Time Out Melbourne

Sure, you could throw a snag on the free public barbecues, but we've got bigger idea when it comes to free-range cooking

Melbourne has a lot of free public barbecues for your snags and steaks. And if you’re after some good meat, we recommend you head straight to Donati’s Fine Meats (402 Lygon St, 
Carlton) where they play classical music to relax the house-made hams; Skinner and Hackett for cuts usually only made available to restaurants, or the brand new Hudson Meats, the Sydney import where they’re going to town making their own sausages. But did you know you can BYO cooking equipment to parks so long as it’s gas-powered? Yep. It’s time to up the fancy, Melbourne. Here’s how:

Louisiana crab boil:
Get yourself over to Little Saigon markets where the crustaceans are still alive and the service is fast, furious, and yelly. With a camping stove and a can-do attitude you can make yourself Will Balleau’s crab boil a la Dr Juicy Jay’s Crab Shack (now Miss Katie’s Crab Shack). Get a pot, chuck in some beer, vinegar and water, and throw in new potatoes, smoked sausage, old bay spice, fresh corn and some blue swimmer crabs (or yabbies). When it’s all done, scoop the lot out onto a load of newspaper and cover with melted garlic butter. Commence jug band ho down.

Tira de asado:
Argentineans are the undisputed kings of meat eating. They love it. Head to Nino’s and Joe’s to pick up tira de asado – long cross sections of beef ribs – for cooking long and slow on the barbecue. Call it blasphemy to cook these bad boys without charcoal, but we’ve seen some Argentineans do ‘em on the free park barbecues and they’re good. Make some chimmichurri with parsley and oregano, olive oil, white wine vinegar, chilli, garlic and paprika and continually baste the strips while they cook down. Hot tip: bring beer, both to wash the barbecue plate, and appease people while you’re hogging it for two hours.

Spit roasted pig, lamb:
Again, you can BYO spit roast as long as it’s gas and you lay down a mat to protect the grass. Rent yours from Trevor at Spits and Bits and then call Melissa Mancs at Yarra Pigs or Anthony Kumnick from Greenvale Farm to sort yourself out with a suckling pig or lamb. Bring your frisbee – it will take 4-6 hrs for a 10kg pig but that’s a whole day of park-bound deliciousness right there.

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Updated on 19 Feb 2014.

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