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.
Aussie BBQ Sauce
While the act of barbequing is a very Australian activity, BBQ sauce generally comes from a plastic bottle… yikes. This Aussie twist uses a pinch of Vegemite for a savory, salty kick – and the most Aussie of all fruits, the mango, for sweetness. Australia, meet BBQ sauce, I think you’ll get along just fine.
- 1 c tomato passata
- 2 Tbsp molasses
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp Vegemite*
- 1/4 c mango puree, from fresh mango
- 1 Tbsp whiskey, optional
Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Simmer 20 minutes until thick.
Pour into serialized bottle to store. Keeps in fridge for 2-3 weeks. Freeze any leftovers in a small ice cube tray so small portions can be defrosted.
Use to top sandwiches and burgers, or as a marinade for meat prior to cooking over hot coals – no matter what you call it.
- Vegemite: if you don’t have access to Vegemite, marmite or another similar spread, simply use a splash of soy sauce, tamari, worcestershire sauce or even dark beer.
gluten free // dairy free // vegan // soy free // refined sugar free