Cooking with Fire

Video highlights from True North

How our love of BBQ changed the way we think

This article brought to you by Great Northern Brewing Co

Aussies love a good BBQ. Gathering with mates and throwing another shrimp (prawn) on the Barbie has become synonymous with Australian food culture and lifestyle. It’s a method of cooking we have weaved into every occasion. From sporting events, to a classic hardware store sausage sizzle and even Christmas lunches. BBQ could very well be Australia’s favourite method of cooking.

However, far before Aussies were throwing prawns on the barbie, Homo erectus, the first ever modern human species, was using a BBQ (of sorts) to cook meat with his homo erectus mates millions of years ago.

The use of fire in cooking is considered as one of the greatest evolutionary steps for humankind, one that not only provided a tastier meal, but was also responsible for generating larger brains.

"Much more than harnessing fire, what truly allowed us to become human was using fire for cooking," said Suzana Herculano-Houzel, a neuroscientist at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Cooking has been now directly linked to unlocking nutrients that supported brain development. This evolutionary step meant we could spend time thinking of better ways to hunt, farm, develop technology and communication, essentially all the things that make humans, humans.

So, in honour of our long dead Homo erectus relatives, try this Great Northern Original BBQ Ribs recipe at your next get together.

You will need:

2 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons white pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons seasoned salt
1 tablespoon onion salt
1 teaspoon oregano
2 Kg pork spareribs
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
12 bottles of Great Northern Original Beer
1 (500ml) bottle ketchup
1 (250ml) bottle Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups maple syrup 1 cup brown sugar
1 cup liquid smoke flavouring
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup honey mustard

1. In a medium bowl, mix garlic powder, white pepper, seasoned salt, onion salt, and oregano.
2. Place ribs in a large roasting pan, and rub evenly with the garlic powder mixture to coat. Pour distilled white vinegar and 1/2 the beer, or enough to cover ribs, into the pan. Cover pan, and marinate ribs in the refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight.
3. Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect, medium heat, and lightly oil grate.
4. In a large saucepan, whisk together remaining beer, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, brown sugar, liquid smoke, margarine, apple cider vinegar, and honey mustard. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, or until a thick sauce has formed.
5. Remove ribs from the marinade mixture, and coat liberally with the sauce. Place on the prepared grill, and cook 1 1/2 to 2 hours, to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Brush frequently with the sauce while cooking.

Enjoy with your favourite Great Northern Beer, and pour one out for Homo Erectus.

Cheers, for the barbie, mate. Couldn’t have done it without you.

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