For those serious about getting the right tools for their kitchen, a BBQ knife kit is a must. You may require one for a surprise picnic or a weekend get-together with your mates. Even if you're a vegetarian, the kit provides several tools to ease your burden when chopping vegetables or slicing zucchini.
Yet, building a starter's BBQ knife kit is a challenging feat, especially if you're unaware of the various types of blades that you can add to your collection. Considering that such knives are often more expensive than your run-of-the-mill kitchen cutlery, you should choose your pick of knives carefully. Throughout this guide, you'll gain all the essential information on how to build a classic Australian BBQ knife starter kit.
Get the Right Sheath/Cover
A sheath or cover protects the blade against the dust and dirt, whether you're planning a house party in your backyard or a beachside BBQ in Queensland. While the size depends upon your cutlery collection, the material affects the aesthetics and durability. Some of the popular options include the following:
Saya's are Japanese protective coverings for kitchen knives. They are knife specific so require custom work to suit your knives. They are fantastic when needing to carry your knife from a-to-b safely, as it keeps the knife safe from damage, and free from cutting you.
Leather sheaths are popular as you can get them in your preferred colour without paying a premium. Additionally, the sheaths can be customised per your needs, and any creases add plenty to their character. Buy them from specific websites as part of combo deals when you purchase a BBQ knife set. The soft insides are perfect for preserving the sharpness of the blade, although you should not depend on them to protect your cutlery set from water.
An excellent balance between Kydex and leather, manufacturers sometimes give away nylon sheaths for free with any cutlery set. It is highly waterproof and substantially lightweight, letting you carry your knives for long hikes without issues. Still, you should be careful not to stress the blade, as it can bend and break. Thankfully, any damaged nylon sheaths are pretty inexpensive to replace.
Kydex is a material that has a tactical feel and is rigid and durable. It is the most expensive variant you can go for, but you'll be up to par with the Australian SAS when it comes to protecting your knives and accessories. It is waterproof and preserves the mineral oil film you may apply to the blade. Nevertheless, storing your knives for extended periods can dull the edge, so better keep a whetstone or sharpening rod handy.
Plastic is the perfect pick if you're looking for the most inexpensive option for your BBQ knife set. Much like Kydex, it can protect metal from dust and water. But, most plastics can easily break and dull the knife's edge if you're not attentive. So, better to save it as a last resort when your primary Kydex or leather sheaths are damaged. Moreover, disposing of broken plastic bits on the beach can land you in a lot of trouble with the local authorities.
Pick the Best Knife Collection for the Job
Once you've decided on the sheaths, it is time to fill those slots. Going with the cutlery first, you should take your time and examine the knives you might need for a classic Australian BBQ. A starter kit can include the following types of knives.
A boning knife, true to its name, is used to remove the meat from the bone. With enough skill, you can use the blade on medium and large-sized fish as a fillet knife as well. The Tassie Devil is a superb option for those starting out with their Australian BBQ kit. The slender profile makes it easier to store, while the strong spine provides control to cut through the thickest of cuts.
When it comes to iconic chef tools, the fillet knife easily steals the spotlight, letting everyone know that you are a connoisseur in cooking. It is a lightweight blade, weighing 6.8 oz (192.7 g), that can help you remove the best parts of your delicious catch.
You can also use it to make precise cuts on a tender piece of meat. Although it requires more care than other cutlery pieces in your BBQ collection, it is worth the price if you desire minimal waste from prime cuts or freshly grilled salmon.
If you have large meat pieces like a beef brisket on the menu, it is best to bring along a butcher's knife to cut huge portions easily. It usually has a 10" (25.4 cm) blade curved at the tip. That provides a decent edge that removes the meat while preserving the moisture and flavour.
The Brolga is a popular choice among those putting together their Australian BBQ knife set for the first time. It weighs just 9.17 oz (260 g), has a durable blade that lasts for months without sharpening, and you get some alluring design for the grips. Plus its an absolute showstopper at a BBQ.
