The Australian style will generally prefer to have a grill set that comes with a hot plate or griddle. The hot plate is primarily used to sizzle meat before grilling in order to prevent excessive loss of juices from it. It is also used to do lamb, which produces a lot of oil during cooking, consequently resulting in flare-ups which will burn your meat and ruin the meal.
In addition, the Australian style of BBQing often utilizes lava rocks or ceramic briquettes as a radiant. The two main functions of the radiant are to ensure even heat distribution over the grilling area and to act as a vaporizer for fats/juices that drip onto it during cooking. Hence, it is actually good practice to cover the BBQ at all times when cooking in order to trap the flavor and heat in the cooking chamber, which will then be infused into the meat.
Because lava rocks, and to a lesser extent, ceramic briquettes, need to be replaced periodically, the newer generation of BBQ grills, especially American styled ones, has replaced these with flame tamers. The flame tamers are actually sheet metals, commonly made from stainless steel, which serve the same functions as lava rocks and ceramic briquettes. The key difference is that the flame tamers are an internal component, and not a consumable. Therefore, many grillers prefer flame tamers because they don’t have to worry about the lifespan of their lava rocks.
The hot plate is an optional add-on for American style BBQ, mostly reserved to do simple seafood, vegetables and sausages. The hot plate is very similar to the Korean style of BBQ, if you happen to be familiar with it.
Whether you’re using an American style BBQ or doing it the Australian way here in Singapore, the essence of BBQing remains the same. BBQ sessions are a great way to relax, get together with friends and just enjoy the evening and each other’s company. Having said that, knowing which method suits you can go a long way in making your sessions more enjoyable, so make sure you understand this article!