What Exactly Is Australian Barbecue?

Photo: Australian Barbecue Academy

Photo: Australian Barbecue Academy

As far as stereotypical Australian phrases go, few come to mind more readily than put another shrimp on the barbie.

For Australians, however, the notion that they are forever tossing shrimp onto their barbies (barbecues) is absurd. In fact, the barbecue culture Down Under is much more reflective of the country’s resources, as well as its proximity to Asia.The Herald Sun quizzed Aussie food personalities on what they love to grill, revealing a much more diverse ‘cue cutlure than you might expect.

First though, some definitions. While many of us use the terms ‘barbecue’ and ‘grill’ interchangeably, bonafide BBQ experts stateside consider the two distinct. Barbecue refers to cooking for a long period at a low temperature. This “low and slow” approach to cooking meats—particularly tough cuts—”allows for the food to soak up the smoke and rub flavors, and to become very tender and moist.” Grilling is the opposite approach—”the method of cooking food hot and fast on your grill.” This technique is most commonly used for everyday backyard cookout fare like burgers, chicken, steak, seafood, vegetables, and fruit.

For Australians, barbecue is more all-encompassing, equivalent to our sense of grilling. For chefs like Curtis Stone, Marion Glasby, and Stefano de Pierri, the prime candidates for BBQ are lamb, sausages, and prawns. However, there were other chefs who named choices that reflected Australia’s rich immigrant background. A third-generation Aussie, celebrity chef Kylie Kwong chose yabbies (freshwater crawfish) with a dressing of chili, garlic, ginger, and soy. Meanwhile, Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans believes that “one of the joys of being Australian is being able to ‘pick and choose and take in all the good stuff from around the world’,” which is why he opts for a Middle Eastern lamb kofte as a favorite.

[via The Herald Sun]

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