We really liked it.


We definitely liked it, and we would definitely go back. However, the price makes the American Hotel a place for a special treat rather than an everyday meal.

Find it at

American Hotel
239-249 Hare Street
Echuca VIC 3564
Phone: (03) 5480 0969

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