After a long and cold winter, who doesn’t love a nice get-together outside? Imagine a beautiful blue sky, the sizzling summer temperatures and the breeze that comes with it – all you can think about is going outside and enjoying this warm day with your family and friends. For most of us, summer outings are one of the things we most look forward to. And what is better than a BBQ potluck? A homemade BBQ can be packed with different flavours that come together at the end.
If you are going over to a friend’s house, you can prepare any of the dishes below, store it in a proper container and hand it over to the host when you arrive – if necessary, they can finish it off by grilling it. This guarantees a table full of different homemade dishes with tons of flavours that can be grilled onsite.
Here are our top picks for things that you can’t forget at a BBQ – whether it is at your own backyard or at a friend’s place.
1. The Meat
The sky is your limit when it comes to BBQ meat, but our top picks are steaks, sausages, ribs, burgers, chicken wings and thighs.
Grilling the Perfect Steak
When you think about a BBQ, the first thing that comes to mind is a nice juicy steak. It may be intimidating trying to make the perfect steak, but this is far from difficult.
About 20 minutes before grilling, remove the steaks from the fridge and let them sit at room temperature. Turn your grill to high. Brush the steaks on both sides with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper. Place the steaks on the grill and cook until golden brown for 4 to 5 minutes. Let it rest for a few minutes before cutting it – trust me, it makes all the difference.
Here are some options for you to try: Flank Steak, Ribeye, Filet Mignon, Strip Steak and Sirloin.
Honey BBQ Chicken Bits
This will have you reaching for seconds or even thirds and it is super tasteful.
In a bowl, add chilli powder, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and honey. Place the chicken bits into the bowl and toss until the sauce has covered all the chicken bits. Take it to your grill for about 35 minutes – or until cooked – and enjoy.
Garlic Grilled Shrimp Skewers
Shrimp is always a safe bet. In a bowl whisk together extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, garlic and spices. Add the shrimp to the marinade and mix. Marinate the shrimp for 30-60 minutes to an hour. Add the shrimp to the skewers and turn the grill to medium-high heat. Once it is hot, add the skewers to the grill and cook it for 2-3 minutes on each side (don’t overcook it).
Made with 5 simple ingredients, you can’t go wrong with this cold, slushy, frosty and delicious Margarita!
Add 1 cup of tequila, 1 cup of lime juice, 1/2 cup of triple sec, 2 tablespoons of agave syrup (or another sweetener) and 6 cups of ice. Blend until slushy. Enjoy!
Fresh Strawberry Wine Punch
Want to whip something delicious and fresh in less than 60 seconds? Try this Fresh Strawberry Wine Punch.
Add 2 cups of frozen juice to the freezer for about 20-30 minutes so that it is slightly frozen and frosty. In a large jug, use a whisk to stir the frozen juice. Add a bottle of wine and stir. Pour in a bottle of Sprite and stir one last time.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to beer. This is a simple matter of taste. Some like their beer strong, others prefer a lighter or an even alcohol-free version. Nowadays there are so many types of beer you can try, so our tip is, make sure you try a craft beer. They are rich in flavour and go amazingly well with most BBQ treats.
Who doesn’t love a nice glass of wine? It would be impossible for this world-famous drink not to make our list. As a general rule, red wines pair extremely well with barbecue-grilled red meats. The roses wines are great for hot days as they are served chilled. If you are grilling shrimp or chicken, white wine should be your pick.
3. Side Dishes
As we all know, if you are going to a party, even if it is just to a friend’s house, never show up empty-handed. Here are some delicious and super simple side dishes you can be sure will rock anyone’s get together.
Crispy Fresh Coleslaw
Cut ½ a cabbage and ¼ of red onion in thin slices, and grate a carrot. In a large bowl whisk together 1 cup of Greek yoghurt, 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of English sauce and a pinch of salt. Add the cabbage, onion and carrots to the mixture and toss until everything comes together.
Garlic Bread with a Tasty Twist
Cut a loaf of crunchy bread in half. In a bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of salted butter, fresh minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of mayo and grated parmesan – and for a fun twist, one skinless sausage. Once everything becomes one big mixture, spread it over the bread halves and grill it until it is golden brown. Garnish it with some fresh parsley.
Corn on the Cob
Corn and summer, these two for sure walk hand in hand. An ear of grilled corn on the cob tastes like a nice and warm summer day, and it goes amazingly well with a cold beer. The sweetest of the cob blends with perfection with the bitterness of the beer. And the best part, it is super easy to make.
Heat the grill on high. Peel away the first layer of husk and remove the stalk end. Place the corn on the grill, cover it and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, turn the corn, and cook for 5 more minutes. Repeat, turning every 5 minutes until the husks have grill marks on all sides and the exposed kernels are charred – this should take you as little as 15 to 20 minutes. Once it is done, add some butter and enjoy.
Potato Salad with Homemade Green Mayo
This is super easy to make beforehand and it is guaranteed that everyone will enjoy it.
