What to bring to an Aussie BBQ

Standard issue park BBQ at the Broadwater Parklands.

The BBQ (pronounced barbie – q) is an Australian institution. It brings people together over the smell of sizzling sausages (also known as snags), fun banter and backyard cricket. Before you head out and buy some snags to take to your friend’s BBQ there are a few things that you need to know!

A plate with salads, sausage and felafel.

Salads and meats – standard BBQ offering.


BBQs are usually held at either a person’s house, the beach or in a park. If you are meeting at the beach or in the park ensure that you have checked there are cooking facilities. It is also important to ask your friends whether you need to take any cooking utensils or cleaning products for the day. It is likely that there will be many people trying to use the BBQs in a public area, so get there early to claim your space!

Food (the most important part):

The type of food being cooked can make a BBQ go from being average to amazing! Now I am sure that you have heard the famous saying “throw another shrimp on the barbie” and it might surprise you to know that in Australia we actually mostly eat prawns, not shrimp. Unfortunately, unless you are going to a friend’s parents’ house for a BBQ it is unlikely that there will be seafood, because it can be quite expensive and way out of the average university student’s budget. The staple food that you will see at a BBQ are sausages. Sausages come in all different flavours, but the usual choice for a BBQ is beef or pork thin sausages. This might sound strange (especially to anyone from England who is used to bangers and mash) but we eat our sausages in fluffy white bread with tomato sauce, and it is amazing!

If you aren’t on a tight budget you will also see fresh garden salads (a good BBQ salad recipe can be found at the Food Network), pork or lamb chops, rissoles (minced meat mixed with herbs and spices rolled into a ball) and maybe even steak – if you are lucky. Vegetarian options are most certainly available and can be found in the frozen sections of supermarkets. Ask the host before you go what they would like you to bring and if they tell you not to bring anything I would suggest to always take a box of chocolates or something similar as a thank you to the host.

Viet salad in large bowl.

Mixing up a delicious Viet salad


The time of day and where the BBQ is being held will affect the types of drinks you take to a BBQ. If the BBQ is being held in a public place it is unlikely that you will take alcohol as it is often not permitted in parks and on beaches. A safe option for BBQs is to take bottles of soft drink, water or juice as these are refreshing in the Queensland weather and can be shared with everyone!

BBQ foods on kitchen table

Standard mix of meats and salads.


The most typical activity at an Australian BBQ is backyard cricket. Some backyard cricketers are quite dedicated and have full cricket sets, however the majority of people will use their garbage bins (sometimes called wheelie bins) as stumps with a cricket bat and whatever ball they have available. Backyard cricket is easy to pick up, but if you want to have an idea of the rules before you go check out these basic backyard cricket rules.

After the BBQ is over ensure to help the host clean up any mess that was created and thank them for hosting such a great event.

Now you are all set with what to take and what to expect at your first Aussie BBQ! What do you think of the typical Australian BBQ, did you enjoy your first experience of eating a sausage in bread?

– Hayley

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  • “Australian BBQ for Dummies” | sausageandbbq
    September 30, 2015 at 11:06 am

    […] also a social affair and as engrained in our culture as anything I suppose.   It’s not implied to bring alcohol to our barbies, as they are often in public places with children. So unless you are certain it’s an adult […]

  • charity rose mtapaonga msisa
    April 4, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    I found the above australian culture details, habits and BBQ quite interesting exciting and I can’t wait to visit Australia for a holiday before I retire in employment, you see, it must be quite fabulous; more especially the way they mix between sexes, freedom of expression, their food sausages in bread and the question of having to bring some chocolate to thank the host of a BBQ; oh that is very close to our own Malawian culture; endorses the goodness of women empowerment and enjoyment. I also enjoy the sharing of house chores between men and women, so then one family does not have to think of employed a house maid. I love that most because actually that’s what life is like between my husband and I. No divisions, we share roles and we like to help each other always in whatever there is to be done in the family; same is the situation with our male and female children, we continue to live as a unit all the time. I would find it quite amusing to live in Australia at some point to enjoy this kind of life absolutely I guess! Keep it up Australia, and why don’t you share it to other nationalities, it is a very good and enjoyable culture you see, worthy emulating actually~

  • charity rose mtapaonga msiska
    April 4, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Australia must be a very civilized country indeed, how I wish I would have an opportunity to travel to Queensland and enjoy one or two Aussie Barbies!

  • Russell
    July 30, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Pronounced bar-ba-q, not barbie-q. Barbie is a shorter version (no q)

  • Tom
    August 14, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    We don’t pronounce it “Barbie-Q”… It’s either a Barber-Q or a Barbie

  • Nathan Crowley
    September 29, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    I think only Americans pronounce it as barbie-q.

  • Errol Ingram
    October 16, 2018 at 8:33 am

    As others have said, Aussies call it a barbie, saying ‘barbeque’ would usually be considered a bit formal. The phrase “put another shrimp on the barbie” was made up purely for the overseas market and makes most Aussies cringe. Aussies eat prawns not shrimp and moreover it is not so common to have prawns on the barbie unless it is a pretty fancy barbie. Expect snags (sausages), steak, hamburgers etc. There is some basic Aussie barbie etiquette to be aware of…whoever invites you to a barbie usually cooks the food on the barbie – especially if it is at their place. In a park or on a community barbie the cooking will usually be shared. If you are keen to cook, it’s a good idea to check first e.g. can I do anything to help? Despite the importance of gender equity, men often see cooking on the barbie as a reflection of their manhood – again especially if you are going to their house for a barbie. Aussie blokes are often proud of their barbie and expertise at cooking on their barbie (not always but you get the picture). It’s never a good idea to jump in and start cooking on another person’s barbie or start offering advice on how to cook snags better. It won’t go down well. Just relax and offer some help at some stage e.g. “anything I can do?”. If the person inviting you to the barbie says “bring a plate” they don’t mean an empty plate, they mean bring a plate of food. Check what they would like you to bring e.g. salad, a desert. Something nice to eat from your own culture might go down well. If the person inviting you says “don’t bring anything, just bring yourself”…always bring a little something as a token of thanks. As someone has suggested some chocolates or again a little something from your own culture is a nice gesture and will be appreciated. Anyhow, if you get to an Aussie barbie, chill out and enjoy yourself!