Raise your humble barbie to greatness

27th December 2020 | Eativity editors

Who doesn’t love a summer barbecue? But while sausage sangas will always have their place, with so many of us likely to be spending more time entertaining friends and family at home this summer, it would be handy if we had the kind of grill skills that can elevate the classic backyard barbie to something extra special. To help you do just that, Australian Beef has assembled the Beef BBQ Squad – steak pro Pip Pratt, Texas smoking superstar Randi Thraves and barbecue expert Mitchell Davies – each sharing their expert tips, hacks and mouth-watering recipes so Aussies can up their BBQ game this summer.

Squad goals: BBQ experts Mitchell Davies, Randi Thraves and Pip Pratt.

Leading the squad, is Pip Pratt, Head Chef at Bistecca – arguably one of the best steak restaurants in the country – who’ll be sharing a BBQ sirloin with Mexican-style pepper and almond puree (recipe below). His hot tips for barbecue greatness?

“My secret to a beautiful steak crust, flavour and texture is to dry the sirloin for 24 hours on a rack in your fridge before removing it about 10 minutes before cooking,” he says.

“Try using canola oil when cooking on the barbie, not olive oil, as it has a higher smoking point, which means it won’t leave a bitter taste.

“When seasoning your steak, remember the three-part salt to one-part pepper ratio. And lastly, don’t forget to rest your steak for half the amount of time you cooked it – easy to remember and so important.”

Native Texan Randi Thraves is an expert in low and slow barbecuing.

Next up, we have Randi Thraves, owner of Texas BBQ Smoking Hot n Saucy in the Hunter Valley, who’s dropped a tasty Cajun-style rump steak recipe with a southern potato salad (recipe below) to bring a bit of Texas flavour for Aussies to savour.

“When you’re at the butchers, ask for a cut with a little bit of fat on the outside,” she says. “This is what gives rump steak that unique tasty flavour.

“For best results, oil the steak, not the barbecue. This will avoid flare-ups, which risks burning your steak.

The best way to know when that choice cut is done? Use a meat thermometer.

Lastly, Executive Head Chef at The Lantern Group Mitchell Davies fires up a crowd favourite with some truly tasty carne asada tacos (recipe below) and shares his pro barbecuing tips.

“If you don’t have a fancy barbecue, you can still cook a great steak on a gas grill,” he says. “Close the lid while you’re heating it to get it nice and hot. This will result in a smoky flavour and dark colour on your meat.

“You can also substitute cuts – an oyster blade or flat iron steak are good alternatives to quality rump or sirloin steaks. Use an instant read thermometer to take the guesswork out of the required doneness.”

Ready to raise the steaks? Check out the BBQ Squad’s next-level barbie recipes below, and get ready to be crowned barbecue king or queen at your next backyard bash.

For more BBQ Squad grilling tips, sizzling recipes and advice on choosing the best cuts of meat, head to australianbeef.com.au

Pip Pratt’s BBQ sirloin, charred pico de gallo, BBQ broccolini & almond puree

Serves 2
Prep time 20 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes

You’ll need:

1 x 400-500g sirloin steak
Broccolini, to serve 2
Salt and pepper
Canola oil

For the almond puree

100g almonds, peeled
50ml white vinegar
150g crusty bread
1 clove of garlic
½ a lemon, juiced
280ml vegetable oil
70ml olive oil

For the pico de gallo

2 red capsicums
3 long red chillis
1 small onion
4 ripe tomatoes
80ml olive oil
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of salt
30ml white wine vinegar

Method:

The night before

1. Toast almonds in a pan or oven until amber in colour, then soak overnight in 250ml water.
2. Take sirloin out of pack. Leave uncovered for up to 24 hours on a rack in fridge.

