An Australian barbecue
The City barbecue.
It might be on a balcony on the thirtieth floor in down-town Melbourne, Sydney or in the back yard of a suburban home or even out in the bush, but the Australian barbecue is still the most common place to find Australians on a sunny weekend holiday.
The marvellous thing about Australia is outside living. We do a lot of eating and drinking outside as you will see by walking alongside the Yarra river in Melbourne's heart . You will soon spot all the coin-in-slot barbecues provided along the rivers edge right near the city centre. On a warm weekend all the barbecues are well occupied and barbecue etiquette becomes important.
Barbecues on the Yarra
If you are using a council riverside barbecue and others are waiting it is nice to share. If you are staying all day and cooking for 50 people and will be using the barbecue all day that's ok too, as there are lots of barbecues.
As with many western societies it is the men who do the cooking outside. Some of us are not allowed near her kitchen, yet outside is different, all men are seen to be able to scorch animal flesh and burn vegetables equally well.
We have social gatherings at barbecues, barbecues after weddings, business meeting barbecues, any excuse at all really.
We do not put shrimp on our barbecues you poor deluded souls who saw Paul Hogan's ads in America!
We put king sized prawns on our barbecues the size of the pissy little lobsters you see in restaurants, and we eat dozens of em each!
They are huge, fresh and delicious, tasting a lot like crayfish. We also like to have sausages and at least three cuts of beef which we pour virgin olive oil on with lashes of garlic and onion sea salt and two peppers. The more gentile put vegetables on skewers and marinate them in all sorts of sauces. Skewers with lamb and vegetables are pretty popular too.
Australia has the best beer on this planet and you will see mostly Australian beer at barbecues even today when we have beer from all over the world.
We know that Australian beer is tops and drink gallons of it. Barbecues are getting earlier these days with drink driving laws meaning most use taxis if they intend to "have a few."
Many of us have flash barbecues that look more like a restaurant kitchen on wheels and cost thousands of dollars. We love to show of a new BBQ.
The camp fire barbecue
If you are lucky enough to go to a bush barbecue you will be in for a feast. Everything in the bush to do with food is about big eaters and big portions. The steaks often won't fit on your plate, people roll up with enormous amounts of beer and meat. Some of the meat is home grown as are the vegetables and often even the beer.
The beer will have to taste like good Australian beer or it is rightly branded as "camel's piss" and the brewer will be humiliated. You cannot get away with something as important as beer not being right at an Australian barbecue.
"It's no bloody good mate, she tastes like bloody camels piss! Don't embarrass yerself, tip the bloody stuff on the barbecue, it should clean it, just don't get any on me steak, it tastes like bloody battery acid!"
Bush yarns start after the beer flows and I feel sure Banjo Paterson that famous Australian poet must have got some ideas from the tall stories told around the original barbecues when they were called camp fires.