Paul Wilson’s top five tips
for a perfect barbecue
Running four busy kitchens keeps the Melbourne Pub Group’s PAUL WILSON on his toes, but the innovative chef always has time for a barbecue with family and friends. And he takes his barbies seriously. At St Kilda’s funky Newmarket Hotel, Chef Wilson has designed the ultimate barbie cooking zone with three different cooking styles: a wood-fired grill, a Latin spit roast that can fit whole animals and a low-and-slow South Carolina-style pit. But Paul insists amateur barbecue enthusiasts can nail the technique with a kettle-style barbecue at home. Here are his top five tips for a perfect barbie:
1. THE BEST CUT
If you want beef, go for a rib eye, rump, skirt, hanger or sirloin. The best lamb cut for barbecue is the back strap. If you want to cook chops, be sure to wrap the bones in foil as they will burn and taint the meat.
For pork, I reckon ribs are the best cut, but they need a good marinade. Then quickly char them on the grill, just enough to mark them, before wrapping the ribs in foil with your favourite sauce to finish them in the oven until tender.
When cooking chicken joints, it’s best to poach or bake them first with aromatics like garlic, herbs and spices, then re-heat & finish on the barbecue for that unique charred flavour.
2. BIG BIG & NOT TOO LEAN
Barbecuing is a fairly aggressive cooking progress, cooking meat over extreme and varied heats. For this reason, it’s best to choose cuts with increased marbling. Larger cuts (300-600g) are also better because they can be caramelised and nicely charred over a high heat on both sides, and then moved to a cooler part of the grill to cook more gradually. Always make sure you rest the meat before serving.
3. EXPENSIVE IS NOT ALWAYS BEST
When choosing a barbecue, keep it simple and go for a Weber, or kettle-style barbecue. This enables you to introduce aromatic fuels like apple wood, mesquite, hickory or ironbark, which all have fantastic flavours. Use these wood types mixed with charcoal or heat beads. You can buy aromatic wood online from companies like Misty Gully.
4. GET SAUCY
Adding pureed, re-hydrated and sautéed porcini mushrooms with garlic and tarragon to Dijon mustard is a taste sensation. For a punchy relish for beef, mix Greek yoghurt with horseradish, lemon juice, garlic and Tabasco. A fresh béarnaise or barbecue sauce are also real crowd pleasers.
5. ON THE SIDE
Wrap root vegetables such as beetroot, parsnips or pumpkin in foil pouches with salt, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and your favourite herbs with a drizzle of honey and wine vinegar. Bake the pouches directly over shimmering coals until tender, then open up the foil to allow the smoke of the barbecue to flavour your vegetables. This is great served hot, or cold prepared into a delicious salad.
Try Paul’s award-winning food at Circa Bar and Restaurant, the Middle Park Hotel, the Albert Park Hotel and the Newmarket Hotel, with its glamorous new cellar bar, or check out Paul’s latest news here.