Barbecue - The Aussie Tradition

Chicken and vegetable kebabs on a barbecueOf all the cooking styles in Australia, barbecuing is one that many Australians have claimed as their own.

Barbecue facts

  • The Barbecue actually originated in the Caribbean where the Indians used a grating of green wood over a slow fire to cook strips of meat.
  • Charring or blackening of meat is thought to produce cancer causing chemicals (carcinogens1).
  • Barbecued meat that is not blackened is safe to eat.
  • Barbecue foods can be both delicious and nutritious.

Tips for a healthy barbecue

  • Supply a variety of dishes including, lean steaks, lean hamburgers, skinless chicken fillets, fresh fish, lean kebabs or veggie burgers2.
  • Try marinating meat overnight in the fridge in lemon, garlic, herbs, spices, mustard or wine.
  • Include a wide variety of side dishes such as salads and cooked vegetables2.
  • Serve a variety of fruit, perhaps as a fruit salad2.
  • Don’t overdo it on the meat - you only need a piece of meat the same size as the palm of your hand for each person.
  • Use spices and herbs instead of salt to enhance the flavour of dishes2.
  • Experiment! Vegetables and seafood are ideal as they cook quickly and are nutritious and tasty.

Marinade ideas

  • Miso ginger – miso, fresh ginger, lemon juice, reduced-sodium soy sauce, sugar3.
  • Red Wine – red wine, oil, water, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, crushed ginger, dried oregano.
  • Tuscan spice rub – fennel seeds, dried basil, garlic powder, rosemary and oregano3.
  • Honey spice – tomato sauce, honey, five-spice powder, soy sauce, and garlic.


  1. Wei Z, Lee SA. Well done meat intake, heterocyclic amines exposure and cancer risk. Nutr Cancer. 2009;16(4):437-446
  2. Go for 2&5 [Internet]. Australian Government [cited Oct 2011]. Available from:
  3. EatingWell [Internet]. Eating Well Inc.; c2011 [cited Oct 2011]. Available from:


Nutrition Australia would like to acknowledge Jo Oddo for her contribution to this document.

Updated October 2011.

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