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Ultimate BBQ Cooking Guide: BBQ Recipe Ideas

Hosting a barbecue party can be exciting — gathering friends and family together around for a smoky grill-up and some refreshing drinks. But, when the reality of planning hits you, one of your immediate concerns might be the menu!

That’s where the BillyOh team swoops in to save the day. Whether you’re cooking on a gas BBQ or a charcoal grill, we’ve come up with a cooking guide filled with BBQ recipes.

Check it out below!


What to Cook on a BBQ – Meat

It’s no surprise that some of our things to put on a grill are meat products. Just hearing that sizzle and smelling the flavours that fill the air – nothing gets better. So to switch it up, we’re bringing you some ways to ‘beef up’ standard BBQ dishes.

Burgers

burgers on a bbq grill

If you want to make patties of your own, start with some lean ground beef. We find around 70% lean : 30% fat makes for the best flavour. Burgers and sausages also do great at a high sear on a good old charcoal kettle BBQ.

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This couldn’t be easier: Simply combine your ground beef in a big bowl with seasoning (salt, pepper, some Worcestershire for a little kick), and an egg to bind it and retain moisture. Take a handful of the mixture and flatten into patties between greaseproof paper.

When cooking them, on the other hand, you need to expose the patties to direct high heat (450 to 500 °F). The optimal cooking time is about 8-10 mins, and the ideal flip frequency should only be once. This is to stop your burgers from breaking apart.

Here’s how you should grill burgers based on doneness:

  • Rare – Cook on one side for 3 mins., flip, and cook for an additional 4 mins to reach an internal temperature of 120 to 125 °F.
  • Medium rare – Cook on one side for 3 mins., flip, and cook for an additional 4 mins to reach an internal temperature of 130 to 135 °F.
  • Medium – Cook on one side for 3 mins., flip, and cook for an additional 5 mins. to reach an internal temperature of 140 to 145 °F.
  • Medium-well – Cook on one side for 3 mins., flip, and cook for an additional 6 mins. to reach an internal temperature of 150 to 155 °F.
  • Well-done – Cook on one side for 3 mins., flip, and cook for an additional 7 mins. to reach an internal temperature of 160 to 165 °F.

Steaks

bone-in steak with grill marks on a bbq

Steak is one of the most popular dishes at a BBQ. But it can get expensive – so make sure you get the most out of your grill! You could even try dry ageing and then smoking steaks and briskets in an American-style smoker.

For example, steaks work great on a charcoal Kettle BBQ that can reach higher searing temperatures than gas.

When cooking, your meat must be exposed to high and direct heat (450 to 500 °F). But let’s roll back a second and start with preparation.

You’ll see a lot of recipes to season a steak, but really you only ever need 3 things:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • A bit of oil
    But, we said we were going to switch it up – So, if you’re feeling adventurous try:
  • A teaspoon of soy sauce
  • Half a crushed clove of garlic

For anyone who’s ever seen the movie Black Mass, you might recognise this as the ‘secret steak recipe’ that causes such a stir! Rub the marinade in and leave to sit for an hour or so before cooking.

The ideal cooking time for steak is about 6-10 mins, and the optimal flip frequency is only once.

Here’s how you should grill steak based on doneness (for 1-inch thick steak):

  • Rare – Cook on one side for 5 mins., flip, and cook for an additional 3 mins to reach an internal temperature of 120 to 130 °F.
  • Medium rare – Cook on one side for 5 mins., flip, and cook for an additional 4 mins to reach an internal temperature of 130 to 135 °F.
  • Medium – Cook on one side for 6 mins., flip, and cook for an additional 4 mins to reach an internal temperature of 140 to 150 °F.
  • Medium well – Cook on one side for 7 mins., flip, and cook for an additional 5 mins to reach an internal temperature of 155 to 165 °F.
  • Well-done – Cook on one side for 10 mins., flip, and cook for an additional 12 mins to reach an internal temperature of 170 °F or higher.

