Still sticking with a traditional Christmas dinner, but mixing up the cooking method and sides, grilling and smoking expert Andy Noonan has created a stunning alternative festive meal.
We need to get over the idea that barbecuing, or grilling, is just something we do in the summer. All around the world, barbecuing is a cooking method that is used all the time to give meat and vegetables beautifully smoky flavours and makes meats tender and juicy and mouth-wateringly good.
Andy Noonan is owner of Baste BBQ, specialist barbecue and outdoor catering and events company, and Fowl Play, a casual dining spot that just serves chicken cooked by a charcoal rotisserie and grill and Texas wood-fired smoker. Andy also runs The Big Grill BBQ & Craft Beer Festival with Bodytonic, Europe's biggest barbecue festival, every August in Herbert Park. If anyone knows how to get the best results from this festive bird by cooking it over fire and smoke, it is Andy.
So, we asked Andy to create our F&W Christmas Special this year and what a meal it turned out to be! Read on for all the recipes...
"The number one reason I would suggest smoking your turkey rather than the traditional cooking method of roasting is flavour. It adds an extra layer of flavour that you just can't get from an oven. If you slow cook the turkey in an oven, you can get better results, but if you roast it at a higher temperature for a shorter time, then it makes the turkey tighten up and it goes dry. By smoking it in your barbecue, the results are juicy, tender meat with a deep smoky flavour.
I also love cooking it like this as it's a bit of an occasion, lighting the BBQ up at Christmas, sitting outside having a coffee or drink by yourself. It's important to enjoy the moment. Plus it's nice to be out of the kitchen for a bit. Barbecuing is about slowing down in general and it makes you take a moment to enjoy the cooking process."
"Chimichurri is just a nice condiment and it works well with turkey, but also is great with beef. It adds a depth of freshness to the meal and it can be used in sandwiches or used with potatoes or vegetables. Your palate can get quite tired of eating meat, so the acidity in this from the citrus will help. Food on Christmas Day is quite rich, it's a lot for the system, so this is a great way of breaking through that, so it serves a purpose, and again adds flavour."
"I have always hated them my whole life and I never ate them because they were always boiled, bitter and unflavourful. But I grill so much cabbage in Fowl Play and just thought to myself once, 'why aren't I grilling Brussel Sprouts?' It works like a dream, the grilling adds a crunch to them and the flavour is great. Match that with the creaminess and lemon in the Smoked Garlic Aioli, and the hazelnuts on top to give more crunch... I love this dish. Grill your sprouts and you'll never go back!"
"The reason these are called 'dirty' is that it's the method of cooking them. You literally lob them into the charcoal embers and let them barbecue indirect heat. Any vegetables or fruit with thick skin can be done like this – peppers, onions, aubergines, other potatoes and then pineapples, bananas, peaches, etc."
If you have any questions for Andy about barbecuing or on these recipes, leave a comment below. If you try out our Christmas Special, make sure and tag us on social media or send us photos and we'll share them.
Photo credit: Clare Wilkinson