Whether you want to cut hundreds of vegetables or need a durable knife to serve chunky meat pieces, a chopper knife is an ideal choice for the situation. You can choose from various sizes depending on the food items, like the short Koala or the broad-blade Platypus. However, the Great White Shark is a balanced fit for your kit. It can not only assist with your chopping needs but is a multi-utility blade that can fill any gaps in your collection.
No matter which cuisine you prefer, a paring knife comes in handy to peel off the skin from the fruits or the scales off a fish. It might not have a long blade, but the compact size makes it more convenient to store. The Kookaburra is an excellent choice if you want good quality steel that can last for weeks without requiring maintenance.
To the casual eye, a serrated bread knife may seem out of place in a BBQ kit. Yet, it can prove a valuable tool for cutting through thick meat cuts or even cake. It is an excellent backup should you forget your butcher's knife or your chopping knife goes too dull. The Croc is a prime variant that comes with a comfortable grip and a high-carbon 9" (22.8 cm) blade that easily cuts through a French toast and French goose alike.
Pack in Maintenance Equipment
Your diverse collection of BBQ cutlery is only fit for the job so long as you keep them in the perfect shape. The edges can go dirty or dull regardless of how well you clean or store them. Thus, it would help to pack some maintenance equipment with your BBQ kit.
While experts advise sharpening all your knives every few weeks, the BBQ cutlery sometimes shortens that span due to intensive use. So, it is best to carry a high-quality whetstone that you can swiftly grind against a knife to get its sharpness back. Better yet, you can use a ceramic sharpening rod that is much safer to use and more convenient to carry with you.
Even if your knives are made from the highest grade metals, they are still prone to rust. To minimise the effect, it helps to coat your blades with a thin film of food mineral oil. It creates a barrier that prevents oxidation and grants a smooth cutting surface the next time you need to use it. We suggest oiling your knife before and after a BBQ especially if you are in coastal areas or cooking on the beach (the salty air increases the chances of corrosion.
When it comes to an outdoor BBQ, the most significant challenge is keeping your surroundings and equipment clean. That calls for either paper towel or cotton kitchen towels to clean the cutting board or the meat grips. Paper towels can be especially handy when you are using a communal BBQ and for when you serve up the food.
Don't Forget the Accessories
In addition to your cutlery and the maintenance gear, you also need accessories to add quality-of-life features on your next BBQ excursion. Leaving these out won't affect the taste but might restrict the fun you'll have from the meal. A few essential accessories that enhance your Australian BBQ kit are listed below.
Besides the knives, you may require a pair of scissors to make the cutting process as smooth and quick as possible. Or, you may have children you can't trust with knives. Poultry shears can cut through meat and bone without much wear, while dual-purpose shears can get you a pair of extra blades at a reasonable cost. They also allow you to easily portion larger cuts of meat and whole chickens when it comes time to serve.
Cutting through a tenderloin is one thing. You need a firm grip on the meat as you obtain your desired slice. If you don't fancy getting your hands dirty, you may want to pack a carving fork in your BBQ kit.
Try to go for a stainless steel version with at least 10" (25.4 cm) long prods to keep the piece in place when cutting. It would be great to carry multiple forks for people who might be allergic to specific meats.
No BBQ party is complete without a decent grill. However, using it without separating the metal and the meat can cause more than a couple of health issues, not to mention the grill's reduced life cycle.
Grill mats are a proven workaround for that. You can get several sheets for a low cost and cut them to fit the size of your grill. Just ensure that they don't contain harmful chemicals and are non-stick, else you defeat the whole purpose of keeping your BBQ dishes safe.
Creating the Australian BBQ kit perfect for your needs takes plenty of time and consideration. We hope this guide enables you to understand a few essential steps to make a robust collection that makes your next BBQ meal memorable. Still, if you have any burning questions, feel free to share them with us in the comments below.