Aussie dinner tables would not be set completely if you’ve forgotten the barbecue sauce. I’ve been here for three years now and have come to find that this sauce, tomato (toe-mah-toe) sauce and sweet chilli sauce, mustards (like honey mustard), golden syrup, mint sauce (for peas), and/or tartare for fish (or tartar, like it’s called in America) are the norm… Speaking of which, why are we going this to ourselves with these pronunciation differences, my fellow English speakers?! I worked for a short while in an Aussie butcher shop and butchered your Australian English almost every single day. Scotch fillet to an Aussie is “Scotch fill-et,” but an American would say “Scotch fill-ay.” Now I read accounts and codes over a phone and butcher up your H “haitch” for me is “aitch” and Z “zed” for me is “zee.” Go figure.
Anyway. What a tangent.
Barbecue sauce. BBQ sauce. Whatever you call it. I have friends who are from the south in the U.S.A., and to them BBQ is religion. The sauce is often homemade, following Great-Great-Great-Great Uncle Cletus’s secret recipe, passed down in the family from the Civil War days. It probably could give some outsiders the runs, but it is unbeatably delicious. They marinade and slather the sauce on the, let’s say, ribs and cook them for a prolonged period of time on the grill or over the fire. This, my friends, is what they call a barbecue. Not sausages slung onto a barby for however-long. No. It’s a painstaking process filled with love and tradition. The sauce itself makes it so worth it. (Source here). But in Australia, just squeeeeeeze it on your food from a plastic squeeze bottle and…voilà. LOL.
I came to write this today because I’m making pizzas at home tonight. My husband asks, “Can you put barbecue sauce on one of them (instead of toe-mah-toe sauce)?” LOL. OK. You can even order pizzas here from Domino’s with barbecue sauce as the sauce base…
I have nothing against barbecue sauce and Aussies loving it. I don’t even mind when I order a bacon and egg roll and ask for toe-mah-toe sauce, but receive instead barbecue sauce. It’s tasty. Tastes like barbecue sauce. It’s not spicy or too zesty. It’s tangy, yet sweet. I rarely use it, but I think some Aussies love it so much that they would possibly bathe themselves in it, if they could (if they don’t already).
Australians have several brands of barbecue sauce to choose from: store brands, Masterfoods, Rosella, to name a few. But here’s a group of Aussies chattering about where to find American barbecue sauces in Australia.
I use Australian barbecue sauce to make Sloppy Joes! It’s really not healthy, this recipe, but I want to share it with you all because so many Aussies have eaten it and asked me for it. Seriously. And I never write the recipe down because each time the taste I want to achieve varies.
To feed 4-6 adults, you’ll need:
– 1 kilo beef mince (or turkey mince – it’s healthier and nobody will know!)
– Any Australian brand barbecue sauce
– Any Australian brand tomato (toe-mah-toe) sauce
(or substitute with 140g Leggo’s tomato paste)
– Brown sugar
– Worcestershire sauce
– Finely diced green capsicum and/or yellow onion, to taste
– Cooking oil
– Hamburger buns (or bread rolls) – Enough for everyone.
The trick to this is that you must taste as you cook -and- once the sauce ingredients are added, the consistency of the meat needs to always become like a thick sauce with cooking – not runny or too dry. If it begins to dry out, add a little more of something, but always taste-test to find your liking. It should be tangy, yet sweet. Never sour, bitter or tart. Follow the first step below before taste-testing your cooking too.
1.) Thaw the mince thoroughly. Crumble the mince with your hands into a large, lightly oiled skillet/frying pan over medium heat, stirring often, while the meat browns. While the meat is browning, add finely diced green capsicum and/or yellow onion, to taste. If you like a little, add only a little. A lot, add a lot. It’s up to you.
2.) As the meat finishes browning, add enough barbecue sauce to be soaked up into the meat. Don’t overly drown the meat.And keep on stirring.
3.) You’ll need to now add an even amount of tomato sauce or paste to the mix to be soaked up, like you did with the barbecue sauce. Not enough to overly drown the meat, though…
4.) Let the meat absorb the fluids, stirring often. If the meat has absorbed enough to be like a thick sauce and not runny, and if the meat is no longer pink in the center, taste it. Is it too tart from the tomato sauce/paste? Now is when you should add a little brown sugar. Add maybe one or two heaping tablespoons full, then stir it in. Is it still too tart? Add another tablespoon full of brown sugar -or- squirt more barbecue sauce into pan. Taste it. Is it too sweet? Add a few drizzles of Worcestershire sauce. Try to even out the tangy and tart: too tangy, add a little more tomato sauce/paste or Worcestershire sauce! And too tart, add a little more barbecue sauce or brown sugar. Stir that up until the meat soaks it all up, keeping in mind that the finished product needs to be like a thick sauce.
5.) If the taste is what you like, but it’s too thick, just add a little warm water to the pan, stir it in and let it simmer.
6.) Split some hamburger buns (or bread rolls) in halves, hamburger-style) and scoop the mix onto the bottom half. Plop the hamburger bun “lid” on top and serve.
Dutch people (typically not keen on eating “American” foods) LOVED these, and every single Australian that I’ve fed these to have loved them as well. Please let me know what you think, if you try it!