And check out the video below if you’d prefer a recipe for BBQ ribs instead:

Or read the recipe below:

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

 

  • * 1 tablespoon of chilli powder
  • * 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • * 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • * salt and black pepper to taste
  • * 2 (750g) racks of short pork ribs
  • * 1 bottle of barbecue sauce

 

Method:

 

  1. Preheat barbecue to high heat.
  2. Combine chilli powder, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. You can use a small jar, place all the spices inside and shake well to mix.
  3. Prepare your pork ribs and trim the membrane sheath from the back of each rack. You can run a small, sharp knife between the membrane and rib to snip off the membrane as much as possible.
  4. Place aluminium foil beneath the pork ribs and spread the spice mixture onto both sides according to your desired amount. To prevent making the ribs too dark and spicy, avoid rubbing spices into the ribs.
  5. Cover ribs with the foil and lay it on the grill’s upper shelf if possible. Cook it on low heat and closed lid for 1 hour, undisturbed.
  6. Brush as much barbecue sauce on the ribs as you desire and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  7.  Serve it as a whole rack, or cut between each rib bone for individual serving.

Sausages & Hotdogs

bottom half of someone at a small raised charcoal grill with sausages on top

To grill the perfect hotdogs, you will need to cook them in high and direct heat (450 to 500 °F). Their ideal cooking time is 5-8 mins with a flip frequency of three.

Outside Tip: Slow simmer hotdogs in beer for a mild but delicious flavour!

Poultry

chicken on a bbq with utensils

Unlike some of the meats we’ve already mentioned, it’s best to cook chicken and poultry (especially larger items) in indirect heat. You can also use a dry rub or marinade to keep the chicken flavourful and succulent.

The ideal grilling temperature is medium heat (350 to 450 °F) with 2-18 hours of seasoning time and a flip frequency of two.

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Just take this BBQ chicken recipe, for example:

  1. Drizzle the chicken breasts with extra virgin olive oil and rub over the breasts.
  2. Season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Place the chicken breasts on the hot grill. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes or until they easily release from the grates.
  4. Flip the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes longer.
  5. Baste the chicken breasts with BBQ sauce, flip and cook for 2 minutes on each side.
  6. Repeat on the other side.
  7. Cook until the breasts are firm to the touch and opaque all the way through, registering 160°F internal temp (the temp will rise to 165°F as the chicken rests).
  8. Transfer to a plate and cover with a piece of aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with more BBQ sauce if desired.

Chimichurri Chicken Recipe

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

 

  • * 4 skinless chicken breast fillets
  • * 2 tablespoons of smoked paprika
  • * 3 cloves of roughly chopped garlic
  • * 1 tablespoon of olive oil

 

For the chimichurri sauce:

 

  • * Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • * 1 roughly chopped echalion shallot
  • * 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • * Pinch of chilli flakes
  • * 25g roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • * 15g roughly chopped oregano
  • * 2 tablespoons of olive oil

 

Method:

 

  1. Preheat barbecue or light and leave until the coals turn grey and flames die down.
  2. Starting with chimichurri sauce, put all the ingredients in a food processor. Then, pulse a few times until you achieve a finely chopped yet coarse mixture. However, be careful not to over-process.
  3. Season your sauce with some salt and a good grinding of black pepper before setting aside.
  4. For the chicken, slice through each fillet horizontally with a sawing motion. Make sure not to cut all the way through before opening it out.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix the paprika, garlic, and lemon zest with the olive oil. Rub this mixture all over the chicken pieces.
  6. Cook the chicken in the centre of the grill for 3-4 minutes on each side. Do so until no pink meat is visible.
  7. Serve your butterflied chicken barbecue with the chimichurri sauce.

Roast Joints

BBQ beef and Yorkshire pudding in front of open flame

Who said you can’t do a whole roast on a barbecue?

Roast joints, similar to poultry meat, needs only to be exposed to indirect heat with a low temperature (250 to 350 °F) when cooking.

It will ideally need 2-4 hours of cooking time plus 30 mins for seasoning and the same to rest. You might even want something like a barrel smoker to cook low and slow whilst keeping meat moist.

You can also trim the fat so the meat will directly soak with smoky aromas. On the other hand, rendered meat hitting charcoals gives over a lovely infused flavour as well. If you want full control over a low and slow cook, why not check out the Texas Smoker with adjustable grill crank?

