Merv Hughes serves up the three Bs
BARBECUES, beer and bulls***. It's what Merv Hughes does best. So it's no surprise that the latest book from the larrikin former Australian international fast bowler should carry that title.
What you see is what you get from the big man with the big moustache, so don't expect to see recipes that he couldn't follow himself in this book.
"Let's put things into perspective," Merv said.
"It's a barbecue cookbook.
"There's cooking and there's barbecuing and you shouldn't get the two confused.
"During the summer - because it gets a bit cold in Melbourne during the winter - I look for easy ways to do things and an easy way to do things is on the barbecue.
"It's about having a few mates over talking over a few things and having a few beers while we are cooking."
Merv does undersell himself a bit because the book does include what looks like some mouth-watering recipes that your average barbecuer might not be able to get right.
Those include flanken cut short barbecue ribs, blue cheese-stuffed hamburger and barbecue teriyaki tuna skewers.
But as the author says, the book's all about keeping things simple and basic.
"I wouldn't say I am that successful. I am very basic and I think what comes through in the book is it's just about basic cooking," Merv says.
"I don't think too many people are going to be overwhelmed with the ingredients or the recipes I have got in there.
"I just want to keep it nice and simple.
"I think a lot of people get into cooking and get a little bit overwhelmed.
"They take a look at recipes and they have to follow it and it's all too hard, so we just tried to keep it nice and basic and easy to follow."
Merv has written a few books since giving up cricket and one of those was on a similar subject.
Now he is hoping his latest offering will get your average Aussie out this summer throwing a shrimp or a steak or even some teriyaki tuna skewers on to the barbie.
"I did a barbecue cookbook I reckon it would have been about 20 years ago," he said.
"I suppose a lot has moved on in 20 years in all facets of life and the same could be said about the barbecue.
"So why not just update it? And I think that's what I have tried to do.''
As well as the cooking, Merv says it's important that the barbecue is somewhere to put the world to rights and he reckons when it comes to talking he is a champion too.
"The BS is what I am more known for," he says with a laugh.
"The name of the book should reflect the author and I think the three Bs - barbecues, beers and bulls*** - are a fair reflection of what I get up to.
"If you go to someone's place and you don't enjoy the food it puts a dampener on the whole day, so I don't want people coming here and saying 'he doesn't know what he's doing ... he's cooked a barbecue and it's been no good'.
"You want people walking away thinking 'if he has another barbecue next week... I want to be there'.''
And with this book your average barbecuer might just be able to turn the heat up a little bit more and make their own cooking above average.
BBQ Beer & B.S., New Holland Publishers, RRP $40, available from all good bookstores or at newhollandpublishers.com