Tag Archives: BBQ

The Big B/C

Making Bacon

G’day Tony.

Well, I’m a little stunned. No, I’m mortified.

How can the UN tag what can only be described in every other way a ‘superfood’ as cancer causing? Of course, I’m talking about bacon.

Alright, so they don’t say it actually causes cancer, but the research suggests that it can increase the risk of certain types of cancer. It does make me wonder though. Given our intake of counter-cancer causing foodstuffs like gin and tonic, I wonder whether this still holds true?

I notice you’ve sourced some locally made bacon? There are many local producers here, unsurprisingly. But just to mix things up a little, I’ve started making my own.

It actually pretty simple, though I use a nitrite mix, rather than the traditional salt cure. But that makes it easier to get some flavours into the meat. The last batch had some bourbon and maple syrup and of course some hickory smoke from the smoker box.

The wonderful thing about the web is accessing some really high quality pork belly for purpose. While there is plenty of pork at the local butchers, I’m just not sure of its source. Am now hunting down some old fashion breed with a good mix of meat and fat.

I wonder if I can source some of that elusive Wagyu pork that one might find in Hong Kong?

Happy bacon-ing in the interim.




Summer sausage

Xmas cupcakes

Hi Tony.

Ah, ok, so it’s about 2 months since the last blog. My fault! I know I wanted to. I intended to, but stuff got in the way. The festive season for one. Speaking of which, happy new year!

So, we ended up having a quiet Christmas. No travelling this year, just time to catch up on overdue things and spend a little time getting fit and losing the “post-wedding/honeymoon, I ate too much good food” extra weight.

Despite the promise of summer, Melbourne has had a mixed bag of weather. Only some of which has been BBQ worthy. Not letting some rain and thunderstorms dent my enthusiasm, I’ve made another batch of sausages. Every batch seems to get a little better. Or more to the point, I seem to learn a little more.

Thai fixings

I thought back to when we made a batch of Thai chicken sausages and thought I had better give that another crack. Here’s something I learnt this time…mincing chicken in a domestic style mincer…doesn’t work for sh*t. Not sure if you will detect any frustration there, but there was plenty! Tip for young players…buy minced chicken!

Ok, another thing I learned. I bought some collagen casings from my butcher about 9 months ago and kept them in the fridge. Who would have guessed, but they dried out a little much and became fragile. So I had to adapt. I figured out a way to still use them (winning)! Easy as it turns out, simply fill them to ½ to ¾ what you would normally do and after a few mins the mix will soften the casing enough that you can squeeze the mix down further and properly fill the casing. Eh, voile!

Thai chicken sausages

So here’s what I made this time:

  • Pork, sage, apple and brandy;
  • Trusty Italian (pork, sherry, fennel seeds and parsley);
  • Pork, dried apricot, pistachio and saffron; and
  • Thai style chicken (chicken, ginger, garlic, chilli, fresh turmeric, lemongrass, kafir lime and coriander).

Italian sausages

The favourite? The Thai chicken. Pity I can’t do it anymore, but chicken, roast garlic and aged cheddar is pretty tasty too.

I really need to write down the quantities I use as I do the typical thing and play each by ear. I got the chicken and the Italian ones right, but more apple and brandy is needed and heaps more saffron.

All in all, that is about 6.5-7kgs of sausages. Freezer is full again!

Home made

Have you tried out your mincing/sausage machine yet? I would think with the abundance of interesting flavours you can get to, there would be some pretty fun options? I’m keen to try some duck based ones. The extra fat in the duck would help them hold up nicely I would think.

Don’t forget, get the leanest pork you can find and then add about 25% by weight of pork backfat. Even add some of that to the chicken sausages. Any less than that and the sausages dry out too much when you cook them. Oh, and I know I am preaching to the converted, but only ever BBQ them and on low heat. Slow is best.


Spring Lamb


Hi Tony.

I see you were in New Zealand?! How was that? Did you survive the Savalanche?

Spring has sprung here. The weekend at Mt Buller was, well, winter seems like it is over. Warm day on Saturday and foggy, with a little rain on Sunday. Per usual, I worked both days but it was hard to keep the crew motivated in the rain. It wasn’t too hard to convince them that a coffee stop at Koflers was a good idea.

I’m not cooking as much at the moment. Nor are we going out terribly much. Pre-wedding diet don’t you know!