Here’s how you should grill roast joints based on doneness (for a 2-3lb. roast):

  • Rare – Cook for about 1 hour to reach an internal temperature of 125°F.
  • Medium rare – Cook for about 1 hour to reach an internal temperature of 135°F.
  • Medium – Cook for 1 & 1/2 hours to reach an internal temperature of 145°F.
  • Medium well – Cook for 1 & 1/2 hours to reach an internal temperature of 150°F.
  • Well done – Cook for about 2 hours to reach an internal temperature of 160°F.


Seafood

fish in a grilling basket with citrus slices

And it doesn’t all have to be meat either! Whilst easy vegan substitutes can be found for things like sausages and burgers, sometimes you might just want a little fishy on a dishy instread!

If you want to cook the perfect, simply seafood such as fish on a barbecue, simply gut and grill whole fish with lemon slices to prevent them from sticking to the grates. This works great with fish like trout and sea bass.

Cook fish over direct heat with a high temperature (450 to 500 °F), ideally for 30 minutes. It only needs to be flipped once.

And check out the video below if you’d prefer a recipe for spicy lime tiger prawns instead:

Or check out the recipe below:

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

 

  • * Zest of 2 limes
  • * 2 cloves of peeled and crushed garlic
  • * 2 finely chopped red chillies
  • * 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • * 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • * 600g of whole raw tiger prawns, shell on
  • * 25g of melted butter butter
  • * Lime wedges to serve

 

Method

 

  1. Preheat grill to high heat.
  2. Put the lime zest, garlic, red chillies, olive oil and fish sauce together in a large bowl and whisk.
  3. Prepare your prawns and peel the middle section of each shell. Devein and leave the heads and tails intact.
  4. Marinate the prawns with your sauce blend and toss to coat. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for 30mins.
  5. Thread your prawns on skewers and grill for 3-4 minutes. Turn once, then brush with melted butter before cooking for another 3-4 minutes.
  6. Take the skewers out of the grill and brush with any remaining butter.
  7. Serve on a platter with lime wedges.

 


Sides

corn on the top shelf of a bbq grill with burgers below it and a hand with tongs

Never forget the side dishes or snacks in any barbecue gathering! Aside from catering to the needs of your vegan guests, these foods can also prevent them from getting too satiated with meat.

Here are some of the best sides you can serve:

  • Spicy Grilled Corn
  • Bacon Macaroni and Cheese
  • Grilled Vegetable Kebab
  • Creamy Potato Salad

And as a bonus, I’m going to give you a super quick and easy side dish; recipe courtesy of my Mum!

  • Buy a punnet of cherry tomatoes (sweeter) or large beef tomatoes
  • For cherry tomatoes slice in half, or cut your beef tomatoes into slices (about 1cm thick)
  • Place in a bowl or Tupperware container ready to marinade
  • Depend on the size of the dish you want to make, cover the tomatoes in a 2:1 ratio of olive oil (2) and balsamic vinegar (1)
  • Season with salt and pepper as necessary
  • Mix the tomatoes well
  • Top with rough, hand-torn basil leaves
  • Leave to marinade for at least one hour

And there you have it! You should have more than enough recipes and tips for BBQ week to see you all the way through to next summer! We’ve gone through everything from sides and fish dishes to small twists on popular classics like beer-simmered hotdogs.


BBQ Recipes For Kids

double stack smores on a white plates
Credit: Foodal

1 . S’Mores

It will surely be a kid-friendly BBQ party as grilled food blend in well with the classic taste of s’mores. Prepare some bowls and fill them with chocolates, marshmallows, crackers, and a peanut butter spread.

2. Sundae Toppings

Let the kids unleash their creativity by garnishing their own ice cream with various toppings! Allot a small table for the fun toppings like chocolate sauce, colourful sprinkles, fresh fruits, chocolate chips, candies and mini marshmallows.

3. BBQ Burger

With this crowd-favourite on the grill, it will surely be a kid-friendly BBQ party. Attract the kids to consume a heavy meal with some tasty burgers! Start by getting a gas BBQ with grilling space for lots of burgers up to temperature.

