DIY – Barbecue Food
Forget the frozen burgers; don’t pick up that tub of coleslaw! No, we’re going to give
you some ideas on how to make your own food for your next BBQ.
Think how impressed your guests will be if they discover that all the food for your
party has been homemade. Not only does it show that you think they’re worth more
than a bag of frozen meat products, but we guarantee everything will taste better
Okay so let's take a look at your barbeque menu. Let's say we’re going to have
burgers, kebabs, and chicken plus some side dishes and bread.
Let's start with the burgers. These are easy to make yourself and you can choose to
make yours whatever size you like. Just make sure they're not so chunky that it's
hard to cook them all the way through without ending up with a charred outside.
Choose a good mince and make sure it has a decent fat quantity. Healthy food
advocates may not like it but the sad truth is that a fat-free burger is usually taste
The mince needs to be mixed together with breadcrumbs herbs or spices such as
garlic, chilli. Some cooks recommend using an egg to bind the mixture together but
it's a matter of taste. Experiment and see what you think. You could add a squeeze
of tomato purée if you like. Ring the changes by using minced lamb and mint or
Rosemary or minced pork with tiny chunks of apple. Choose mince that has not been
minced too finely or your burgers will fall apart during the cooking process.
Whatever flavour your burgers, leave them in the fridge for as at least an hour to
help them retain their shape during cooking. Homemade burgers are more liable to
fall apart if they are moved a lot during cooking so think about cooking them in a
double-sided fish grill.
So that's the burgers done. Now the kebabs. If you're using wooden skewers soak
them in water for an hour before assembling. This will stop them from burning or
catching fire on barbecues.
Set up a production line for your kebabs with chunks of meat, vegetables and
halloumi cheese. If you have vegetarian guests make sure your veggie dishes are
kept away from your meat dishes.
You can marinate the meat/veg/quorn or soya to add extra flavour. How about using
tandoori paste and yogurt for a chicken marinade or red wine and herbs for small
chunks of beef?
Tiny onions, peppers, courgette and mushroom all work well for barbecue kebabs –
cook mushrooms in butter first, which will stop them just shrivelling up on the
If you're cooking chicken drumsticks or wings, or ribs, a barbecue sauce makes a
delicious coating and it's simple. Just mix brown sugar, honey, mustard and possibly
a dash of chilli and coat your meat before cooking.
Now to the accompaniments. If you're feeling brave you could easily make your own
bread. Choose a sourdough mix and you can cut out all those complicated rising,
proving and kneading stages.
Coleslaw is simple to make if you have a good processor. Just shred cabbage, carrot,
and onion, then mix with mayonnaise. Potato salad is equally simple. Choose tiny
new potatoes and you'll need to do no more than boil them and mix with
mayonnaise or make a dressing using mayonnaise, vinegar, wholegrain mustard and
dill. If there are no vegetarian guests you can also add tiny chunks of smoked
sausage – ideal for BBQs.
Now to the salads. You don't need much space to grow a few salad leaves and
tomatoes in the garden or on a patio, and cut and come again salad leaves can be
ready in as little as three weeks. Sow in a large pot and guests can help themselves.
You can also grow herbs such as basil and create a tomato salad with your home-
grown tomatoes, seasoned and drizzled with olive oil – then simply rip the basil
leaves over the top.
If you want to make your own desserts, keep them simple but impressive. For a
summer party tempt your guests with a batch of homemade scones. They take about
10 minutes to make and 12 minutes to cook. Serve with clotted cream and
homemade jam if you're really going the whole hog.
Fruit salad is light and refreshing and takes little time except that needed for
chopping. Choose seasonal fruits plus a couple of exotic examples such as dragon
fruit and star fruit for the wow factor.
A fruit sorbet is simple to make, simply by whizzing up your chosen fruits and
freezing – if you have moulds you could even make your ice lollies, which will go
down well with little guests.
So there you have it – a homemade barbecue that won't take hours of preparation
but will deliver on flavour.