Ben's BBQ Bible
1 loaf
Billy Law

Damper is a true Australian icon of bush cooking and backyard barbecuing. It’s a heritage food, its roots going back to the swagmen of our early pioneer days. Usually cooked in the dying embers of an open fire or in a bush oven (a cast-iron pot), it’s easily the simplest bread you could make on a barbecue.

The dough is made from the most basic ingredients that a traveller could carry: self-raising flour, lard or butter (more often lard, as it would keep better, and it produces the best results), salt, sugar, milk and water. As a kid, I always made damper when I went camping, but more often than not I was more interested in making it than eating it — with kids, it’s always more about the journey than the destination.

The basic dough can be improved with the addition of herbs, olives or just about anything that takes your fancy. You can even make Damper doughnuts, stuffed with marshmallows.


Quantity Ingredient
450g organic self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
2 teaspoon sugar
1 heaped teaspoon salt
100g lard or butter
150ml milk, plus extra for brushing
150ml water
butter, to serve


  1. Sieve the flour, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Using a fork, cut in the lard or butter until you have a texture that resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix in the milk and water, then lightly knead to form a dough.
  3. Pat out onto a well-floured board or tray. Cut a cross into the dough, brush with milk and lightly flour the top. Place into a foil tray or baking dish.
  4. Prepare your barbecue for indirect cooking on a medium heat (180°C if you have a ther-mometer). If you are cooking on a gas barbecue with a hood, turn the inner burners off and leave the outer ones on. For coal, build a fire on each side of the barbecue.
  5. Cook the damper until golden, or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
  6. Serve hot, with lots of butter.
Ben's BBQ Bible
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