Barbecue is the great Australian tradition where food is bestowed upon your guests and enjoyed with friends and family all summer long. Gather your people and put on a sizzling show with summer plates and excellent flipping techniques.
We all know the basics to a good grilling: stereotypical shrimp on the barbie, Veggie Sausages for your mate’s new fling and perfect flame-licked steak, just like you were taught.
Let’s cook up a plan to take your BBQ game to the next level.
How to get the perfect BBQ Steak
Steak is a bbq delicacy, your guests will be thrilled when they see and smell a fresh beef cut on the grill. Make sure you get the right cut of meat and cook it to perfection.
Give your chosen cut a good sprinkling of salt on both sides, set them on a hot grill until they’re nicely seared - check for firmness and then let them rest. This will let the juices and flavour reset throughout the cut.
Flawless burgers every time
Slapping burgers on the grill is a superb way to feed a larger group. The most important piece of advice I can give you is to: Leave them alone. Only flip them once and let your burger filler cook through. Don’t push down with your spatula, I know it’s a habit but all that happens is the juice (flavour) squeezes out leaving your patties dried up and bland. Also, don’t cook medium rare patties, it’s not a steak! (see above)
How to not poison your entire social group with BBQ Chicken
Chicken is always a contentious issue when you BBQ - you don’t want to undercook a chicken, ever, but, it’s also suboptimal to serve up a dry piece of meat on a bone because that’s gross.
The most reliable way to look after the chicken lovers at your party is to salt the chicken all over, sear the outside and then move the chicken to an unheated part of the BBQ. A rack or empty bit of the grill is best, this way the heat of the grill will continue to cook the inside of the chicken without drying it out or burning the skin. Always check the meat once it firms up to ensure it’s cooked all the way through, it’s not a steak! (see above)
Is it really a BBQ if a snag doesn’t hit the grill?
Sausages on the barbie are quintessential. It’s the 20’s now so it’s time to step up your grill game and introduce a variety of sausages to the palette - other than the classic Aussie banger you could try a German bratwurst or mayhap a Traditional South African boerewors? You can even go with an American styled hotdog on the barbie just to mix up the expectations. As with any meat ensure you know what it’s made of. Some sausages are smoked or pre-cooked and can be quickly heated up on the BBQ whereas a fresh sausage will need to be cooked through.
One of our new favourites for BBQ season is to set up a dedicated condiment station. Give your guests the unbridled power to construct their own hotdog or sausage in bread combination. Get creative with the toppings you supply, don’t stray too far away from onions, tomato sauce and barrel-aged bbq sauce but try offering salsa, hot sauce, barbecued tomato or even a blue cheese sauce. Don’t forget fresh buns or bread to hold it!
Vegetables are for everyone, even kids
Corn is a great bbq food and takes very little effort. You can throw a corn cob on the BBQ pre-husking. This gives the corn itself a little bit of protection whilst serving as natural tinfoil. You’ll get a great smokey flavour and a well-cooked vegetable. Don’t forget to incorporate capsicums and tomatoes in your plan. Whole tomatoes and capsicums are best grilled by slicing in half and placing the open face on your grill. When the veggies are warm and have a bit of colour, flip them over and get a bit of caramelisation on the other side to finish. If you’ve got some smaller tomatoes still on the vine, place the whole bunch on the grill, still attached - they’ll be perfect (note: this doesn’t work as well with grapes).
Fill up the esky, it’s beverage time
Some would say hydration is the most important thing on the menu for your next bbq. Fill up the esky with some beer, have a few bottles, or boxes, of wine and be a good host by offering a variety of delicious non-alcoholic beverages such as iced tea, homemade lemonade and perhaps a nice fruity punch.
Sangria is a great way to get through a hot summer day, it’s easy to make and can quench a large group of people. A bottle of wine (red or white or both) combined with lemon, orange, lime and your choice of berries and mixer (lemonade or ginger ale are best, don’t use cola).
As always, have plenty of ice-cold water to go along with your alcoholic drinks and make sure you look after your guests - all that BBQ food will help.
Do you have room for dessert?
The best advice we can make is suggesting your guests bring a dessert - that way you don’t have to think about it! If they ask you for ideas, however, a homemade apple or berry pie with a dollop of ice cream is a wonderful palette cleanser. Perhaps you could even splash out and grill some fruit such as peaches on the bbq and serve them with ice cream. You can’t go past a good traditional Aussie pavlova if you’re looking for a crowd-pleaser.
Enjoy your summer
As always, look after yourself, your friends and your family - use sunscreen, remember to cover up with shade and stay hydrated (with water as well) and of course have a great time.
Looking for the best outdoor shade solution for summer BBQs? Try the Shadowspec Serenity™