Everyone loves a barbecue on a lovely sunny day. So, what better time to make the most of the gorgeous weather and get outside to cook than National Barbecue Week?
It’s the 26th National Barbecue Week in 2022, and this year’s event runs from 4 to 10 July.
Even though Brits love their sausages and burgers, why not try something different this summer? Read on for 10 great alternatives to your typical barbecue foods.
1. Grilled halloumi
The magic of halloumi lies in its properties – when you grill it, it doesn’t lose shape as you would imagine cheese would. Instead, it grills into delicious pieces.
Grilling halloumi gives it a crispy, golden-brown exterior with a soft and gooey interior. It truly is mouth-watering when cooked on a BBQ and can be a great starter that only takes 10 minutes to cook.
2. Chicken kebabs
The world is your oyster when it comes to chicken kebabs, as there are so many different delicious variations, all of which are great to cook on the BBQ.
Typically, Turkish chicken kebabs are some of the best you can get. They are marinated in a mix of Greek yoghurt, garlic, lemon juice, red peppers and more. Even though they seem like a heavy dish, they have a light, Mediterranean taste to them, and are perfect for a hot sunny day.
3. Stuffed peppers
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, or you’re looking for an alternative to meat, then stuffed peppers could be ideal. You have countless options when it comes to deciding what to stuff the peppers with, too.
You could, for example, stuff them with tomato salsa. This is a quick and easy dish to cook and prepare. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, you could try stuffing your peppers with something more leftfield.
You could try your hand at Mediterranean peppers, for instance, which are loaded with couscous, pine nuts, black olives, feta cheese and tomatoes.
4. Venison skewers
Another BBQ dish that is open to your own interpretation is venison skewers. At first glance, they are a simple dish – just venison and some assorted fruit and vegetables on sticks – but the complexity comes from the food combinations and marinades.
For example, you could marinate your venison in a South American-style green herb sauce, chimichurri. This is, at its core, a mixture of parsley, coriander, and oregano, though you can decide to spice it up with some hot red chilli flakes if you desire.
Or, you could try marinating your venison in harissa, which is of North African origin. This usually includes chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mint, and garlic, and will give your venison a more exotic taste. So, if you want to really impress some guests, you may want to try making these.
5. Pulled pork
Pulled pork is common in the UK these days, but did you know it can also make the perfect BBQ snack?
You can get yourself a butt of pork and cook it on the grill, making sure you top up the marinade with a pastry brush whenever it dries up. You’ll need to be prepared, as cooking pulled pork does take a while – usually up to five or six hours – but the payoff is worth it.
When the pork is ready, all you need to do is shred it with two forks. You could then serve your pulled pork in small slider buns that make a great quick bite in between other food.
6. Chicken satay
Chicken satay may be the last sort of food you’d think of making at a BBQ, but they can make a great appetiser or side dish to complement your other cooking.
The dish is relatively simple to make. When your chicken has been marinated in coconut milk, peanut butter, lemongrass, fish sauce and more, you place them on the grill. Better yet, the marinade for the chicken is later boiled and used as the sauce, so you don’t even have to put in extra effort to make it.
7. Beer-braised ribs
When it comes to cooking meat on the BBQ, you can’t really get any nicer than beer-braised ribs. These will usually be sticky and tender with a subtle smoked flavour that is hard to pass up on.
Alongside the ribs and beer, you’ll also expect to use ingredients like black treacle, cayenne pepper, cumin seeds and more.
And, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you could even experiment with different types of wood chips to change the smoky taste of the meat. You could, for example, use hickory wood chips, which are perfectly paired with pork due to the sweet flavour they emit.
Speaking of meats, brisket probably comes in at a close second when it comes to BBQ meats. The linchpin of a good brisket is the way it is cooked and the meat you decide to buy.
You ideally want a piece of meat that hasn’t had the fat cut from it. This should help to keep the meat nice and moist throughout cooking. When it’s cooking, you should aim to cook it low and slow and keep the exterior sprayed with a mix of cider and apple juice, which should caramelise on the surface and create a crispy layer.
As is the case with the ribs, you can even experiment with different types of wood chips to enhance the flavours. Mesquite wood chips, for example, are great for beef brisket.
9. Lamb shawarma
Shawarma is a dish from the Levant area that consists of meat cut into thin slices.
If you haven’t made it before, then lamb may be your best port of call for the first time. This typically includes yoghurt, garlic, and some Indian spices and, better yet, shawarma is relatively easy to make, too.
All you need to do is basically place all of the ingredients into a blender, process them all, coat the lamb in the paste and cook. If you’ve done it right, your shawarma should melt in the mouth, and is the perfect dish to make for large groups of people.
10. Grilled banana boat
If you still have room for dessert after your BBQ, or you want to impress the kids with an exciting dessert, then a grilled banana boat might be exactly what you’re after.
You have probably guessed what this dish involves by the name – it is a grilled banana, cut down the middle, with some ice cream in the centre. While grilled bananas may not be as common in the UK, they’re definitely not something to turn your nose up at.
You will ideally want to use bananas more on the ripe side if you’re planning on grilling them, as they are far easier to cook than unripe bananas.