Barbecues are very popular in Australia on many public holidays, such as New Year, Australia Day, and even for Christmas dinner.
Some people think barbecue food is very crude, too tough and often burnt. However, this is only the case if you don't cook properly. Think of the barbecue hotplate as a big frying pan or wok. Use the same care you use in the kitchen, and you can produce a range of delicious food.
Make sure the BBQ grill is hot before you put any meat on it.
Let chops and steaks rest for some time after cooing before you cut them. This helps the meat keep in the flavour.
Cook sausages (or snags, as Aussies call them), on a medium-low heat. Turn them regularly for even cooking.
Thin steaks are best. Thicker steaks risk overcooking. Only turn them once. Don't cut them to see if they're done, just press gently with the tongs. Rare steak will be soft to the touch.
Burgers are also easier to manage if they are thinner. You can buy them readymade, or make your own. Add a little grated apple and red wine to the mixture, also chilli to taste.
For kebabs, soak wooden skewers in water overnight to keep them from burning. If you use metal skewers, rub oil on them to stop the meat from sticking.
Thinly sliced potatoes and onion rings are a good addition to any barbecue. Cook them right at the edge of the hotplate, where the heat is less intense. It takes longer, but prevents burning.
Calamari (squid) is best if it is fresh. In any case, don't overcook it, or it is as tough as rubber.
Soak prawns for two hours in a marinade of crushed garlic, 2 Tbsp lemon juice and 3/4 cup olive oil. Peel and de-vein the prawns first, but leave the tail. Prawns cook very quickly, one or two minutes each side.