Pile on the Food!
Since moving to Australia two years ago, I've come to embrace the BBQ as my friend over the summery Christmas holidays. It is wonderful to get out onto the wind-swept veranda or under the shady trees to fry up a Christmas brunch of eggs, sausages, bacon, and pancakes without heating up the whole house.
And when it comes to Christmas lunch on a sweltering summer's day, there are few things better than a traditional Australian BBQ of grilled meats, heaps of salads, and plenty of cold beer. No self-respecting Aussie would consider a BBQ complete without sausages, burgers, steaks, and big, succulent prawns.
Sausages are simple, achieving flavor through a thorough grilling and lashings of tomato and BBQ sauce. Burgers are towering affairs, a meat patty or steak tucked between a bread roll and layered with onion, salad, sliced beets, fried eggs, bacon, cheese, tomato, and pineapple. They are definitely not for the faint of heart, but absolutely delicious. Prawns are tossed straight onto the BBQ hot plate or brushed with garlic oil and grilled until smoky.
Some of my Aussie friends include fresh fish and other seafood. I love doing a big Tasmanian salmon, split and piled with onions sautéd in brown sugar and mustard.
Sides include baskets of bread rolls, plenty of cold butter and sauces, a massive pile of grilled onions, and an array of cold salads such as potato salad, coleslaw, and mixed greens.
Dessert continues the cold theme with ice cream and fruit salad. Since Christmas arrived in the middle of summer, cooks get to choose from a wide selection of seasonal fruits such as mango, cherries, pineapple, and stone fruits.
Everything is washed down with icy bottles of Australian beers like XXXX and Melbourne Bitter, though in recent years craft beers have become more popular.
Family, Destination, and Fun
Many Aussies stick close to home for their Christmas BBQ, happy to kick back with family and friends. But many others pack up everything and head out of town. Swimming is a big part of an Aussie Christmas BBQ whether it's in a pool, creek, ocean, lake, or dam, so when planning a holiday destination, water is vital.
Some head to one of Australia's innumerable pristine beaches where they can feast in between dips in the ocean, a bit of surfing, and rousing games of beach volleyball. Others head to the cooler weather of the mountains, choosing between a cabin, trailer, or tent for a few days of camping in the beautiful Australian bush. For those willing to brave the heat, games of cricket and football never go amiss.
With great food, cold beer, and gorgeous surroundings, an Australian-style Christmas BBQ is a fabulous way to ring in the holiday season.
All photos are courtesy of the author.