You can also lay the buns, grilled patties, cheese, and toppings on a platter to let kids prepare their own burger. Finger foods like french fries and calamari can be included in the bar as well.

Since you are doing the barbecue with kids around, make sure to rid your party from some crucial grilling mistakes that most people aren’t aware of.

4. Pizza

Just because it’s a BBQ doesn’t mean you can’t still make everybody’s favourite. And with a 3-in-1 pizza oven and grill, you can cook up delicious homemade pizzas and the classics like burgers and sausages!

 

boy and a girl stood at charcoal bbq grill

5. Colourful Fruity Drinks

Keep the kids hydrated with some colourful drinks! Put in some icy fruit cubes in their water to make it look interesting to taste.

You will be able to give them a healthy thirst-quencher as they get active with all the fun summer activities.

6. Fruity Popsicles

Refresh a hot summer day for the kids with some fruity popsicles for a kid-friendly BBQ party!

Under the scorching heat of the sun, give the little ones some time to cool off and enjoy colourful, frozen lollies. Choose the kids’ favourite flavours, then mix them with the usual popsicle recipe.

Credit: The Sun

7. Mac ‘n’ Cheese Salad

Kids will always love mac and cheese! Serve this family favourite on your barbecue party to please the little ones’ tummies.

If you want the kids to have something healthy to eat, you can create a mac and cheese recipe with some carrots and broccoli.

Salmon Skewers

Most of the time, it’s hard to make kids eat fish. But, a delicious salmon skewer will surely entice them to delight on a fish treat!

You can also make it a taco dish and add some avocado slices, gem lettuce, fresh salsa, and coriander. Why not try smoking your salmon skewers with a BBQ smoker?

Bonus tips:

  • To add more flavours, add aromatic herbs to your coals.
  • Remember to stay safe with this list of BBQ do’s and dont’s.
  • Baste the meat with sauce and marinate them for 5-10 minutes.
  • Rest meat at room temperature before and after cooking for 30 minutes.
  • Use the right tools for grilling (fish slice, tongs, grill basket, and a food thermometer.)

And if you can’t wait to get grilling, check out our wide range of charcoal and gas BBQs via the button below!

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FAQs

  • Scrape with a wire brush while still hot
  • Use an onion or half a salted lemon and run along the grill rack
  • Spitz with vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and water, or even beer and clean
  • Remove grill and wash and rinse
  • Dry and replace
  • Remember to oil your grill ready for next time

Depending on the type of charcoal BBQ you’re using, build a small mound of charcoal briquettes in the base of your BBQ. Make sure they’re sitting on a quick-to-light material like the bag they came in, newspaper, or even fire starters. Ensure there’s enough room for airflow.

 

Once lit, allow the charcoal to heat up until white-hot. Replenish and start barbequing as necessary.

 

Bear in mind that accelerants like lighter fluid, lighting gel, or fire starters may affect the flavour of your food.

Once you’ve built and lit your charcoal fire, cover your BBQ with a lid (where possible) and leave it to heat. Once you have pre-heated your BBQ (anywhere from 15-45 minutes depending on the fire), check the temperature. Remove the lid and transfer food onto the grill rack and cook to your preference.

Depending on your cut of chicken and preference, either apply a dry rub or marinade. Bring out to your charcoal grill in a container. Once you’ve built your charcoal fire and allowed your charcoal BBQ to pre-heat, remove the lid. Transfer chicken straight on to the grill rack.

 

Either sear and flip or allow to cook through, turning the chicken occasionally. Cook until juices run clear then remove from the grill rack onto plates or a new (clean) dish. You can always test to see if the chicken is barbecued by cutting into the centre.

Bear in mind this will only indicate all pieces are cooked if you barbecue everything together in batches.

Gas BBQs offer quick, direct, and consistent heat. Gas BBQ’s reduced pre-heating time which makes them great for spontaneous and batch cooking. Some BBQ purists may say they lack that traditional smokey flavour but they offer convenience when barbecuing.

And if you’re sold on the idea of a gas BBQ, check out our list of the best gas BBQs on the market.

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