On the day

1. Take the steak out of the fridge, oil with a little canola oil and season with salt and pepper using a three-parts salt to one-part pepper ratio.
2. Drain soaked almonds over crusty bread, leaving bread to soak in the juice and vinegar.
3. Blend almonds in a blender for 30 seconds, then add the soaked bread, leftover soaking mixture, garlic, lemon and salt. Blend all ingredients for 1 minute. Once combined, add the oils to emulsify into a chunky puree. Taste for seasoning and zing. Cover and set aside.
4. Rub all vegetables in a little vegetable oil and season lightly with salt. Grill over a high heat on the BBQ. Blacken the capsicums and chillies and “burn” the tomatoes until well charred. Slowly grill the onion and the garlic to cook out the rawness. Once the capsicum and chillis are blackened, put in a bowl and cover for 10 minutes to steam off the skins.
5. Place the onion, tomatoes and squeezed out roasted garlic in the food processor. Rub the skins off the capsicums and chillis and de-seed. Place in the food processor. Pulse together with the olive oil, fresh garlic and salt. Taste for seasoning and spice. This should be a rough, chunky salsa, not a puree.
6. Take the steak and place on the hottest part of the BBQ. Flip every two minutes until at your desired doneness to ensure an even cook.
7. Rest the steak for half the time you cooked it (use a wired rack to ensure it doesn’t sit in juices and continues to cook on the plate, which could result in overcooking).

Tips

• Leaving the sirloin steak in the fridge overnight, or up to 24 hours dries the steak out slightly, giving it a better crust, texture and flavour.
• Use canola oil not olive oil to cook steak. It has a higher smoking point.
• If you prefer a spicier salsa, leave the seeds in one or more of the chillies.
• You can try using sea salt flakes to season as it melts better into the steak when cooking.

Randi Thraves’ Cajun-style rump steak with a southern potato salad

Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes

You’ll need:

4 rump steaks
Salt
Cajun seasoning (or a blend of paprika and garlic salt with a pinch of cayenne pepper and chilli powder)

For the potato salad

4-5 medium sized potatoes
4 hard-boiled eggs
1 bunch of spring onions
1 cup of chipotle mayonnaise
1 cup of grated cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

For the green citrus salad

2 red capsicums
1 large bowl of mixed greens
1 punnet of vine ripe tomatoes
½ red onion, sliced
1 orange, peeled and sliced
1 grapefruit, peeled and sliced
Vinaigrette

Method:

1. Dice the potatoes into even chunks and boil until soft. Chop up the hard-boiled eggs and mix with boiled potatoes, chipotle mayonnaise and cheese. Chop spring onions and use to garnish the potato salad.
2. Peel orange and grapefruit. Slice fruit and red onion for the salad and set aside.
3. Bring steak to room temperature. Season with salt and a dusting of Cajun seasoning.
4. Take the steak and place it on the hottest part of the BBQ, cooking to 55°C for medium rare or 60°C for medium. Once desired doneness is reached, set aside.
5. Combine all salad ingredients and dress with vinaigrette.

Tips

• Make sure you oil the steak and not the BBQ to avoid the steak burning.
• Use a sprig of thyme dipped in oil to brush the steak before cooking.
• Rest steak for half the cooking time.

Mitchell Davies’ carne asada tacos

Serves 4 (allows 3 tacos per person)
Prep time 45 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes

You’ll need:

3 x 350g scotch fillet
2 packets of 35g fajita seasoning
1 packet of Greek feta, crumbled
1 packet of flour tortillas (street taco size)
1 baby gem cos lettuce, shredded
30ml extra virgin olive oil
100ml Japanese-style mayo
Lime wedges to serve
Your favourite hot sauce (optional)

For the green tomato verde

500g green tomato or tomatillos, halved
½ brown onion, diced
3 garlic cloves
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and diced
½ cup coriander, chopped
Lime juice to taste
Sea salt to taste

For the pico de gallo

5 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 red onion, diced
1 bunch of coriander, finely chopped
Sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Mix olive oil and fajita spice together and apply liberally to scotch fillet. Let steak marinate for 30 minutes and come to room temperature.
2. Make pico de gallo by mixing all ingredients together and seasoning with salt.
3. Light BBQ and bring grill to heat. Close the lid to ensure grills are nice and hot.
4. Make green tomato verde by baking the green tomatoes in the oven for 10 minutes at
250°C. Combine in food processor with all other ingredients.
5. Cook steak and toast tortillas for 30 seconds on each side.
6. Assemble tacos by placing some mayo on a tortilla, laying some baby gem cos lettuce and sliced scotch fillet on top and adding a spoonful of green tomato verde.
7. Sprinkle with crumbled feta and pico de gallo.
Serve with lime wedges and your favourite hot sauce.

Tips

• If you don’t have time to make the tomato verde, use one cup of store-bought sauce
• Close the hood on the BBQ while it heats up to give the steak a smoky flavour.
• Use an instant thermometer to achieve perfectly cooked steak.
• Ask your butcher for a 3cm-thick scotch fillet. Any thinner and it’s likely to overcook.

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