Planning The Perfect Summer BBQ

Rain, rain, go away. After a washout June, it’s time to dust off the deck chairs, fire up the BBQ, and enjoy some summer cocktails. Planning a BBQ? Here are 5 ways to impress your guests without breaking the bank, or a sweat.

Make one salad well

Think about ingredients you can easily and cheaply get your hands on in. Potato salads may seem simple, but they are always popular and can be made in advance. Not a fan of potatoes? Use tins of chickpeas and lentils as the base for a filling and healthy alternative. 

Feeling adventurous? Try watermelon, feta, and mint with a splash of balsamic for a light and refreshing side. 

Keep the drinks simple

If you’re thinking of providing some drinks, keep it really simple. Stick to the basics of beer and wine and limit yourself to one making one cocktail, punch, or spirit. A lot of supermarkets have discount versions of popular drinks, e.g ‘Summer Cup’ = Pimms, so you can cut costs without anyone noticing. 

Share the load

Just because you’re hosting doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask guests to bring things along. It may not be the sexiest thing in the world but a shared spreadsheet, via Google for example, is a great way of organising friends or family. Make a list of what you’d ideally like people to bring and then people can assign themselves. It could be anything from an extra box of beers to cups and plates.

BBQ-ing desserts: naughty vs nice 

If you’re anything like me, the first thing that springs to mind with a BBQ is the toasted marshmallows afterwards. If you want to reduce your marshmallow intake, or just have a really sweet tooth, try grilling some fresh fruit. Bananas are great wrapped in foil, and filled with chocolate, or try mangoes or pineapple with a refreshing sorbet for a lighter option. 

If it won’t stop raining

It’s felt like the British Summertime has never been coming, so planning a BBQ might feel like you’re jinxing it. But if it rains, don’t be afraid to bring any furniture, blankets, tea lights, or even the odd pot plant inside. Even without a BBQ you can (often more easily) cook food in the oven, so you can still enjoy your BBQ menu, surrounded by friends and family.

Just remember, whatever the weather, it’s a great excuse to have an informal get together with the people who are important to you. Don’t let any rain put a dampener on the party!

By Alice Louise Hargreaves 
You can keep up to date with Alice’s food escapades on her Instagram