Grab a bush tucker pack from Tukka Restaurant for a barbecue with a difference.

Forget the shrimp, have a real Aussie bush tucker barbecue with emu burgers and kangaroo minute steaks with a lilly pilly salad.

Bryant Wells, chef owner at Tukka Restaurant, West End, specialises in serving restaurant quality Australian native cuisine to his customers but also supplies barbecue packs for weekend chefs.

Designed for four people, his Coat of Arms and Native Kebab packs also include pepper berry kangaroo skewers and native-cured crocodile skewers along with condiments such as quandong chutney.

I asked Bryant why he started to offer the packs.

What inspired the barbeque pack?

We started our BBQ packs a few years ago for Fathers day. My wife and business partner Hannah, came up with the idea as most families love to spend the day out at a barbecue instead of in a restaurant like they do on Mothers day. We had such good feedback that we decided to keep them available as part of our retail line.

Do these meats need to be cooked differently from beef and chicken?

The process is the same but you don’t want to overcook them. Kangaroo is best served medium rare as it can develop a strong, gamey flavour when overcooked. The main reason most people shy away from kangaroo. When cooked correctly, it is nice and smooth, tender and more flavoursome than beef or lamb. Crocodile is best cooked like a piece of fish, just under and let to rest and finish cooking off the heat. Crocodile will start to dry out when overcooked.

What’s in the Lilly Pilly salads?

Our Lilly Pilly salad is identical to the salad we serve in the restaurant. It contains macadamia nuts, sliced bunya nuts, lilly pillies, lettuce picked from our garden at Tukka. We dress it with a lemon myrtle and Tasmanian pepper berry dressing.

Where do you source your meat from?

Our emu is farmed locally in Marburg at the ‘Try it emu farm’. Kangaroo is wild caught mostly in western Queensland and our crocodile is farmed in Cairns.

Most people that come to us are surprised at how tender the texture is and smooth the flavour is. I think that in general Australians are getting a lot better at cooking and eating meats that are prepared medium and below which will get the best flavour from a grilled piece of meat. Most guests who are dubious about trying native meats have usually tried emu, kangaroo and crocodile before that has been overcooked or cooked incorrectly and when they eat a nice medium rare piece they can’t believe how smooth it is as they usually expect a strong gamey flavour to come from the meat.

What are the advantages of eating these meats?

Where to begin? I think aside from the fact that native meats have a much smaller impact on the environment when farmed or wild caught compared to beef and other introduced species, native meats such as emu and kangaroo have an extremely low fat content and high nutrient content such as iron. This means that not only do you get a healthier piece of meat but you also don’t have to eat as much to be full. Aside from the health and environmental benefits the flavour is unique and it achieves a wow factor from most guests when you place it on the table.

Can you suggest the perfect dessert to finish off the meal?

For our last BBQ we finished off with macadamia and dark chocolate profiteroles. Coming into the hotter season now I think a nice light pavlova with fresh fruit and strawberries that are in season and topped with a lightly whipped cream that has been flavoured with a lavender sugar (which can be made by placing lavender flowers into a container of sugar for a few days).

Thanks Bryan, that’s the next barbecue sorted.  All I have to do is make a pavlova. You’ll find Tukka Restaurant at 145b Boundary St, West End.