This homemade mayo will take you less than 5 minutes to make. Add 1 egg into a hand blender cup (or blender if you don’t have one) and start adding oil very slowly. Once it reaches a mayo-like consistency, add some parsley and blend again. See this beautiful and tasteful mayo turn green. Then, add a teaspoon of Dijon or yellow mustard and a dash of vinegar. Add salt to your liking.
In the meantime, bring potatoes to boil, let them cool a bit and cut into small bite-size bits. Once it is slightly warm, add the green mayo to it and mix everything. Refrigerate until cool. Add some sprint onions and enjoy with a nice steak and a cold beer.
A nice and colourful veggie skewer is easy to make and super delicious – and nutritious. You can make this ahead of time and store it in the fridge. The best part, this healthy side dish goes well with pretty much everything.
There are no secrets here. Wash and cut your favourite veggies and thread them into skewers. Red peppers, onions and courgettes go especially well with grilled meat.
These no-cook salad side dishes are perfect if you have limited time to prepare something more elaborated. They’re no-fuss and can be made the night before, but I guarantee they’ll still feel pretty special in any get-together.
You can’t go wrong with this 15-minute classic broccoli salad.
Chop the florets of a fresh, raw broccoli into tiny, bite-size pieces. Cut half a red onion into very thin slices. If you want to go the extra mile, cook 2 slices of bacon until golden crispy. Break them into uneven small bits. In a large bowl, whisk together a cup of yoghurt, a tablespoon of honey, salt and pepper. Add the broccoli, the red onion and bacon and stir until well combined. You can garnish with sunflower seeds and raisins.
Simple Tomato and Red Onion Salad
This can’t be any easier. The title says it all. Simply wash and cut the tomatoes, finely chop some red onions and voilà, you have a last-minute colourful salad. You can dress it with olive oil and it serves as a great light side dish to any BBQ meat.
Don’t forget to leave room for dessert. You can be sure they are delicious and super easy to make. Although some might need to be done ahead of time, it is guaranteed that you won’t regret spending a little extra time on it.
Fruit skewers with chocolate ganache – a match made in heaven
You can use either metal or wood skewers. The difference is that you can reuse the metal one as many times as needed.
Just grab a handful of your favourite fruits, wash and pat them dry. Cut the fruits into bite-size pieces and thread them into the skewers. Some fruit combinations that go well are:
- Strawberry, cantaloupe, pineapple, kiwi and grape
- Green grapes, watermelon and pineapple
- Raspberry, strawberry, tangerine and mango
- Strawberry, orange, kiwi, grape and pineapple
Dark chocolate ganache
2 simple ingredients. Chocolate and heavy cream. Place the chocolate in a large bowl. Pour the cream into a pan and bring it to a simmer (careful not to boil it). Once it is hot, pour it over the chocolate and whisk until it melts completely. Pour the ganache into a serving dish and use it as a dip for the fruit skewers.
This creamy dessert goes with pretty much everything. You can top it up with fresh strawberries – or any fruit for this matter, chocolate sauce, crumbled cookies or whatever you fancy.
Make sure to make this recipe at least the night before, but don’t worry, this is an easy and hassle-free 3 ingredients recipe.
Simply whip 2 cups of heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Add a few drops of vanilla extract and 1 can of sweetened condensed milk in a bowl and fold the whipped cream into it. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and freeze for 4-6 hours.
I can’t think of a more traditional British dessert than a nice and warm serving of apple crumble – even better if it is topped with a scoop of ice cream.
Start by preheating the oven to 180C. In a bowl, add 1 ¼ cup of flour, a pinch of salt and 1 cup of sugar and mix well. Cut a stick of room temperature butter into cubes, and add it into the flour mixture and rub until it looks like breadcrumbs. In another bowl, add 2 apples cut into small pieces and sprinkle over 1⁄4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of plain flour and a dash of cinnamon. Stir well – careful not to break the apple. In an ovenproof dish, add the apple mixture to the bottom, then sprinkle the crumble mixture on top. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the crumble is browned and the apple mixture bubbling.
Watermelon and Strawberry Fruit Salad
This tasty and easy to make watermelon and strawberry fruit salad dessert is perfect to eat during a warm summer day. Also, it goes great with a glass of rosé wine.
Apart from the fruits, you are welcome to add a little bit of honey, mint leaves and a dash of fresh lime juice. This is so simple to make that the trickiest part is choosing how you will chop the watermelon.
To make this, cut the watermelon into bite-size pieces and add them to a large bowl. Half the strawberries and add them to the bowl. If you are making the dessert the day before, make sure to place it in the fridge and cling film the bowl. When it is time to serve, squeeze fresh lime juice and add some mint leaves for extra freshness.
Wrapping it up
Whichever dish you decide to take, make sure that you pack it properly for transportation. Some dishes may require a little extra attention when it comes to hot days and a cooler might be a good option.
At the end of the day, we all want to have a good laugh, eat and drink well, and enjoy these nice and long summer days while they are here.