Once upon a time, I built a barbecue. Not from bricks and mortar mind you – it came in a box from Bunnings, but it was in pieces; many, many pieces.
With the aid of my trusty steed screwdriver, I followed the instructions and within hours had a fully functional barbecue sitting in my kitchen and then opted to celebrate this marvellous feat as only one can—by throwing a snag on the barbie.
But having always been a bit crap at science, I forgot that spraying oil on to an open flame was bad news. And so, after a flash of flame, a loud shriek and a quick trip to check all eyelashes and eyebrows remained intact, my BBQ was christened.
Two years later, I still glance wearily at that very same barbecue every time I go out on to my deck and vow that soon, I will fire up its four burners and have a good, old fashioned, BBQ.
So it was with a little bit of trepidation and a lot of hope that I found myself at Ashgrove Golf Club ready for my first lesson at BBQ School.
Perhaps I would be a master of the barbecue. A goddess of the grill. A hero of the hotplate. Perhaps I’d learn how to grease up the plate without burning my brows.
Although perfect for beginners, the menu for the BBQ Seafood course was intimidating; there were no simple sausages to sizzle. Instead it sounded like a seafood masterclass.
- BBQ King Prawns with Chilli, Lemon & Herb Pesto
- BBQ Spice Rubbed Tandoori Salmon with Mango and Lime Salsa
- BBQ Squid Salad with Snow Peas, Bean Shoots & Nahm Jihm Dressing
- Whole BBQ Baked Snapper with Mediterranean Marinade
Our chefs, Shane and Sammy, were brilliant – they played off each other and explained everything in easy to understand terms, even getting our group involved in everything from peeling and cooking the prawns to chopping up the calamari.
They also encouraged us to share our bad barbecue stories … and nothing can make you feel better about your failures at the grill than to hear others tell their tales of woe.
There was the 50-year-old man who ran out of gas and the young mum who actually blew up her husband’s barbecue while he was in fighting in Afghanistan, resulting in a visit from both the firies and paramedics.
As we laughed at the stories and oohed and ahhed over the perfect way to cook a prawn (only cook until it is medium rare), we felt our confidence growing.
Top four tips for barbecuing:
1. When cooking with alfoil, always use the shiny side down so the heat reflects back onto whatever is being cooked. (Why they don’t explain that on the alfoil box, I do not know…)
2. When planning to cook with calamari, soak it in milk for 3 days first and it will be super tender. You can also use pineapple juice, kiwifruit or pawpaw if you only have a couple of hours, but that will give it a slight citrusey flavour.
3. The easy way to peel and de-poo a green prawn in one swift movement.
4. Always listen for the sizzle. If it doesn’t sizzle, pull it off and crank up the heat. The temperature of your BBQ will always drop as soon as you put food on, so take that into account with cooking times and temperatures.
And so, with a little help from BBQ School, I have started planning my first barbecue featuring the prawns and the salmon. I’ve even roped a few friends and family in to give another one of the courses a try. Cocktails and canapés, anyone?