Tips for hosting a better barbeque this summer

October 18th, 2012

Appliance Talk BBQs

While Australians are willing to barbeque at any given time of year, the warmer summer months tend to be the traditional season to head outside and dust off the old grill.

With these months fast approaching, we thought it high time to look at how to host a barbeque, whether you’re firing up a gigantic six-burner in the backyard, or just getting out on the patio and chucking some bangers on the Bugg.

Clean the barbeque

Yes, I’m starting off with something controversial.

There are many and varied traditions, customs, myths and legends surrounding the barbeque, and one of them is that the barbeque should never be cleaned, as this heathen practice robs it of its natural smoky flavour.

The perpetrators of this myth have clearly never been struck down with wracking gut cramps from an infestation of intestinal parasites.  To quote that X-Files episode with the Fluke Man:

Scully: “Believe it or not something like 40 million people are infected (with flatworm) worldwide.”

Mulder: “This isn’t where you tell me some terrible story about sushi, is it?”

Scully: “Well maybe you’d rather hear what you could catch from a nice rare steak?”

Now, you don’t need to disinfect your barbeque to hospital standard, as cooking outdoors is meant to be a bit rustic.  But nor should you just tip a splash of beer on it and sagely state that “the alcohol will kill the germs” (it’s rubbing alcohol that kills germs, and if that’s what’s in your beer, your local brewery is overdue for a health inspection).

Check out our guide to cleaning barbeques for exactly how it’s done.  Keep it clean, and you’ll be saving more work for yourself later.

Don’t incinerate everything

Some people really despise barbeques, as they imagine having to choke down yet another pile of ash that may once have been food.

Yes, a bit of charcoal can give meat a distinctive flavour that’s hard to match.  But that doesn’t mean you need to reduce everything down to its base carbon molecules.

If your barbeque ends up like this, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG

The art and science of barbeque cookery would be worth a whole blog post in itself, but for now just take it easy and experiment with some new cooking styles, beyond Total Nuclear Annihilation.  A good place to start would be our seven tips for perfect steak.  Then, check out Best Home Chef for some more inspiration.


You know the old saying that it’s better to have too much than not enough?

Plan your barbeque in advance and have plenty of food (and ice) standing by to cater for the appetites of all your guests, taking into account their dietary needs (more on this, coming up).

This will make sure that even if your friends think that “bring a plate” means arriving with some fine china in tow (always an awkward moment), you’ll still be able to feed them all, even the guy who loads up on double-steak sangers and leaves nothing for the others.

And if worst comes to worst, you’ll have a bunch of leftover barbequed foodstuffs to be eaten over the following week.  Reckon you could handle that?

Cater for non-carnivores

Whoa, whoa, whoa!  Again with the controversy!

While barbequing may have once been a throwback to cavemen squatting beside a freshly-killed mammoth on the fire, things have changed.

It’s the 21st century, people.  Some people are vegetarians, and even those of us who aren’t still need to eat something other than burned animal carcass from time to time, even at a barbeque.

Fear not – you can barbeque vegetables, and not just onion and mushroom.  Sliced potato with salt and olive oil is great, as is eggplant.  You can also do asparagus, capsicums, corn…

And then there’s halloumi…

*makes drooling noises*

Just avoid cross-contamination – keep the veggies and raw meat separate to prevent the spread of bacteria and other nasties.

Mix the genders

Like many other gender matters, this is a massive generalisation, but men tend to have a real fascination with barbequing, holding it as a sacred form of ‘secret men’s business’, and consigning the womenfolk to salad duty while they comment on the meat as it cooks.

This isn’t purely an Aussie thing, either – traditionally, Spanish paella was prepared exclusively by men, with the only topics of conversation allowed around the pan being wine, women and bullfighting.

But again – 21st century, people.

There is no secret to barbequing that can only be understood by someone with a Y chromosome.  It’s just cooking, and anyone can cook.

Ladies have the full authority to assume command of the barbeque, and to grill, sear and char the food to their heart’s content.

Speaking of which…

The chef is Master and Commander

“Do NOT touch my snags, Dr Maturin!”

Regardless of the gender of the barbeque cook, they are the sole arbiter of how the barbequing gets done.

Much like how the sea captains in days of yore were total masters of their domain, answerable only to their duty, a barbeque chef decides what will be cooked and how it will be done.

It doesn’t mean the barbeque chef has to be a tyrannical autocrat, though.  Think of the folks gathered around the barbeque for a chinwag as loyal officers, providing valuable insight to assist their Captain.

While being the host does automatically place you in a position of authority, you can still delegate the heavy responsibility of managing the barbequing to a trusted cohort, like how Number One managed Captain Picard’s Away Teams on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

But make no mistake – the chef’s word is law.  Anyone stepping out of line, second-guessing your cooking style or otherwise disrespecting your authoritah?  Time for a keelhauling…

What advice do you have for hosting a better barbeque?  Sharing is caring!

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

2 responses to “Tips for hosting a better barbeque this summer”

  1. This blog is truly a masterpiece.

  2. For best the best tasting veges, cook them in the grease and fat from the meat. Vegetarians will love it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *