Kitchen Tips

How to: Barbecue

All you need to know about barbecuing including selecting the right cut of meat, how to know when it's done and storage tips.

The great Aussie barbecue is synonymous with meat, so cook it perfect every time with our easy guide that'll have you selecting and grilling like a pro.
Australians love their meat. We are now the largest per capita consumers in the world of meat and chicken. Increasingly, we are interested in the origin of produce: the effect it has on the environment, animal welfare and the farmers. We can make a difference, so where possible, buy direct from farmers or local butchers. We should be looking for quality rather than quantity.

Grass fed

Grass-fed or pasture-fed meat is raised and finished on grass. The fat will be yellower than grain-fed and there may be less fat marbling, depending on the breed. You may notice it's a little chewier than grain-fed, but it's not as noticeable in slow-cooked meals. Grass-fed meat tends to have a more complex flavour.


Organic meat and poultry is produced where the animals are raised free of synthetic chemicals, herbicides and pesticides. The use of antibiotics, hormones, preservatives and genetically modified organisms are banned for meat to be certified organic. Check the labels for an accredited certification.

Meat selection

Good choice selecting the right cut of meat for the right cooking method is the most important. Which cuts are best for the barbie?
  • Lamb Chump chops, loin chops, trimmed lamb steaks, butterflied leg, cutlets.
  • Beef Fillet, rib eye / scotch fillet, sirloin/ New York/porterhouse, T-bone, rump, ribs, round, flank/skirt.
  • Pork Medallions, cutlets, fillet, ribs, leg steak, scotch fillet steaks (neck).


A thicker steak is easier to cook rare. Trim excess fat, leaving a little to keep meat moist. Thickness is the most important consideration for timing. Boneless cuts take less time than those with a bone and tender cuts take less time than more resistant cuts.

Warm up

Remove meat from the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes before cooking. This takes the chill off the meat, allowing it to cook more evenly. Cold meat placed in a hot pan or barbecue can cause the meat to tighten and become tough.


Beef and lamb are at their best slightly under-done rather than over-done. Resting time will often cook and set the flesh a little further. Pork and poultry is nicest when it's just-cooked, that is, not under, not over. No pressure. Minced meat in patties, burgers, meatballs, meatloaf and sausages should all be cooked through and not served rare or pink for hygiene reasons. Insert a skewer into the thickest part; it is ready to eat if the juices are clear, not pinkish.


Keep raw meat in a non-plastic dish, loosely covered with plastic wrap. Place in the meat compartment or bottom shelf of the fridge so it doesn't drip on other foods. Don't store raw and cooked meat in the same compartment.


After meat is cooked, resting allows the juices to settle, making the meat more succulent. Rest grilled or pan-fried meat and poultry, loosely covered with foil, for 5-10 minutes; rest a cooked roast or whole chicken for 15-20 minutes.

Cutting and carving

Cutting meat across the grain will give a more tender slice. Meat is composed of small and large muscle fibres. The 'grain' of the meat is the direction in which these fibres run. Cutting across the grain, either before or after cooking, severs these fibres, making the meat more tender.

Flavour factor

Meat can easily be transformed with delicious marinades. These two classic marinades are our some of our favourites. Simply combine, then marinate your meat for 3 hours or overnight before cooking. Always remember to discard excess marinade before cooking.
Thyme & dijon marinade:
Combine ¼ cup lemon juice, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 1 clove garlic, crushed, 1 teaspoon thyme leaves and ½ teaspoon ground white pepper.
Red wine marinade:
Combine ½ cup red wine, 2 cloves garlic, crushed, 1 teaspoon roughly chopped rosemary and ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil.

More From Women's Weekly Food