I am lucky enough to get a dinner a week at the local. The Carringbush is doing well to keep things fresh. A recent visit, Mick (one of the managers) let me know he picked up some Yarra Valley truffles from a mate. Who am I to turn down something yummy sprinkled with truffle shavings? There were a couple of offerings, but I found it hard to go past the veal backstrap schnitzel with truffled macaroni and cheese. So much truffly, cheesy goodness!

Mum & dad joined us for a meal later in the week. Royce went the chicken Kiev with lobster & scallop butter and mashed potato with shaved truffle. Also much truffly goodness. Hard to believe, but it was the first time Royce has had truffle.

Had hankering for a burger on Sunday whilst driving back from Buller. So it got me thinking. What could I do only on a BBQ, but be worthy to grace our table. Easy, lamb-burger with all sorts of goodies locked in. Even better, lamb-burger on some fresh home-made Turkish bread. I reckon you can do the bread on the BBQ too. Got to be the easiest bread, other than pizza base. Worth a try if BBQ is your only option.

The bread takes longest to make, so give yourself a good 90 mins:

400gm bread flour
8gm salt
4gm sugar
4gm dry yeast
10ml extra virgin olive oil
300ml water

Carefully weigh the dry ingredients in big bowl and mix. Take temperature of the dry mix. Add the olive oil and then water, but make sure temperature of water adds to 50 degrees with temp of dry ingredients (e.g. if dry mix is 20C, water needs to be 30C). Mix that mess for about 10 mins until the dough begins to pull away from the sides. Cover it with glad wrap and set in warm place for about 90 mins. It should rise to about 3x original.


When you’re good to go, turn it out onto a lightly greased tray very carefully. You don’t want to knock much air out of it. Lightly dust it with flour and/or sesame seeds and press finger tips in to make dents.


Whack in very hot 300C oven for about 10-13 mins. This is why I think you do it on the BBQ.

My lamb burger mix is simple, but oh so good on the fresh, hot Turkish bread. In a bowl, whack in an egg, a handful of chopped parsley, a teaspoon each of ground coriander seeds, cumin, smoked paprika and turmeric.


A splash of olive oil and the minced lamb. To really set if off, crumble some fetta into the mix and form into burger patties.


BBQ those bad boys and serve with some shaved cucumber, char-grilled eggplant and if you can wangle it, some chilli relish.


When are you heading back to the island? Or have you got a BBQ in Bangkok? Not even sure if you can get lamb easily in Thailand?

Better fly, rare moment, so should clean the house or something.



Smoker’s cough


Oh, I get it.

With the advent of review sites like Urbanspoon and Yelp (in the US), you open the door to “professional” reviewers and casual diner/reviewers alike. What I don’t get is complaining about a restaurant experience on social media. What happened to speaking to someone at the venue?

On the other hand, raving about the latest place, because, well, it’s the latest place is equally annoying. In Melbourne the trend is for “south of the river” residents to brave the hipsters in the north to “find” that “undiscovered gem”. Really? You do realise the locals had been eating there for the last 12 months. They’re not anymore.

Wagyu. That’s my beef (pardon the pun).

Over the course of the last few years, we have seen a distinct swing to the use of wagyu beef, except at some fast food joints. But, I was under belief that the whole wagyu thing was that is extensively marbled with fat so that it is uber tender. At least that’s what I encountered with steaks in Japan. So, why is it that every pub, restaurant and burger joint (there are too many of these) is spruiking a wagyu burger? Last I checked ground/minced beef was tender, well, because it was ground/minced. Did I miss something?

Call me cynical, but I suspect this is so we can be charged $20+ for a wagyu burger which is comprised all of those cuts of meat which we just don’t really want to know about. I’m probably happier with a burger made from nice meat from any old bovine for half the price.

Ok, so hindsight is a pretty good thing. Should have considered things a little more last night. But it seemed like a damned fine idea at the time.


Take 1 x 750g rainbow trout (sadly it was farmed, not wild), clean, season and place on BBQ (not over heat) with smoker box full of hickory wood chips. Sounds pretty fine, yeah?

Ok, so taking the washing off the line beforehand would have been sensible.


Despite winter being upon us, I do so like firing the BBQ up drenched in sub-tropical, lush, verdant green foliage. Alright, it currently is a somewhat overgrown jungle.

You’ll be happy to know that the trout was sensational, if I do say so myself. Matched it was a warm middle eastern cous cous salad. Pretty easy, mix some sumac, cumin, ground coriander and fennel seeds with your cous cous and cook per normal. Sprinkle with some goats cheese, pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley.


I know, a healthy meal. Even better with an aged (2009) Petaluma Riesling. So much goodness.