Of late it seems like the Americanisation of Australian culture is steadily growing. First, we had the big Hollywood stars flocking to our pristine shores to shoot films, and now we have a slice of American food, with the first Five Guys open in Sydney. Although, the cult burger chain isn’t the only American food culture creeping into our Australian way of life. For many years, a society of low and slow pellet grillers has been operating in backyards across the country, jeopardising the traditional Aussie backyard BBQ.
So, this Australia Day or next BBQ outing, don’t be surprised if your friends are serving up brisket that’s been cooking in a smoker for 20 hours, rubbed with spices—just like they do in Texas.
Low and slow grilling master Josh Dixon first discovered the pellet grill when his friend who is into surfing and dirt biking bought one. After bonding over a love of the grill, Dixon decided to purchase his own American-style grill, after months of research. He settled on a Traeger Grill, a company that invented the original wood-fired grill over 30 years ago in Mt. Angel, Oregon.
“I’m from Tasmania, so growing up there, we were surrounded by farms and amazing produce, which sparked my fascination with cooking. I watched my dad cook over this old school homemade BBQ with a cast iron plate and coals—I love the food,” says Dixon.
According to Dixon, the low and slow community has been around for years (more than we think), operating under cast iron range hoods, smoking meat in their backyard, honing their craft and patiently waiting for it to take off.
“Aussies aren’t known for following trends, which is why I think it took a while to come out of the woodworks on this particular style of BBQ. We like to do our own thing, and with Netflix series on American BBQ, and more exposure to the cooking style, we’re seeing it more regularly,” says Dixon.
BBQ festivals are popping up in regions around Australia, showcasing the need for low and slow, pull apart, melt in your mouth kind of BBQ. Meatstock is the big one—everyone wants in on that one. This festival operates in Sydney and Melbourne, bringing together the best of the best in smoking meat, to showcase their BBQ skills, flavours, and a bit of live music in the background. You can find food trucks dedicated to slow-cooked meats, such as BlackBear BBQ in Sydney, offering a place to enjoy good quality American wood-smoked BBQ.
So, how easy is it to get into pellet grilling? According to Dixon, brands such as Traeger make it easy to access the equipment and operate it.
“People often shy away from the low and slow, because they think it’s difficult to achieve a good end product. Although, grills are advancing and now it’s easier than ever to DIY a smoked brisket at home,” says Dixon.
“I find that I can set the grill to 100 degrees and it stays at 100 degrees rather than fluctuating, which is what happens when you use coal. It’s easy to set up too. Simply plug it in, put your pellets in, adjust time and temperature, and wait for it to finish.”
Dixon says, he has complete control over everything the pellet grill does and can be operated via a phone, which is great for when you’re at work or out and need to change the temperature or a setting.
“Yesterday I made banana bread in my pellet grill, and I usually do cheesecakes and anything and everything. I’ve replaced my oven because the grill is versatile and you can quite literally do anything with it.”
Dixon has amassed a 17.6K following on Instagram for his knack of cooking low and slow and posting all his succulent smoked meats to a community of enthusiastic grillers.
The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.
From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.
Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.
Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.