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Weekend Recipe: Spice Rub for the Australia Day BBQ:

Make it an Australia Day BBQ full of Australian flavour with this hot summer spice rub from Esca Bimbadgen's Mark Bennett.
By Motherpedia
Date: January 25 2014
Editor Rating:

Australia Day is a day for barbecues, picnics, the great outdoors and relaxed, hassle-free cooking. Unfortunately, however, the old ‘sausage and steak’ combo can grow old and doesn’t really reflect Australia’s wide variety of culinary tastes and textures.

Esca Bimbadgen’s Head Chefm Mark Bennett mshares his top tips, techniques and ingenious hacks to create delicious recipes for keeping the Australia Day barbeque refreshing for 2014 - as well as his favourite recipe for a hot summer spice to add to whateve you want to barbeque.

1.  A little heat to cool off

It might be warm or hot but it doesn’t mean the food can’t be. Chillies are in season and they are a great way to liven up a fresh summer dish. Start off with some green chillies if you are new to the heat. Generally speaking the smaller the chilli, the hotter it gets.

2.  Get fruity while it’s good

Summer is the opposite of winter in more ways than just temperature. While we’re limited to citrus fruits in winter, summer opens the door to deliciously fresh berries, peaches, melons, apricots, pineapples and mangoes. Make the most of this by cutting wedges of peaches and nectarines and searing them on the BBQ with some marinated chicken. Toss the hot stone fruit with some baby spinach, sliced Spanish onion and macadamia nuts for a beautiful and fresh summer salad.

3.  Barbequing isn’t all about meat

Sick of chicken breasts and turkey burgers? Try grilling your next homemade pizza on the BBQ. Once you’ve piled on your toppings simply place the pizza onto the BBQ and close the lid until the cheese is melted and slightly brown. The BBQ is also perfect for corn, zucchini and summer squash - you can even grill your quesadillas!

4.  Use flavour to get creative

The best way to make your BBQ food interesting is by adding marinades and rubs to your meats, transforming a regular chicken thigh or lamb cutlet into a mouth-watering flavour festival. Think fresh herbs, lemon juice, garlic, spices and oil. Even simple combinations such as lamb with red wine, garlic and rosemary can spruce up your BBQ, and don’t forget to season everything with salt and pepper!

To help give your Australia Day BBQ a 21st century Australian flavour, here’s Mark's favourite recipe for Spice Rub.

This Rub is great for pork, chicken and beef. Try marinating your choice of meat with it overnight, or for at least 4 hours, before barbequing or grilling.


1 Cinnamon quill

2 Star Anise

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon celery salt

2 tablespoons caster sugar


Mortar and Pestle


1.  Using the mortar and pestle, start from the top of the ingredients list and grind each ingredient into a powder before adding the next.

2.  Start with the most fibrous and work through to the softest.

3.  Once you reach the smoked paprika everything can be added to a mixing bowl and combined.

4.  If you are feeling adventurous, add 1 teaspoon chilli flakes.

5.  Make sure your choice of meat is well-coated in the Spice Rub and marinate it overnight or, if possible, a minimum of 4 hours.

6.  BBQ as normal. Delicious hot Australia Day taste.


You can store this in an airtight container for 3-4 weeks.


The Esca Bimbadgen restaurant is open 7 days for lunch from 12 noon to 4pm and for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday.

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