bbQ is, admittedly, drawing a long bow, and I have to confess we’ve arrived at this juncture after consideration and rapid rejection of ‘Q is for Queen Bee’, ‘Q is for Quandry’ (no kidding) and ‘Q is for Quirky’ (shudder).
Let’s start with a quick quiz: what does the term ‘bbQ’ mean for you?
2. Bunnings , Saturday morning
3. Shiny machines the size of small cars
4. Blokes, in packs, putting the world to right
5. All of the above
I approached today’s topic with some trepidation, chiefly because I have no qualifications whatsoever.
Well, that’s not entirely true: I’m as happy to worship at the altar of the burnt snag as the next person, just don’t ask me anything about gas bottles, or secret marinades, or standing with one hand on hip, jabbing at the air with a pair of long-handled tongs.
Once I approached the topic as an opportunity to learn, things did start to heat up, as it were.
Did you know that there is an historical association between barbecuing and cannibalism?
No, me either.
You can learn more about this, and much, much more, in Andrew Warnes’ book, Savage Barbecue.
We take our barbies pretty seriously in Australia.
We also love their commercial possibilities: from election days to university orientation to scout hut sausage sizzle, is there any other all-purpose fund-raiser as guaranteed crowd pleasing as a bbQ?
In the United States though, barbecuing has moved beyond the realm of weekend pastime to become a Dark Art subject to intense rivalry and even hostility.
Speaking of Dark Arts, I’m beginning to wonder if there’s not something in that.
When I looked back over the year, I was amazed to discover that EVERY SINGLE LETTER we’ve explored this year offers something that works with bbQ.
Don’t believe me?
Apple: Thick slices, grilled. Yep, health food bbQ.
Bay: Put young leaves inside a whole fish, or dampen branches of bay leaves and place directly on the grill, under the fish.
Chook: Nom nom, a BBQ Whisperer, who wished to remain anonymous, makes a spectacular offering of barbecued butterflied chicken.
Dune: Being by the seaside makes everything taste better, but especially snags on a barbie.
Eucalypt: The discussion on the fascinating Smoking Meat Forums was split 50/50 on the suitability of eucalypt wood for a bbQ fire. Aussie BBQ Forum reckons it's a goer.
Fairy: You think this was a human invention? Uh uh, surely it was the hand of the Spirit World that guided the caveman to drop the first dino haunch on the campfire.
Grass: For sitting and lying on, and for catching the drips.
Hive: A barbie draws the punters, like bees to the honeypot.
Incinerator: Like a bbQ, but one that doesn’t produce food.
Junk: The contents of a lesser snag. Try not to think about it.
Kitchen: The opposite of the bbQ experience. Theoretically.
Lime: For dousing the top of the shrimp you’ve chucked on the barbie.
Magic: Meat + fire. Hello boys.
Nightshade: Grilled eggplant and capsicum is ace, and let’s not forget the holy ointment, tomato sauce.
Occasion: It certainly is if you’ve fired up the barbie!
Play: No way, Jose. Standing around with a beer, occasionally jabbing at the chops is definitely work, not play. Very tough, manly work.
We’re barrelling towards Spring, so if your inner hipster is keen to create a retro cool ‘cue, here are some great designs from the above-mentioned authority.
To stoke the flames you could use wood, or spice things up with this brilliant list of five works of feminist literature that make great barbecue kindling.
So grab a slice of fake white bread, whack a snag across the diagonal, zigzag on the sauce, and have yourself a very happy day.