A barbecue expert has shared her tips for avoiding a ‘bogan’ barbecue by foregoing cheap cuts of meats, ‘tacky’ cutlery and cooking on a cold grill.
Australian ‘BBQ queen’ Laura Romeo – who is a recipe and content developer – revealed the do’s and don’ts of barbecue etiquette.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, the Weber grill expert shared her secrets to hosting the perfect summer feast – from the types of meat you should and shouldn’t cook with, and the things that make you look ‘bogan’.
Australian barbecue expert Laura Romeo (pictured) shares the signs of a ‘bogan’ barbecue. Ms Romeo is the recipe and content developer for Weber – an iconic barbecue appliance brand
What are the ‘bogan’ foods of a barbecue?
- Cheap cuts of meat
- Heavily processed meats like budget sausages and ‘tasteless’ rissoles
- ‘Gristly’ chicken skewers
- Meats covered in sugary marinade
- Burnt onions
- Minute beef steaks
‘There’s a few classic signs of a bogan barbecue like cooking with cheap cuts of meat such as nasty sausages or serving up burnt onions,’ Ms Romeo told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Avoid cheap cuts like meats covered in sugary marinade, minute steaks, gristly chicken kebabs or heavily processed meats like budget sausages or tasteless rissoles.
‘Nothing says basic barbecue like cheap nasty sausages, cooking on rusty equipment – and the ultimate sin is slapping cold meat onto a cold barbecue.
‘The best way to throw an impressive barbecue and cook like a pro is to start with a good quality meat and produce.’
The ‘BBQ queen’ said you should always marinate your own meat, grill vegetables such as zucchinis, corn on a cob, capsicums and onions and even create your own sauce on the grill
What are the best types of meats for a barbecue
- Gourmet sausages
- Premium chuck beef mince
- Chicken thigh fillets
- Lamb chops and cutlets
- Beef rib eye (4cm thick)
- Pork shoulder
She said you can find the best cuts of meats at your butcher.
‘Visit your butcher for their in-house gourmet sausages, or for the ultimate burgers use coarsely ground chuck beef for the juiciest, flavoursome patties,’ she said.
Instead of purchasing pre-made marinated meats from the deli, Ms Romeo – who has created more than 150 recipes for Weber – suggested making your own at home.
‘For simple and delicious chicken skewers, cut chicken thigh fillets into cubes, whip up a herb marinade and thread onto skewers,’ she said.
‘Lamb chops and cutlets are always a treat, they are pricey at the moment, so be sure to treat them simply with a mix of oil, garlic and herbs and cook them with a little love and care over direct medium-high heat for approximately three minutes per side – don’t overcook them.’
Ms Romeo who is the first Weber grill expert outside of the US (pictured hosting one of her barbecue demonstrations in front of a crowd at one of the Australian Grill Academy Events)
To cook steak to perfection, Ms Romeo said your cut should be at least 2.5cm thick.
‘For beef, it’s important to start with a good quality steak,’ she said.
‘Cook on a hot grill, and we recommend flipping once, three minutes on both sides so you get the perfect caramelisation without fully cooking the whole way through.
‘For the caramelisation to develop on both sides, cook with the lid down. Doing this will trap the smoke inside so the meat gets a natural, smoky flavour and speeds up the cooking time too.’
When cooking raw meats, she said you should always pre-heat the barbecue.
‘Firing up the barbecue before adding your food is a sure-fire way to make sure the cooking grill is sanitised, your food won’t stick and it will instantly start caramelising for the best flavour,’ she said.
Ms Romeo said you also should cooked with a steak that’s 2.5cm thick, marinate your own meat at home and close the lid when cooking on the barbecue to achieve the ‘smoky flavour’
When setting the table, Ms Romeo said you should always avoid disposable cutlery.
‘Single-use plastic is not only bad for the environment, but also tacky. Invest in good quality plasticware that you can reuse or use stylish ceramics for the occasion,’ she said.
Besides grilling meats, Ms Romeo said you can even ‘bake’ desserts such as cakes and biscuits in the barbecue.
‘Stop thinking of just chops and sausages, there’s so much more you can do with your barbecue and I encourage everyone to get experimental and one-up their friends this summer,’ she said.
‘Doing something unexpected is easy – try baking brownies or impress your vegetarian friends with delicious, caramelised, grilled veggies.
‘You can also bake bread rolls, loaves of bread and pizzas. You can also make casseroles and soups [in a casserole dish over the barbecue heat with the lid shut), it gives it a BBQ flavour.’
For the perfect setting, Ms Romeo suggested making the ‘most of the longer evenings and style your backyard barbecue with lantern candles and festoon lighting to really set the mood.’
Ms Romeo will team up with leading food rescue organisation OzHarvest to recreate an Australian icon, the famous sausage sizzle but with a gourmet twist. She will be cooking up a storm on Saturday, November 9 at the Weber ‘Store Day’
Ms Romeo will team up with leading food rescue organisation OzHarvest on Nov. 9 to put on a classic sausage sizzle with a gourmet twist.
The Weber ‘Store Day’ campaign hopes to raise funds for 60,000 meals to support people in need.
‘We’re making the sausage sizzle cool again. We’ve taken an old Aussie classic and given it a modern twist with Australian lamb,’ Ms Romeo said.
‘We have some of the best produce on our doorstep and we wanted to hero those contemporary Aussie flavours… plus, we won’t tell you where to put the onions.’
Not only will you be able to get your hands on the delicious roll at participating stores but some shops will also host classes to improve barbecue technique before summer.
‘In addition to learning some serious barbecue skills, Weber will also show you how to use up your leftovers to create additional dishes, so no good food goes to waste,’ OzHarvest executive chef Travis Harvey said.
All funds raised on the day will go towards OzHarvest and supporting families in need. For every $1 donated, OzHarvest can deliver two meals to Aussies in need.
How to make a smoky tomato relish
You can prepare the smoky tomato relish (pictured) in the barbecue ahead of time
½ brown onion, sliced into 1cm thick disks, keeping layers intact
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 ripe tomatoes
1 long red chilli
½ cup brown sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ cup balsamic vinegar
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Adjust the temperature of the barbecue to direct medium heat (180°C to 230°C). Brush the onion disks with olive oil.
Add the onion disks, whole tomatoes and whole chilli to the cooking grill, close the lid and grill for eight minutes over direct medium heat, turning as needed or until red chilli has blackened and blistered, the tomatoes have caramelised and cook the onion until it’s cooked through and caramelised.
Finely chop the chilli, onion and tomatoes. Add to a clean casserole dish (or saucepan if using a stovetop) along with the remaining relish ingredients and bring to a simmer over direct medium heat for 10 minutes, with the casserole lid off, or until the relish has thickened.
Remove from the heat and set aside at room temperature until required or refrigerate if not serving within two hours. Turn the barbecue off.