How grouse is Australia Day? Summer’s in full swing and the birds are chirping; I reckon they know it’s a public holiday.
Australia Day is about relaxed entertaining. Leave the fine china in the cupboard and forget what they taught you at finishing school. This is singlet weather. There’s time for formality when we’re all back in sleeves. In the meantime, fire up the barbie. It’s time to kick back with friends and family, contemplate a cooling beverage, and have a yarn.
For most of us, Australia Day means taking the day off and letting your hair down. When you get right down to it, the most true blue Aussie thing you could do for a feed is to eat whatever you feel like. If what you feel like is something uniquely antipodean then have a crack at some national icons like lamingtons, pavlova, macadamia nuts, kangaroo steaks, or ANZAC biscuits. Or if you really want to go the extra mile, build a fire and cook some beer damper. It’s probably gonna be a hot day though, so take a look at the fire bans before you collect any kindling.
The most iconic Australia Day beverage is beer. Here at Outdoor Living Direct, we rather like beer. But I’m gonna bet you don’t need beer explained. Other iconic Aussie beverages include Milo, Bundaberg Rum and Schweppes and Kirk’s soft drinks. If you’re making damper, pair it with billy tea.
Fire in the Hole!
For many of us, Australia Day means barbecue. And for many of us, barbecueing means firing up a good old gas burner barbecue and cooking on the grill. But that’s not the only way!
Cooking on the grill of a gas barbecue is popular for a reason: you get a ripper feed. But if you’re keen to give something different a go then why not try digging a firepit? Pit cooking is often looked at as an American import, but in many ways it’s the most fair dinkum Australian way to barbecue: the First Australians were cooking their meat in a firepit long before any other form of barbecue made its way to our shores.
The grill of a gas burner barbecue works by applying direct heat; this is great for steaks n snags. Pit cooking uses indirect heat, so you can roast larger bits of meat. “Low N Slow” is the name of the game here: dinner’s gonna take a while. 6-12 hours in the pit is more or less normal, depending on the size of the meat.
So how do you do it? Well, if you wanna cook in a pit, there’s no way around it..
..you’re gonna need a pit. Dig! You’ll want it 90-100cm deep, and about 15-30cm larger on each side than the food you’ll be cooking. Line the bottom and sides of the pit with volcanic rocks, then find something to cover the pit with.
On pit cooking day, get things started by building a large fire in the pit. Keep it roaring for an hour or so, then let it burn down to coals. You want a big whack of toasty hot coals. They’re cooking your dinner. Once the fire has died down enough, wrap your meat in foil and damp hessian, put it in the hole, then cover. Check this site out for a more in-depth discussion of pit cooking.
Maybe you want to give pit cooking a go but don’t want to dig a great big stinking hole in your lawn. Or maybe you do, but your significant other won’t allow it. Either way, no need to miss out! We’ve got it sorted with our portable firepits.
If there’s gonna be kids at your Australia Day celebration, think up some activities for them. For their sake, of course, but for everyone’s sanity too. Children with nothing to do are often a pain. Dress ups are a great option. Go for costumes that fit the theme: things like swagmen with beards and cork hats, convicts with a ball and chain, or bushrangers with revolvers and Ned Kelly helmets.
Grown-ups need a lot less guidance; most of us know how to enjoy food, drinks, a reclining solution, and the finest of company. That said, a spot of backyard cricket is a bit of fun. Two-up is another traditional Aussie pastime; it’s been a favourite of convicts since the eighteenth century, and was beloved by our diggers in the trenches of World War One. Strictly speaking, you’re only supposed to put money on this game on ANZAC day; keep the bets friendly so nobody loses their shirt.
Less traditional, but just as Aussie, is the simple dress competition. This is a bit like a fancy dress competition, only it’s not. Australia Day is about being relaxed, so the winner can only be whoever has put the least amount of effort into their attire. Think this is easy? If you’re playing to win, it’s fiendishly difficult: as soon as you go to any effort to make it look like you haven’t gone to any effort then you’ve gone to too much effort. Whoever thought Australia Day might be so confounding? It’s quite a brain twister; I think you’ll need another beer.
The next thing you might do is sing the national anthem together. See how much you can remember. Hopefully, not all of it; if you can sing the second verse then you’re not properly Australian. You might prefer the Hottest 100, or whatever tunes you feel like really. It’s your party.