Articles and Ideas for your outdoor space from our outdoor experts

The Great Australian Backyard BBQ Guide

Posted by Jonathan Blampied on Feb 4, 2020 2:42:46 PM

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.

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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™

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Topics: Australian Sun, Sun Protection, outdoor living, BBQ

Shadowspec Umbrella Case Study - Stand out from  the rest

Posted by Jonathan Blampied on Nov 16, 2017 1:00:00 PM

Nothing explains a customer’s buying experience better than a first hand account. Derek from Western Australia was over the moon with his selection of Shadowspec SU4 Tilting Offset Umbrellas. 

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Which Shadowspec Umbrella did you purchase?

We bought four Shadowspec SU4 cantilever umbrellas for our community resource centre courtyard. 

What do you like about the Shadowspec SU4 Tilting Offset Umbrella?

Apart from being very easy to handle, we found them to be very adaptable to our needs. We can roll them around on our concrete surface, we can put them up at any angle, and we can keep them closed down under their cover when they are not needed, and they handle the winds in this area very well (which can sometimes be near cyclonic!).

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How would you describe the value of your Shadowspec Umbrellas?

The true value of these umbrellas comes from the fact that it has actually increased the usability of our outdoor space. Our biggest resource in this town is people and tourists, and a lot more people have actually been utilising the space because of the comfort and shade that the umbrellas bring.

Were you worried about buying the umbrellas online and whether they would arrive undamaged?

Yes absolutely. To be honest, we were very dubious when it came to ordering online, and especially as to what state the umbrellas would arrive in. I have to say, there was absolutely no damage, we had no problems at all. On top of that, the fabric used by the manufacturer is exactly as described. The umbrellas are perfect for our needs and also for the climatic changes that we have here, especially factoring in the harsh sun and the flying sand (we are located directly across from a beach).

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Could you put a dollar value on what you think the Shadowspec umbrellas are actually worth over a period of 10 years?

Undoubtedly, I believe that the umbrellas are worth in excess of $10,000. The product itself is very stable, we are so pleased with it. Especially as we know we won’t have to think of something else to replace these umbrellas anytime soon! We thought we might just use one or two each day, but we actually use all four on a daily basis. I can’t emphasize their value enough, we have people coming to us on the regular and commenting on how magnificent they are.

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What was your buying experience with Shadowspec like?

It was extraordinarily simple. I was tasked with the job of finding an appropriate solution for our problem here - high winds, glaring sun and very light coloured concrete, adding to the harsh glare of the sun.

I narrowed the choice down to one of three or four outlets to find which would be the best value for money. Yes there are of course cheaper umbrellas available, but I’m quite certain they would be blown to bits by now. I took the suggestion of Shadowspec back to the rest of the committee, we studied it in depth, and within a day of making contact with Shadowspec via their provided phone number, we had all the information needed to make an informed decision.

Initially we were going to order just one umbrella to test the quality first, but we decided to actually go ahead with all four and I could not believe how quickly they arrived! They arrived from the other side of the country, to our door within five days, almost before we’d even paid for it!

What made you decide to go with Shadowspec for your outdoor umbrella?

After closely looking at the specifications and taking into consideration that Shadowspec were actually located very far away from us (which logically worked against our decision), we decided to trust our gut instinct on this one. We went with the salesperson’s recommendation on which umbrella model would best suit the space, and it worked out absolutely perfectly. We couldn’t be more delighted with our decision.

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Has anyone commented on your Shadowspec umbrellas?

Absolutely. The umbrellas were actually the talk of the town when they first arrived! The resource centre is very widely used, and the umbrellas offer the perfect resting spot for people between their jobs and travels. We’re so pleased with how enjoyable and usable they have made our outdoor space, and we couldn’t recommend them highly enough.


Thanks for the wonderful testimonial Derek. Unsure which umbrella would be right for your shade requirements? We can help! Request your free shade layout plan below and we'll be in touch shortly to discuss your best option.

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Topics: Australian Sun, cantilever umbrella, Outdoor Shade, Quality, Patio Umbrella, Outdoor Area Ideas, wind resistant umbrella

The Summer Sun - Be Sun smart this Summer

Posted by Jonathan Blampied on Mar 24, 2017 11:52:47 AM

Sunburn can occur in as little as 15 minutes during the summer months in Australia & New Zealand. Some of the highest levels of UV radition in the world are experience in the antipodes this results in a dispropotionate amount of skin cancer in the area. approximately, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.

The best way to stop getting a sunburn is to stay out of the sun! But that’s not always practical, and when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest (between 10 am-2 pm) is when we are likely to be out and about with our friends and family, enjoying the summer. Here is a list of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from sunburn.


Use Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a must in the hot Aussie summer! It should be stored below 30°C and be sure not to use sunscreen that is past its expiry date. If you are swimming or near water you might want to consider a waterproof or water resistant sunscreen.

Choose the right SPF

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It is a relative measure of how long a sunscreen will protect you from Ultraviolet Rays (UV Rays) – or the sun.  For example if it normally takes 30 minutes for your skin to redden, a product with SPF30 will prevent sunburn for 30 times longer.

Sensitive Skin or Allergic to Sunscreen?

If you have sensitive skin or young children it is recommended to use a natural sunscreen with an SPF30 or higher and re-apply every few hours. Additionally it is recommended to wear loose, lightweight, long-sleeved clothing and a wide brimmed hat with sun glasses to provide extra protection.  The more skin that your clothing covers – the better your protection will be!

Stay in the shade

This is one of the most effective forms of sun protection as it blocks most of the harmful UV rays and it’s easy! When you go outdoors find areas the sun doesn’t reach, like under a large mature tree or outdoor gazebo.  If you are in a place that doesn’t have natural shading (for example the beach, a sports field or a pool area), using an outdoor umbrella, a tent or shade canopy to keep you from getting sunburnt. 

Cover up!

Wearing the right clothes and covering as much of your body as possible will help block the sun. The more skin you cover the more protected from sun burn you will be. Some clothing fabric has built in sun protection, the label will indicate the UV protection rating.

Avoid the sun during peak hours

In Australia peak hours for UV radiation are between 10am and 2pm. Approximately 60% of the days total radiation is received during these hours.

If you are looking for high quality shade cover options that suit you, Shadowspec’s unparalleled range of pool umbrellas, pool shade systems, outdoor awnings and wind resistant sun shade options represent the finest in design and construction, and have been developed specifically for the harsh Australian sun.

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Topics: Australian Sun, Sun Protection, Shade systems

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