For all the advances in technology, that supposedly make our lives better, many things truly were just better in the past. One of those things that the passage of time has ruined for most people (along with helmet free bike riding and cracker night) is the humble Aussie BBQ.
You know those shiny things they sell, and most of us own, with wok burners and sinks and taps and … well, you know, those things that they call barbecues? Well they’re not. They’re just outdoor gas grills so stop calling them barbecues! Just go ask a Texan or a South African.
Unfortunately, for many people under the age of perhaps 30 or so, there’s a good chance they’ve never experienced a proper BBQ. The kind that those of us old enough have fond childhood memories of. The humble brick construction up the back yard that Dad would stuff with gum leaves and twigs and lumps of firewood and fire up whenever a BBQ was to be had.
There wasn’t any shiny stainless steel, wokburner, gas bottle nor any boutique beers in sight. But there was plenty of smoke. Smoke in your eyes, smoke in your hair, smoke stinking up your clothes (and the neighbours’ clothes on their washing lines) and flames flaring up to singe the hair off your arms. All in all it was often a rather violent affair, and the snags were often cremated, rather than cooked, but when done right, wow, the flavour! While a gas grill just uses boring old heat to cook the meat, you may as well cook it in a pan on the stove, a proper BBQ flame grills the meat and smokes it as well.
One of the great advantages of living out here in the bush is I don’t need to concern myself with complaining neighbours or council “environment” regulations and can fire up the smoky old BBQ any time I please, without having to worry about the Fire Brigade turning up to douse the flames and ruin the steak.
It really is too bad that many of us thinkof a gas grill as a barbecue and think that’s it, that’s all there is to it, because if you do, you’re really missing out.
So do yourself a favour and get your hands on a wood-fired BBQ, some good steak and a few beers. You will never wont to go back to a gas grill again. If you need any further prodding, here’s some scotch fillet I just cooked up for breakfast: