A warm summer evening? A Phillip Island barbeque on the balcony is the best place to be.
And the focus is the barbeque.
I try to keep the barbequeing simple so I can spend more time with family and friends and not standing over the grill!
But first, to make your food extra delicious, give your BBQ a little TLC.
Isn’t it funny how we immediately clean our stove top of spills but our BBQ can go all summer with just a scrape now and then?
Learn how to clean your BBQ so your food tastes sensational!
Don't have a barbeque? Scroll down the page for the location of public electric barbeques and picnic spots on Phillip Island.
How to clean your BBQ
At the start of each summer season, do an all over check of the BBQ.
For a gas BBQ, disconnect the gas, examine the burners, checking for blockages and loose rust. Clean the flame retarder (lava rocks or metal) of burnt-on food – the dirty smoke can contaminate food. Wash all grill parts with soapy water. Check and replace, if necessary, the material (sand or kitty litter) in the drip tray.
Re-assemble and turn on to burn off any cleaning residue. If it’s on a trolley, check the wheels, tighten the joints and perhaps apply some preserving oil to any timber. Regular use of a cover will reduce maintenance needs, especially in a seaside environment.
For a solid fuel BBQ clean out the ashes and check the cooking surfaces, top and bottom – use a wire brush to remove any rust.
During summer, clean the cooking surfaces after every use – or all year if you use your BBQ all year round. This stops food sticking and it will taste better. If your BBQ is stored outside it might keep vermin at bay as well.
While still warm, use a stiff wire brush to remove any remaining food scraps. Wipe over a cast iron grill with paper and cooking oil to avoid rust. On my Phillip Island barbeque, I prefer to use scrunched newspaper (it’s tougher than paper towel).
For a gas unit, some just run the BBQ on high for a few minutes to burn off remaining food traces but I prefer the more manual way.
For a gas BBQ, clean grates and brush down internal surfaces. Regularly remove the barrier above the burners (lava rocks or metal plates) and clean off food. This reduces flaring and flames.
For a solid fuel BBQ regularly clean out the ashes and remove cooked-on food from the grill with a wire brush. This cuts down dirty smoke.
A handy tip when cooking marinated meat is to cover the grill plate with baking paper (it won’t catch fire!) and place the meat on top. The meat cooks just fine and your barbeque is kept free of sticky marinades.
The best barbeque tools
A good cook never blames the tools - use the best!
Light tongs which fit your hand and are long enough to avoid heat/flames are best. Choose an edge that does not cut into meat - large, small or delicate.
A big bladed spatula with a long bent handle is perfect for lifting bigger foods such as a whole fish.
If you like to prick fatty sausages, a fork is handy.
Skewers come in all designs. In my experience, food on round skewers tends to spin around the skewer so is harder to cook on all sides. Flat bladed skewers tend to “hold” the food better so this does not happen. Beware of handles than can heat up. Soak bamboo skewers for a few hours before use to minimize burning.
You will need a few brushes. A basting brush or brushes (some flavours are hard to wash off) are handy. Keep a separate brush for oiling the grill. As mentioned above, a stiff wire brush for cleaning is essential, but not if you have a non-stick surface!
Last but not least, an apron and mitt for protection.
So now it’s time to cook up a storm with your own Phillip Island barbeque!
The Island has a farmer’s market on Churchill Island every fourth Saturday of the month during the year and every Saturday during January. This is a perfect place to buy farm-fresh local food and other gourmet goodies for your Phillip Island barbeque. Fresh produce is also available at markets in Cowes - check them out as well.
And to complement the market, there are two wineries on the island. Go for a tasting!
Everyone has their favourite can’t-be-beaten BBQ recipes, whether it’s meat or salads. The secret is for them to be quick, easy and delicious so there’s more time for relaxing.
Cowes: Mussell Rocks, The Esplanade (picnic tables, shelter, short walk to toilets); Red Rocks, end of Red Rocks Road (picnic tables, toilets, wheelchair friendly); Erehwon Point, The Esplanade (picnic tables, shelter, toilets, playground)
Newhaven: Cnr Phillip Island Road and Forrest Road (picnic tables, shelter, toilets, playground, supermarket)
Rhyll: Foreshore Park near boat ramp (picnic tables, toilets, playground)
Woolamai: Cottesloe Avenue (picnic tables, shelter, toilets, general store)
San Remo: Marine Parade (toilets, playground, picnic tables, shops): Lions Park, Back Beach Road (shelters, picnic tables, toilets, playground, wood fired oven).
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