Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without a proper Christmas barbie. Twenty years ago, it was common to follow European tradition and have our big dinner indoors, but with the sweltering heat, we’ve come to realise that we’re better taking advantage of Australian summer and moving the party outdoors.
It’s the perfect time of year to barbecue in Perth, guaranteed sunshine, chilled beers and plenty of prawns sizzling away. But whether you’re hosting an intimate event for just family members or a big bash on Boxing Day to get together with friends, we’ve gathered a list of tips to make sure you achieve legendary status for your Christmas BBQ in Perth.
* Booze – and plenty of it.
Make sure you have the Champagne on ice, plenty of beer, some crisp Chardonnay and take a note out of the Spaniards book, who enjoy ice-cold manzanilla sherry paired with their turkey and ham.
We’ll talk more about this later. Although it’s not as much a traditional food of outdoor kitchens in Perth on Christmas Day, turkey is synonymous with the season, and it’s easier to prepare than you think. People will remember if you cooked a turkey on the barbecue, so even if it’s nothing more than a talking point (but we’ll ensure it’s not with our tips!) then it’s necessary.
If you’re having people around to your house, you had better make sure it has festive flair. I’ve seen Perth outdoor kitchens festooned with tinsel so don’t think you have to keep the decorations just for indoors, although do ensure that there’s nothing too close to the barbecue – no one wants 1 grilled mini Santa for lunch.
* Sun cream
Yes, someone will have forgotten to put some on and Uncle Bill will have a red nose by the end of the day, one way or another. Stock up on sun cream cos the Christmas season is a hot one!
Whilst people are waiting on the main event, make sure you have some light snacks to keep them going. As Christmas is usually a boozy affair, you don’t want anyone falling asleep in the sunshine cos they had too much booze on an empty stomach.
For your Christmas alfresco bbq to go off with a bang, have some fun things to divert people from hanging around the barbecue. We’ll talk about Christmas games to keep people occupied later on in the article.
So, first things first, the food.
I mentioned snacks. Prawns are a pretty much a given for any alfresco bbq in WA and because they are quick and easy to do, they’re perfect to start or add at any time. What you want to do is add some element that makes them a little more special – such as wrap them in pancetta or whip up a coconut marinade to add some white to your Christmas.
Skewers of any kind are great because they are fast and easy. Try a Mexican street corn one for some spicy flavour, veggies are always quick and easy and you can do some kangaroo if you want to add some Australia to your Christmas feast.
If you want it fresh and tasty, try some tomato, basil and melon skewers with a balsamic reduction.
Turkey and Ham
Although it may not be something you’ve done before, or even considered it’s actually pretty easy to cook a turkey on the barbecue. Just throw your huge turkey on in the morning and it should be ready by lunch.
Ok, not quite.
You will need to prep it the day before, making sure it’s washed and making stuffing if you desire. Before cooking, you can add rosemary, thyme and lemon into the cavity and smear butter across the skin, which you can also add whilst cooking. When this starts cooking on the barbie, those smells are going to be enticing.
Turkeys are best cooked over indirect heat, so if possible move the coals to the side and let the heat circulate around the barbecue. If you get a 5kg turkey, it’s going to take around 2 hours and 15 minutes. The result will be juicy meat so much better than from an oven-cooked turkey and a crispy skin that will have your guests smacking their lips wanting more.
Smoked ham can also be done on the barbecue, and this will be another show-stopped to your guests. You can make your glaze a day or two before and leave in the fridge, then pop the ham in a foil tray to cook nicely on the barbecue. Simply delicious.
Keep dessert sweet and simple. Barbecued chestnuts for anyone? Drizzle them with warm chocolate sauce for a truly irresistible Christmas treat. Or toast some marshmallows and grill some fruit, and make a decent fondue on the barbecue with cream and some of those festive choccies out of the tin. Add some run or liqueur for the adults.
For decorations, festive fairy lights look fabulous strung around outdoor kitchens and you can pop some scented bowls on the table with things like cinnamon, orange peel or if you’ve made a festive punch, a bowl of this will be much appreciated for what it packs in taste and colour.
Welcome guests with a dry cider when they arrive. The apples make it festive and it will be appreciated on our hot summers’ day. This is much easier than preparing mulled wine, although you can if you wish.
Make it silly from the start by having Santa hats and reindeer antlers for all your guests.
Christmas charades is always a good one. Split everyone into two teams, and let the other guess what the Christmas movie or song is. If your group is slightly more raucous, a Christmas dance-off may be the source of much hilarity. Use the garden as your stage, pick a Christmas number and battle it out. This game will need some judges!
So, there are your tips for a fantastic Christmas Perth BBQ that people will be talking about for awhile. For the right equipment, call Barbecue Bazaar on (08) 9240 7188 and we’ll sort out your outdoor bbq kitchen and make sure you’re well equipped for the season.