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BBQ Season Is Here. Up Your Grill Game With Our Top Tips.

grilled meat on charcoal grill
Photo by Gonzalo Guzman on Pexels.com

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.

BBQ season
A great solution for vegetarians or vegans is to buy a few separate grilling plates to keep the meat and veggies apart.

“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.”

BBQ season
An all-veggie BBQ can be a thing of true beauty!

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 season
Seasoning meat prior to grilling ensures a top quality result!


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.” His top pick is is Kingsford Charcoal briquettes, which incidentally earned the gong for best budget buy for BBQ’s for 2020 in Business Insider’s Best Charcoal For Grilling Guide!

BBQ Season
Adam’s top pick for BBQ coal is Kingsford original. It’s inexpensive and goes a long way.
Get The Right BBQ Tools!

Many of us (OK, maybe it’s just me) think that using a spatula, a long forky-thing and a pair of tongs is plenty for producing a fab BBQ meal.

According to Adam, not so.

“Investing in a quality charcoal smoker or grill and a digital thermometer is key to improving the quality of your BBQ. There’s so many versatile and single style BBQ’s on the market to choose from, that finding the right one for your preferred cook method and style can be tricky.”

BBQ Season
A great BBQ requires a great set of tools, including sharp knives, forks, spatulas, tongs, skewers and more.

Get Social

Try joining an online social group, suggests Adam. “You can fast-track learning by asking the group members what the best BBQ would be to suit your lifestyle, available space and budget. Simply search for a Facebook group in your nearby area, or even ones from around the world to add some international flavour. Experimentation with flavours and techniques can greatly enhance your barbecuing skills and also the quality of your barbecue.”


Buy a BBQ cookbook

Adam stresses this will be a big help in upping your BBQ season game and I couldn’t agree more. I still have a copy of John Laws’ BBQ Cookbook from back in 1996 and it’s awesome. It has 140 barbecue recipes for meat, seafood, vegetables (which I adore and use a lot of) and salads.

It has contributions from restaurateurs, Lawsy’s listeners and good mates as well as good old Golden Tonsils himself. There is also includes advice on equipment, basic techniques and cooking hints. You may have to search online for a copy, but they’re not hard to find.

BBQ Season
John Laws BBQ cookbook offers something for everyone – even the vegetarians and vegans amongst us!

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.

BBQ Season
BBQ Season is here – time for us all to relax, enjoy and have fun!

By Shonagh Walker

Written by Shonagh Walker

Shonagh Walker is a multi-award-winning lifestyle writer and author specialising in beauty, health, fashion, travel, pets and animals. Her career spans over 30 years, and she can't recall a day during that time, where she hasn't been excited to get to work!

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