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BBQ Balmain Bugs

BBQ Balmain Bugs with Paw Paw, Lime & Chilli Salsa

Posted on February 22 2017, By: Ben Farley

BBQ Balmain Bugs

Balmain Bugs make an economical alternative to lobsters!  

(NB: Moreton Bay bugs have their eyes on the sides of their heads and Balmain bugs' eyes are on the top.)
They are sold whole, cooked or green (raw) and sometimes live.  Bugs should have the limbs intact with no discolouration at the joints. 

  • 8 fresh Balmain bugs 
  • ½ ripe paw paw
  • 2 limes, juice and zest of
  • 2 birds eye chilli, roughly chopped & deseeded
  • 5g ginger, roughly chopped
  • 5g garlic, roughly chopped
  • ¼ bunch coriander, roots chopped, leaves picked
  • 1tbs palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1tsp soy sauce
  • 100ml virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Turn BBQ on to high to heat up then turn to ¾ ready to grill
  2. Deseed and finely dice paw paw and set aside
  3. In a bowl combine juice and zest of Lime with Soy, Olive Oil, and Palm Sugar. Whisk to combine
  4. Add chopped chilli, ginger, garlic and coriander – set aside to infuse for 1 hour
  5. Wash Bug under cold water and with a sharp pair of fish scissors remove the inside tail cover to expose the flesh
  6. Wipe and remove any dietary remnants with a damp cloth (do not wash under water as it will wash away flavour)
  7. Drizzle flesh of Bug with a little of the salsa marinade and season with salt and pepper
  8. Grill on flesh side on a hot part of the BBQ for about 1 minute to achieve a nice colour
  9. Turn Bug so that the shell is touching the bars and add some paw paw salsa on top of flesh
  10. Let cook for 2 minutes and serve
  11. Garnish with the picked coriander leaves
  12. Great served with a crisp salad of mizuna and a cold beer



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