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How to Host the Perfect Kiwi Barbecue

By Donna Jones

In New Zealand, summer heralds the start of the great Kiwi barbie (BBQ) season. It’s a time for casual outdoor dining with family and friends and it brings a sense of nostalgia to most Kiwis that have grown up with the tradition. Whether it’s at home in the backyard, at the beach, in a park or by the lake — the act of cooking al fresco and enjoying the long summer evenings epitomises our laid-back Kiwi lifestyle.

Any excuse for a BBQ
The decision to have a barbie can quite often be a spur of the moment thing. Perhaps an arvo at the beach or long day at work with the promise of an outdoor evening of good food and company has put the, ‘come to ours for a barbie’ message out amongst friends and whanau. This no-fuss entertaining method is the perfect match to last-minute decisions and a quick swing by the supermarket to pick up the essentials means not a lot of planning is required.

The essential ingredients for a bonza barbie
So now that you’ve got the message out, here are some tips for hosting the perfect Kiwi barbie:

1. Stick to the classics and don’t forget the sauce
The typical menu for Kiwi barbies that most expect to see includes grilled meat (steak, chicken and sausages), perhaps fish/seafood, boiled new potatoes, a range of easy-prep salads and white bread to hold the sausages. If you really want to pour it on, add easy puddings (desserts) like Tip Top ice cream and chocolate sauce, ambrosia (cream, yogurt, berries and marshmallows) and a fresh fruit platter. So, pick up some of these essentials from the supermarket and don’t forget the compulsory bottles of Watties tomato and BBQ sauces.

2. Avoiding 101 coleslaw salads
Kiwis don’t tend to turn up to someone’s house for dinner without ‘bringing a plate’, so when you’re asked, ‘what can we bring’ the standard response is ‘something to throw on the barbie and whatever you’d like to drink’. Barbies tend to be a bit of a pot-luck affair but if you have thought ahead you can always ask people to bring specific food items so that you get a good range of options. If you’re hosting you won’t want your guests to go to too much trouble, so we’d recommend that you provide a range of meats, the potatoes and prepare the bulk of the salads ahead of time, yourself.

3. Consider different dietary requirements
Don’t forget to be inclusive of your vegetarian/vegan guests. BBQs tend to be very ‘meaty’ affairs, but this shouldn’t put non-meat eaters off if you let them know you’ve catered for them. Be mindful of where you are cooking their food though — if you intend putting it on the BBQ make sure the meat is well separated and cook the vegetable options in tin foil (aluminium foil) to reduce any contamination. You may find that plant-based eaters will bring their own food and may prefer it be cooked inside away from meat products.

4. Chips and ‘kiwi dip’ are an essential entrée
Provide plenty of snacks for your guests to graze on before dinner — a kiwi favourite is ‘chips and dip’ (made with reduced cream, lemon juice and a packet of dried onion soup).

5. Be an alcohol-responsible host
Beer and wine tend to be the alcoholic beverages of choice at a Kiwi barbie and if your guests are consuming alcohol then it is your responsibility as host to make sure that everyone has fun without drinking too much. Here are the top tips for hosts from NZ’s Health Promotion Agency.

6. Offer respite from sun and insects
Keep a bottle of sunscreen handy for the daytime gatherings and bug spray for the evenings. You might even like to light some citronella candles to keep mozzies (mosquitos) away. Plus, if you are planning on being outside after dark, providing some lighting such as candles or camping lights is always useful.

7. Prevent a game of musical chairs
Make sure you provide plenty of seating for your guests or ask them to bring a folding camp chair with them if you’re short on seating, yourself.

Can your home indeed host the perfect barbie?
So now that you’re sorted with some ideas, you will need to consider if your current property is suitably equipped to handle the occasion. If you need help finding a better rental property at which to host the perfect Kiwi barbie, then drop us a line.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash.

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