BBQ season usually kicks off on Boxing Day in my house, although this year, it’s trended to creep in earlier. Perhaps because we all need some respite from the past 12 months.
In any case, it’s also become harder as I am now AVAP (As Vegan As Possible). So, sizzling a snag or popping a prawn on the BBQ makes life a little trickier for the outdoor chef.
I turned to Adam Roberts, who happens to be Australia’s most awarded solo-cook Pitmaster and Co-Founder of the Australasian Barbecue Alliance, for some BBQ season tips.
BBQ Season for Vegans and Vegetarians
Most people find this mind-bogglingly difficult. Why I’ll never know, as there’s an abundance of local, fresh fruit and veggies, plus plant-based meat substitutes at all grocers now, even your little local corner store. Many vegans and vego’s are happy to eat any our all of it it – promise. We don’t need protein to go with it, so please don’t feel like you have to stress out.
Anyhoo, I digress, Adam has some great tips for BBQ season for all types of eaters and one involves my fave veggies of all time – the mushroom!
“First up, determine the extent of ‘veganism’ your guest possesses,” says Adam. This is top advice as some are truly vigilant, while others like me are more of a gentle vegan and try to simply eat as ethically as possible, where possible.
“Some vegans will expect their food to be cooked on a grill plate or smoker that hasn’t ever had contact with meat or animal products,” says Adam. Perhaps cook their food first and then proceed. “Alternatively, a quick clean of the BBQ grill to remove animal fats or meat residue might suffice,” suggests Adam.
“If you happen to have a vegetarian (or less vigilant vegan) friend in your circle, a well-seasoned, garlic butter [or vegan butter like Flora Plant Butter] washed over a whole portobello mushroom and cooked until tender on the charcoal grill, can taste almost as good as a beef burger patty.”
“Grilling vegetables over charcoal is truly one of the best ways to turn it into a char-grilled flavour-packed morsel. Try grilling fruit salad, smoked pumpkin or a beautiful head of parmesan and cashew crusted grill cauliflower.”
Making BBQ Season Meatier
Adam has some top tips for upping your BBQ season game when it comes to grilling meat too.
BBQ Seasoning Goes A Long Way!
“Season your meat,” stresses Adam. “So many folks forget to season the meat properly before adding it to the grill. Applying a decent sprinkle of kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper and a pinch of brown sugar to the meat a few minutes before cooking can turn good steak into an amazing meal with very little effort and expense.”
BBQ Variety is the spice of life!
“There is no actual rule that says you should only own one BBQ,” says Adam. Got the space? “Grab a smoker, a grill or even a rotisserie spit to open up more options and add a bit of variety to your cook ups.” BBQ season never looked so good.
Quality Is Everything!
Don’t bother spending a fortune of top quality meats if you’re not going to match them with quality charcoal that will enhance the flavour of your grill.
Adam recommends choosing an all-natural charcoal product, made from real wood char that gives off a balanced and clean smoky flavour, and makes a difference to the quality of the end product.”
Get The Right BBQ Tools!
Buy a BBQ cookbook
Just Have fun
This is the bottom line during BBQ season – It should be relaxed, fun and filled with laughter and joy. “Experiment, try something new each week and be sure to get some friends and family around to share the experience,” says Adam. And because all good outdoor meals need a playlist, we’ve uncovered some music playlists specifically devoted to BBQing, like this one from DY Meritimo, aptly called Grill & Chill.