Barbecue king shares his ultimate guide to hosting the perfect BBQ

A ‘barbecue king’ has shared his guide to hosting the perfect summer BBQ this holiday season – including his go-to cuts of meat, side dishes and his secret sauce recipe.

Adam Roberts – who owned an American-style food truck for several years – said there are a few things to do that will ensure you nail your next outdoor soiree.

‘The perfect barbecue to me is simply cooking over a fire, whether it be in a smoker, an open grill or on a spit,’ Adam told Daily Mail Australia.

Here, the self-taught cook, from Port Macquarie on the mid north coast of New South Wales, reveals his list of dos and don’ts.

Barbecue king Adam Roberts (pictured) has shared his ultimate guide to hosting the perfect summer BBQ - complete with his go-to quality and cheap cuts of meat, side dishes and bread

Barbecue king Adam Roberts (pictured) has shared his ultimate guide to hosting the perfect summer BBQ – complete with his go-to quality and cheap cuts of meat, side dishes and bread

Adam suggested pairing BBQ ingredients with an all-natural charcoal or briquettes

Adam suggested pairing BBQ ingredients with an all-natural charcoal or briquettes

CHARCOAL OFFERS SMOKY, RICH AND DEEP FLAVOURS 

Adam suggested pairing quality BBQ ingredients with all-natural charcoal or briquettes.

‘I would recommend that the BBQ be fuelled by Kingsford Charcoal briquettes [$14.99 from Bunnings]. They’re made from real wood char and in a variety of different wood types to including Applewood, Hickory and Mesquite which each imparts a unique, delicious flavour,’ he explained.

‘The charcoal or briquettes are important because that’s what imparts the beautiful smoky flavours that come through whether you’re grilling or smoking low and slow.’

The co-founder of Australasian Barbecue Alliance said one of the common mistakes people make is grabbing a cheap pack of charcoal.

‘Many folks make the mistake of just grabbing the cheapest charcoal they can find instead of the quality all-natural briquettes, only to find out as they’re eating that the food has an acrid type flavour. Using good quality charcoal makes a massive positive difference to the end product,’ he said.

Adam’s five rules of hosting a BBQ

1. Make sure you plan exactly what you are going to serve, well in advance. Purchase your ingredients a day or two before and do as much preparation as you can well before guests arrive.

2. Use quality cuts of meat and produce but also quality BBQ equipment

3. Designate jobs to family or friends to help spread the workload and only allocate jobs to responsible and competent people who are able to manage their task with minimal assistance. Don’t get Uncle Barry onto the BBQ if you know he burns the curtains off the steaks every time. Bring in a friend of a friend and offer them a slab of ales in exchange for helping the man with the grill for an hour.

4. Prepare a simple but tasty menu by kicking-off with some easy entrées or starters, cook the mains fresh and have a pre-prepared, easy dessert already chilling in the fridge.

5. Don’t forget that you have guests who are there for you as well as the social aspect of the gathering, so be sure you plan to spend as much time with your guests as possible rather than stressing out trying to do all the cooking and serving yourself.

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FIND THE RIGHT CUTS OF MEAT

Adam said his go-to cuts of meat are tomahawk steaks, bone-in rib eyes, beef brisket and racks of pork ribs

Adam said his go-to cuts of meat are tomahawk steaks, bone-in rib eyes, beef brisket and racks of pork ribs

The BBQ cookbook author of Ribs & Sides said his go-to cuts of meat are tomahawk steaks, bone-in rib eyes, beef brisket and racks of pork ribs.

‘I love to cook a few decent sized steaks like a big tomahawk steak or some bone-in rib eyes and serve those sliced up on a board with a Tex-Mex style salad and salsa with a side of soft tacos for easy dining,’ he said.

‘If I’m really trying to impress, I’ll smoke a whole 6kg beef brisket and a few racks of meaty pork ribs with all the trimmings which could take six to eight hours of cooking and preparation time.’

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE CHEAP CUTS

Adam said chicken wings, if done properly, can be super flavourful and great value for money

Adam said chicken wings, if done properly, can be super flavourful and great value for money

Besides cooking quality meat, Adam said there are some ‘underrated’ cheap cuts you should consider serving at your next gathering.

‘Chicken wings, if done properly, can be super flavourful and super value for money and everyone loves a stack of wings as a side or entrée,’ he explained. 

‘Grabbing a kilo of artisan sausages from your local butcher is also a very simple cook up idea.

‘Fire up the charcoal grill or smoker, add the snags or wings and allow that beautiful charcoal to enhance the flavour of the meat.’

He suggested serving wings and smoked sausages with a fresh crispy salad or slaw.

