Australians and Americans have a great deal more in common than many realize. Both cultures were founded by the same pompous monarchy, both consider beery backyard barbeques a God-given right and both cultures excel at surfing. The Ugly Brothers hold Australian Barbeque in the highest regard and are quick to point out that for our daily barbeque on gas grills the Ugly Brothers accept nothing short of the Australian made Turbo Grill by Barbeques Galore for their kill.
NEW!! Read Brother J.P. Ugly's dispatches from the Sydney 2000 Olympics
Brother Just Plain (J.P.) Ugly, makes his home near Canberra, Australia from which he scours (though some may say scavenges) the Southern Hemisphere for the best native delicacies it has to offer. Australia is teeming with an abundance of marsupials, grubs, reptiles and arachnids which, if they don't kill you first, can be transformed into an unforgettable meal.
Most Americans have not had the opportunity to sample such exciting dishes as Medallions of Wallaby or Kangaroo Proscuitto since marsupials are not native to our continent. Sadly, and for unexplainable reasons, Kangaroo meat is not imported (legally) into the United States. This leaves us with the daunting task of finding our own 'Roo. The Ugly Brothers do not advise nor encourage anyone to hunt or trap Kangaroos or any other animal residing in your local Zoo or Game Park. We simply say .... "you gotta do what you gotta do" to get the results you need.
Below is the first installment from our brother J.P. Ugly as he guides us on an adventure into haute Australian cuisine.
Kangaroo traditionally is cooked in a pit buried in a bed of hot ashes but here is another recipe:
Damper, the staple bread style food in outback Australia is often served to tourists in expensive hotels. However, to retain the authentic taste it must be cooked in an open fire.
Take approximately 2.5 3 kilos (5.5 6.6 pounds) of white flour. Empty onto a flourbag/board or into a large bowl if one is available. A small handful of baking
Set it to one side.
For those with slightly less of the bush/frontier spirit, damper can be cooked in a camp oven (large cast iron pot). Follow the same steps including turning the damper over when it is part cooked. Make sure the camp oven is not too hot. It must be covered with hot sand and ashes before burning coals are placed over it.
Use a shovel to distribute the hot sand and coals.
J.P. UGLY. AUSTRALIA.
Witchetty grubs are perhaps the most highly prized delicacy of all the bush foods eaten by desert people. Women traditionally collect them but men and boys also participate in this popular social activity.
The grubs are the larvae of the goat moth and are to be found in the roots of acacias (they can also be found in the outer trunks of eucalyptus trees growing close to claypans). The discarded skins of the hatched grubs around the base indicate their presence. The roots are located with a crowbar or similar tool and dug up. The grubs will be found within the root at a slight swelling. A small stick or similar tool can be used to prise the grubs out.
Prepare a hot sand bed close to the fire on which embers have been burning. Clear it of all debris and lay the grubs on the sand. Cover with hot sand and then with hot ash and glowing embers. Take care to ensure that the live coals do not come into contact with the grubs. Leave for a few minutes depending on the heat of the sand. Uncover the grubs, turn them over and repeat. Remove from the fire, dust off and eat.
You may prefer not to eat the heads which can be a little crunchy. For a delicious alternative, lightly fry the grubs in oil, with salt, garlic and pepper to taste. Eat them hot.
Take a piece of your favourite cut of steak. In a sealed container or plastic bag pour enough soy and honey marinade and Worcestershire sauce for the amount of steak being cooked. Allow steak to 'soak' for 2-3 hours. Finely chop a small amount of garlic (not too much as this masks all the other tastes). Insert tiny amounts of the chopped garlic into 2 or 3 small cuts on one side of the steak.
On a hot bar-b-q cook the steak to your particular taste. I usually cook for 5-6 minutes each side but for those who like it still with a pulse then the cooking time is much less. When turning the steak pour a small amount of beer over it and continue cooking (DO NOT try to lick any surplus beer off the hot-plate). Steak should be served as soon as possible after cooking.
J. P. Ugly. Australia.
This is a simple sauce that can be used with any snags (sausages) hamburgers, savouries or 'finger foods'
Pour into a bowl/glass jug/sauce dish as much tomato sauce/ketchup as will be required. Add to this some curry powder, I prefer the 'mild, sweet' type but the choice is personal as is the amount. For around 8 fluid oz or 1 pint of the sauce add approximately 1 teaspoon of the curry powder to start with and stir well. Taste the mixture by dipping a finger and licking it, I find this gives a more exact taste than off a spoon. Add more curry powder if required but beware, after heating the 'hot taste' is more pronounced.
Place the bowl in the oven and allow to warm through, stirring occasionally . I find this method better than 'nuking' it in the microwave. The end result should a warm to hot sauce in both temperature and taste. This can be poured on to the food or used as a side sauce. A perfect compliment is a mild creamy egg mayonaise or plain yoghurt sauce.
