Next time the weather brings a ‘g’day’, take a few tips from the wizards of Oz
What we might lack in hot weather and expertise, we Brits make up for in barbecuing enthusiasm. But for next-level barbie tips, there’s only one way to look – and that’s to the folks Down Under…
Relax, don’t rush
While the average British barbecue can turn into a feat of military precision, getting every burger cooked and every Pimm’s drunk in about 18 minutes before the heavens open and everyone has to put their cagoules on again, Aussie grillers can afford to take their time.
So, chill. Dance like nobody’s watching, and barbecue like it’ll definitely still be sunny tomorrow. Take advantage of your new, laidback attitude with some low-and-slow dishes like barbecue brisket or pork ribs, cooking them away from the direct heat source and popping the lid on to keep everything moist.
Go big, or go back indoors
If Australians are the Premiership of barbecuing, us Brits are still bottom of the league and we have the kit to match. Because our commitment to the noble art is as fleeting as our summer weather, we’ll make do with disposable tin trays or a brick pit someone’s grandad built in 1982.
But for real Aussie panache, you need to bring out the big guns and buy a proper fancy barbecue. You want multiple burners, cast iron hot plates, maybe a built-in mini fridge; more bells and whistles than the local Morris dancing troupe, and more Instagram appeal than a pool party.
Sure, you’ll have to eat nothing but barbecue for the next seven years to justify the expense – but look how jealous the neighbours are.
Crack open a cold one
Of course, Brits are also aware that beer and barbecues go rather nicely together. But while most of us stop at balancing a lukewarm lager on one knee while we go to town with the condiments selection, our Aussie cousins embrace the pleasures of cooking with their beverages too.
So to step things up a notch – try simmering your hot dog onions in ale before finishing them off on the barbecue, or use stout to marinade chicken for a rich, malty flavour.
The chef gets to finish the rest of the can, naturally.
Look to the east
Or hang on, is it west if you’re upside-down? Either way, the country’s geographical proximity and diverse ex-pat population means that Australia prides itself on having the best Southeast Asian cuisine outside of Southeast Asia – and that extends to the barbecue, too.
So ditch the ketchup, park the potato salad and reach for fragrant Thai and Indonesian flavours instead, like this ginger and lime barbecue mackerel recipe with soy sauce and cucumber ribbons.
Show your sides some love too
In all the excitement of finally getting to eat al fresco, it can be easy to give the meat all the attention and forget about your greens.
But man cannot live on burger buns alone, and if you’re going to sustain Aussie levels of barbecue prowess, you’ll need some nutrients – so rustle up a platter of golden, chargrilled veg, or turn your creations into a carnivorous veg fest like this barbecued steak salad.
Don’t forget pudding
Everyone loves a barbecued banana split oozing with melted chocolate, but there are other fruits that – dare we say it – respond even better to a good grilling.
Try chargrilled pineapple with mojito-inspired mint sugar for a pud that tastes as good in a Milton Keynes back garden as it would on Byron Bay Beach.
Go on, throw another shrimp on the barbie…
Except we call them 'prawns'.