‘Proper barbecued wings or smoked sausages are very hard to beat for flavour and value for money,’ Adam said.

Adam’s simple tricks to cook steak to perfection on a BBQ

To cook the perfect steak, Adam uses the reverse sear method. He said the method is ‘super-easy’ and is ‘by far the best way to cook a steak’.

First, you need a real decent thick-cut steak like a rib eye or scotch fillet, ideally around 400g per steak. Season the steak with kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper and a sprinkle of brown sugar, ensuring a quality amount of seasoning to cover all sides and edges of the steak.

Then add the steak to the smoker (or oven) and gently cook the steak until it reaches the ‘rare internal temperature’ (approximately or 48C or 120F).

Add a sprinkle more seasoning and flash the steak over high heat for a minute or two on each side over a hot grill (or in a pan with oil, garlic and butter) to make a nice crust on the outside. 

Turn the steak a few times over the high heat to ensure an even cook and make sure to take the steak off and rest for a minute or two before serving when it reaches medium-rare on the inside (57C or 135F internal temperature approximately).

Adam said it’s essential to invest in a decent instant-read digital thermometer which will help you determine when your meat has reached its perfect ‘doneness’.

‘When we’re talking steaks – rare, medium rare and medium doneness will have a corresponding optimal ‘internal temperature’ target,’ Adam said.

‘If you cook your steaks to this internal temperature, you’ll have a proper good steak, every time.’

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AVOID COOKING SEAFOOD ON A BBQ

Forget cooking shrimp on a barbie, Adam said he never cooks seafood on a BBQ.

‘I’ve never really liked cooking seafood directly on the barbecue as the smell and juices get right into the BBQ and are really hard to get out. Over time, the fishy smell can get quite off-putting and ruin a perfectly good BBQ,’ he said.

‘If I’m cooking fish or prawns on the BBQ, I’ll use a cast iron pan to contain the juices and control the juices or use a cedar plank in the smoker to hot smoke some salmon to perfection.’

Adam’s secret hot sauce recipe

I love a good hot sauce to compliment most of my grilled meats. 

Here’s a simple way of making a homemade hot sauce which packs a punch but will take your Tex-Mex cook ups to the next level.

INGREDIENTS 

700ml passata (or fine-blend tomato puree)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

3 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper

4 habanero chilli 

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon mustard powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 cups water

METHOD 

In a large pot, add the water and bring to a boil, turn the heat down to medium-high and add the passata, stir occasionally to prevent the passata from sticking, once the passata and water are starting to bubble with heat, add all other ingredients one at a time, stirring in each one before adding another.

Allow the mix to simmer away and reduce for a least 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. 

Once the sauce has combined and reduced, strain the sauce through a sieve into a large bowl or container and allow to cool before placing in the fridge for storage.

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BREAD AND CONDIMENTS

Adam – who competed more than 30 times at a national BBQ championship level -said his favourite type of bread for a barbecue is a crusty loaf. 

‘I really love a good crusty loaf to slice up real thick, lather some garlic butter on and throw on the grill for a few minutes to toast up. My proper-sized chassis doesn’t need any more carbs but crikey grill toast can be good,’ he said.

His go-to condiments are a tomato, basil and red onion salsa or his very own habanero hot sauce recipe which he uses on ‘practically everything’.

The perfect BBQ should always come with a selection of side dishes

The BBQ cookbook author of Ribs & Sides said his go-to cuts of meat are racks of pork ribs

The perfect BBQ should always come with a selection of side dishes and great sauce

Adam said he always serves a 'few decent sized steaks' sliced up on a board with a Tex-Mex style salad and salsa with a side of soft tacos for easy dining (pictured)

Adam said he always serves a ‘few decent sized steaks’ sliced up on a board with a Tex-Mex style salad and salsa with a side of soft tacos for easy dining (pictured)

AND DON’T FORGET SIDE DISHES

The perfect BBQ should always come with a selection of side dishes.

His favourites include grilled portobello mushrooms with garlic butter, maple and sesame seed sticky chicken wings, smoked beef brisket with mac ‘n’ cheese, mascarpone and jamón jalapeno poppers and smoked chorizo Spanish rice.

Despite his fancy side dishes, Adam said a ‘refreshing’ salad is always his go-to. 

‘As much as I love a good slab of “Low N Slow” smoked meat or a beautifully grilled steak, I love a good crisp and refreshing salad on the side,’ he said.

‘It’s hard to go past the Caesar salad with a sriracha mayo dressing. I love to grill up some chunky bacon, pan fry some cubes of leftover sourdough bread in garlic butter to make the croutons, shave some well-aged parmesan and only use the cos lettuce for its wicked crispy and moist crunchiness.’

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