Take a fillet of you favourite fish. I find Shark (flake as it is known in Australia) or Barramundi are the best to use. I like the idea of eating a shark, the ultimate revenge. Spray a piece of foil large enough to wrap the fish (plus a bit) with canola oil or similar. Peel and slice potatoes about 1/8 inch thick and lay out, covering the fish. On top of the potatoes lay 2/3 sticks of fresh asparagus. Put 2 to 3 teaspoons of margarine/butter depending on the size of the fillet on top of the potatoes/asparagus. Sprinkle a small amount of lemon juice and a pinch or two of oregano. Fold up the foil around the fish etc. and pinch ends, this seals in the flavours. Place on a medium heat bar-b-q plate and cook for about 20-30 minutes. This can vary with the type of fish/size and the temperature of the hotplate. At first I find it best to open the foil slightly after 20 minutes and check the potatoes with a skewer. When the potatoes are cooked so will the fish. Make sure that the hot plate is not too hot or the fish will stick to the bottom of the foil and burn. Err on the safe side, it may take a little longer but it wont ruin your catch.
A friend of mine was having a bar-b-q one weekend at home. He lit the gas to warm up plate and went inside to get the meat to be cooked. By the time he returned to the bar-b-q about 15 minutes had passed and unbeknown to our luckless chef the gas had not ignited at his first attempt! Noticing that the hotplate was cold he set tray with all the meat etc. down and flicked the gas ignition a second time. This time it DID ignite, the resultant explosion of the gas sitting the base of the bar-b-q would have done Homer Simpson proud. What happened is funny to think about now and luckily nobody was hurt; except their pride that is.
The result of the second attempt to light the bar-b-q was that the (cold) hotplate attained the velocity of a Saturn V launch vehicle and took off vertically. It passed through the corrugated plexiglass patio covering on a upwards trajectory and then finally came down on the neighbour's roof. Well not actually on but through! When our friend had set down the meat tray he had done so on the hotplate (as it was cold), so sausages, steaks, cooking tools etc were also transported vertically at warp speed.
The cooking implements, tray and even the hotplate from the neighbour's attic were all eventually retrieved but the meat was never seen again. I suspect the local cats, dogs, birds etc were very thankful for their gifts from 'above'.
J.P. UGLY. AUSTRALIA.
1Kg Prime Minced Beef
Lightly mix all the ingredients, then add the bourbon. Grill burgers on hot plate or grill (do not add further bourbon at this point at the risk of a Homer Simpson scale disaster, drink the stuff instead) for between 4-6 minutes on either side. Serve with your favourite buns and salad. Do not consume too much bourbon during the preparation of this meal. I did so once and I still have no idea what happened to the burgers.
Make up a mixture of flower, water and baking powder. Knead it into small cakes. Pour sufficient cooking oil into a pan to deep fry the cakes. Heat until the oil is smoking, place the cakes in the oil and cook for approx 5 minutes or until golden brown.
Eat with treacle, syrup or your favourite jam (ginger marmalade is very nice).
J.P. Ugly. Australia.
500g extra lean mince
Mix mince, onion, eggs and breadcrumbs together so that mixture will not fall apart. Add garlic powder, chutney (around 1 tablespoon) and curry powder to taste and mix thoroughly. Roll into 2.5 centimetre balls, place carefully on skewers and barbecue, turn often to prevent burning. Serve with spicy sauce.
See curry ketchup mentioned previously on this page.
A European (German) sausage that can be served whole or cut into chunks.
Cut sausage into chunks (can be skinned, it's personnel choice). Thread onto skewers alternating with dried fruit. Barbecue slowly over a medium heat, turning occasionally. Serve with a mild German mustard and creamy egg mayo.
J.P. Ugly. Australia.
16 uncooked king prawns (4 per person is an average serve)*
Shell and clean the prawns, removing the tails. Over a good hot fire, melt butter in iron pan or wok, add lemon juice and prawns and toss taking care not to burn the butter. When the prawns are almost cooked, remove from fire, pour over warmed whisky and ignite Keep tossing until the flame dies away. Serve immediately on a bed of fresh lettuce. Bar-b-q time about 5-10 minutes.
*This depends on whether you are driving!
Note. From experience it is handy to have a fire blanket available.
1 kg chicken pieces
Melt butter and add all other marinade ingredients. Dip chicken pieces into this mixture and leave for 1 hour minimum. When required, grill over hot coals, turning and basting with remainder of marinade until chicken is tender.
Bar-b-q time approx 15 minutes.
J.P. Ugly Australia.
28 April 2000.
Rack of 4 pork cutlets
150ml Grand Marnier
Trim skin and remove fat, keeping skin for crackling. Make an incision between cutlets. Barbecue pork over a good hot fire turning occasionally. Cooking time will depend on the size of the cutlets. When pork is nearly cooked, warm Grand Marnier. Arrange pork on flame proof serving dish, pour Grand Marnier over the meat and light (this looks great at night, especially if one gets some of the Grand Marnier on a hand or body, a spectacular fire dance adds to the occasion!) When the flames die down (hopefully without the aid of the fire-brigade), carve into individual cutlets and serve. This dish is also good with cognac (not the good stuff).
For crispy crackling, rub a little oil and salt on skin and place in a wire basket and cook (skin towards the coals), for 20-30 minutes. Turn occasionally, starting when pork is about half done. Barbecue time is about 40-50 minutes.
J.P. Ugly. Somewhere in Australia.
Bud Ugly relaxes with a few of his mates after a couple dozen of schooners of Old. Bud is trying to explain to these gentle creatures that they will be honored and exalted by J.P., Bud and the other Ugly Brothers when they are grilled to perfection.
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