Australia was alive with barbecues yesterday (which is still today for some of you), as many good citizens burnt all manner of proteins in the name of patriotism (it being our national day and all.)
I rather belatedly wondered when the Australia Day barbecue ‘tradition’ became established. The short answer arrived at from my short search is - not many decades ago. I did come across a few interesting ‘barbecue’ recipes in my search, which I have put away for a future historical barbecue event.
The first one was under the heading ‘Breakfast Dishes’, and I see no good reason not to start the national day next year with “Ham on the Barbie.”
Fry slices of cold boiled ham; keep warm while you stir into the gravy left in the pan four teaspoonfuls of vinegar, mixed with a teaspoonful of mustard, a teaspoonful of sugar, half a teaspoonful of catsup or chilli sauce and a little pepper. Boil up once and pour on the fried ham. This dish is sometimes called "devilled ham," and is a good spur to appetite.
Western Mail (Perth, WA) March 3, 1894
Barbecued ham appeared again in an article on how to cook ham in The Brisbane Courier of December 10, 1913.
Slice cold boiled ham, and fry it in its own fat. Remove the slices into another dish, and keep it hot while there is added to the fat a teaspoonful of white sugar, a little pepper, and a second teaspoonful of made mustard and three tablespoonfuls of vinegar. Let this boil up once and pour it over the ham. Serve hot.
Of course, seriously dinky-die Aussies won’t eat anything other than our national meat on our national day. I give you a recipe from The Australian Women’s Weekly of October 20, 1934 for the sort of barbecued lamb you have when you don’t have a barbecue.
Slices of cold roast lamb reheated in a sauce made as follows: 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon vinegar, ¼ cup redcurrant jelly, ¼ teaspoon French mustard, salt, and cayenne to taste. Serve with mashed potato and moulds of spinach.
And what would a barbecue be without burgers? Here is a nice idea from The Australian Women’s Weekly of February 19, 1944.
Barbecued Patties (With Apple Rings.)
One pound minced meat, 1 tablespoon chopped onion, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons flour, 2 cooking apples, 1 tablespoon melted dripping or cooking oil, mixed spice, parsley.
Pound together meat, onion, salt, sauce, and flour, and form into patties. Dry fry or grill, turning frequently. Peel, core, and slice apples into ½ inch rings. Saute in dripping or brush with melted fat and grill. Sprinkle lightly with spice while hot. A brushing with brown sugar mixed with spice gives a good glaze and flavour. Serve patties on apple rings, brush with parsley and serve at once. For four.
Quotation for the Day.
The barbecue has endured as an institution because nobody has been allowed to put on an apron and begin monkeying with it.
Columnist in The Queenslander, Brisbane, June 26, 1930.