Aussie BBQ Sauce


It’s funny you know, the differences you find in an activity as simple as cooking food over an open flame. For starters what do you call said activity – barbeque, barbecue, BBQ, grilling or something else – and what do the terms mean? Then there’s the question of what to cook, and even what equipment to use. Let me paint the smoky picture in very broad brushstrokes…

In America-land, grilling is what happens on a charcoal or gas grill, usually with chicken legs and hamburgers and maybe a steak – in suburban backyards. Barbequing is a tradition. It involves an enormous slab of meat being cooked for hours – or days – in a beast of a contraption until it falls off the bone.


In Australia, grilling is what you do in the top section of an oven [broiling for all you Northern Hemisphereians]. Barbecuing takes place in backyards in the same charcoal or gas grill – but it’s called a barbecue or a barbie, has a flat hotplate alongside the grates, and generally turns out sausages and fried onions. Slow cooked fall-off-the-bone roasting is a thing of TV shows and the occasional theme restaurant.

Similarly, barbeque sauce is an item seen in both locations but used very differently.

In America-land it is a marinade, slopped and brushed over items as they cook adding layers of flavour and magic. Recipes are fiercely guarded and defined by regions, states and even families. While in Australia it’s a condiment, used to squeeze over sausages or steaks once the meat is firmly ensconced in a white bread roll. It comes from a plastic bottle and a vat in a factory somewhere.


Here in the land of the long-weekend, today is the Australia Day public holiday, so whether you barbeque, barbecue, BBQ or grill this is my offering to bridge the gap.

A proper bbq sauce, made with a few quintessential Aussie ingredients, perfect for slathering on as a marinade for chicken or ribs, squeezing over a sausage wrapped in a slice of bread, or even topping a hearty Vegan Mushroom and Lentil Burger. So what are you waiting for? Light up the Webber and crack a cold one, it’s time for a BBQ.




  1. says

    Oh I love your version of BBQ sauce. So much more healthier and looks great on those drumsticks.
    Looking forward to your cashew aioli recipe.

    And you’re right. BBQ is quite the phenomena in the US! I personally prefer the American version.

  2. says

    Thanks for the very clear explanation of the differences between barbeques JJ. It is great to see it all spelt out in one place. A very helpful post. Now I’m off to make me some sauce.

  3. says

    I got to experience American BBQ when I was in North Carolina last year…oh the memories.
    I have always wanted to make BBQ sauce and I just love the mango and Vegemite you have used in this recipe. I have bookmarked it for my next sausage sizzle!

  4. says

    Wow, I’ve never known what’s in the making of bbq sauce and I have to say I’m quite impressed. The flavours you’ve used are interesting but I don’t doubt that they work superbly together.

  5. says

    It’s funny I never use the store bought bottled BBQ sauce with anything that is BBQ’d, it is only for hamburgers, steak sandwiches or egg and bacon rolls. Love an American BBQ but also love the simplicity of and Aussie one. Sauce sounds great.

  6. says

    Haha, what a bizarre coincidence that I just posted a very similar post with a recipe for BBQ sauce :) Yours looks delicious, I like the idea of using mango for sweetness – makes it a bit healthier! Personally I think the word ‘broiling’ sounds awful! It sounds a bot too much like “boiling” to me, so makes me think of wet soggy boiled meat/tofu (or whatever it is you are ‘broiling’).


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