Number crunching the perfect barbecue snaggers

SNAGMETRICS refers to the number crunching Mr Perfect does at the end of each year.

And the numbers are in for 2023 – Mr Perfect had 4,128 blokes attend a BBQ – across Australia and the local BBQ saw 60 at Duidgee Park for the monthly meetups last year.

That’s a lot of snags eaten – in fact, the snag-counters at Mr Perfect HQ estimate 6,192 snags were chomped at the 313 BBQs hosted in 2023.

So, the Aussie BBQ is pretty popular; however, did you know that the term ‘barbecue’ has its origin in Central America?

The Spanish invaders heard the native Americans refer to a wooden frame they used for drying and smoking various types of fish and game as a ‘barbacoa’.

The term was taken back to Europe by the Spanish and Dr Samuel Johnson defined ‘barbecue’ in his famous English dictionary as “a term used in the West-Indies for dressing a hog whole, which, being split to the backbone, is laid flat upon a large gridiron, raised about two foot above a charcoal fire, with which it is surrounded”.

It was in the early 1900s that events called barbecues emerged in Australia.

The Waverley Bowls Club in Sydney was among the first with its `Leg o’ Mutton Barbecue’ in 1903.

According to the Sydney broadsheet The Arrow, the bowls club failed to provide any actual legs of mutton but offered lamb and pork.

By 1920, Sydney papers advertised the public barbecue of a whole bullock in Martin Place to promote Peace Bonds.

At this time the backyard barbecue was still in the future.

In fact, it took decades for the backyard barbecues to start, and then the group consumption of a whole beast evolved into chops and sausages for individual servings.

Built-in brick barbecues became luxury features in up-scale homes and by 1953 the idea of home barbecues ignited the nation’s imagination so much the Australian Women’s Weekly (hello Ita) published a guide to building them in the backyard.

By the mid-60s, the portable gas barbecue arrived, and public ‘barbecues’ became common in parks around the country and cooking snags, chops and steaks replaced the idea of roasting a whole beast.

How good is that – having gas-fuelled barbecues in public parks?

And that’s where you’ll find the Toodyay Mr Perfect BBQ down at Duidgee Park on the first Sunday of the month.

Mr Perfect is ‘Mental Health’s Mate’, a grassroots ‘pre-crisis’ charity that creates community and connection by bringing men together at BBQs in local parks across Australia, to reduce isolation and encourage better mental health.